Working with a team on a website build, multiuser blog, or any other group project can be difficult when you’re each working remotely. Having the right tools in your toolbox can make a big difference in your team’s efficiency.
Rather than having a list of tasks and running the risk of two or more people doing the same job, you can turn to a software-based solution that keeps everyone on the same page.
In this article, we will take a look at a handful of useful solutions and how they can help your team get more done.
According to Trello’s website:
Trello is a collaboration tool that organizes your projects into boards. In one glance, Trello tells you what’s in process, who’s working on what, and where something is in a process.
These boards appear as separate pages you can switch between. They have the ability to host many different projects, sorted into columns, which represent the phase in which a project is underway.
A project can be assigned to team members, given a due date, commented on by members of the team, tagged, and moved between columns as the project progresses to different phases.
This ensures that, at a glance, you can see where a project is in its completion and who handles it. You can ask questions or provide feedback to the assigned team member, and more.
Team chats are an important part of remote collaboration. Being able to communicate in real-time, share images and links, as well as documents through a single service is a big plus.
HipChat and Slack are each exceptional solutions in their own right. HipChat is currently our primary service of choice at RocketTheme, though we have tested Slack too and found it to be an exceptional alternative.
HipChat is available on the Web, as well as through apps for OS X, Windows, and most Linux distros. Its growing support for a long list of integrated services such as Zendesk, GitHub, and JIRA make it a great solution for any small team. HipChat starts with its basic plan for free with its HipChat Plus plan running $2 per user/month including 1-on-1 video chat and screen sharing.
Slack is another great option with a beautiful user interface and tons of integrations. Its free version is somewhat more limited than HipChat with a 10k message searchable archive vs. HipChat’s 25k and a limit of 5 integrated services against HipChat’s unlimited. You can get rid of those limits by upgrading to the paid plans starting at $6.67 per user/month.
Group video and voice chat is a great way to hold those meetings that just can’t take place via text. Text takes time, and there are situations that need a shared screen or verbal communication.
This is where services like Google Hangouts and Citrix GoToMeeting come in handy.
Google Hangouts is free to use, but isn’t made for business applications. You can have video chats with up to ten people. You can also share your screen or a specific application window, and work on Google Drive apps from within the hangout. It’s a great solution in a pinch, and the audio/video quality is pretty good if everyone on your team has a decent connection.
Citrix GoToMeeting is a paid service, starting free for up to three attendees and $39/month for the organizer if you need up to 25 attendees. Screen and desktop sharing is very well suited for the service, providing a crisp and clear stream of a user’s desktop and enabling attendees to control the presenter’s mouse if need be. Meeting attendees can attend via their desktop or mobile device, as well as by phone.
Atlassian’s JIRA deserves a place on this list if only because it is an excellent tool for tracking and assigning team members to resolve issues, especially when developing software or websites in a team environment.
JIRA is made for bug tracking. That’s what it does best. You could use many other team collaboration apps (including the ones listed in this article), but it helps to have a solution that does bug tracking well when you are in the business of creating software.
We use JIRA at RocketTheme. If a member of our team spots an issue or has an idea for improvement, they can submit a ticket via JIRA and it will assign it to the team member in charge of the product. That team member can then tackle the issue themselves or assign it to someone else. With the issue resolved, and marked as such, it is tested before finally being closed and the product update released to the world.
JIRA has two pricing structures. One enables you to have the service hosted by JIRA itself starting at $10/month. The Server plan, gives you the ability to host the software on your own servers for a one-time flat fee based on the capabilities you need and number of users you have.
As this is a business-class solution, it’s not particularly inexpensive. Plans for a team of 25 users start at $25/month for the cloud and $1,200 for the server version. With its help desk capabilities, it has become a popular choice for Enterprise applications, as well.
There are many alternative solutions out there, including:
Do you have a team organization or collaboration service you’d recommend? Please let us know by leaving a comment below.