Ensuring effective team collaboration is not easy. A starting point will be to look at what the team consists of, and why it assembled in the first place.
Skills and experience. These qualities required for success are the same qualities that sometimes tend to undermine success. Teams are not made up of carbon-copy individuals, each having the exact same set of skills. They are made up of diverse individuals who, in certain circumstances, might find it difficult to work together.
The job of the team leader is to point these diverse individuals toward a common goal.
The team leader accomplishes that objective in these ways:
- A constant clarification of team member roles. This avoids confusion, oversights, and overlapping or duplicate efforts.
- An explicit statement of the responsibilities. Saying “We’ll do it” never works. Responsibilities must be assigned to individual team members.
- An explicit identification of whom handles decisions that are made. Failure to do so can lead to false assumptions.
- A continuous review of the team/project goals. This keeps the team focused.
- By using specific tools for specific functions. This makes both workflow and collaboration activities function more smoothly and effectively. Team members who have the tools that make it easy for them to collaborate openly, and effectively, get the job done faster.
These same principles apply to freelancers. Their collaborative efforts may be restricted to clients or other project stakeholders. Freelancers also benefit by making a judicial choice of the platform they intend to use to support their collaborative efforts.
The tools described here have one thing in common.
Besides facilitating team collaboration, they encourage it. It becomes a matter of selecting one that makes the best fit, given the nature of the project and the team objectives.
Wake makes it super easy for designers to share work and collect feedback from their team. It’s built into Sketch, Photoshop, or Illustrator, eliminating interruptions to your workflow. Use Wake’s handy keyboard shortcuts and get your ideas out of your design tools and in front of your team.
Wake is used by design teams at Facebook, Netflix, Airbnb, and Evernote to bring more transparency to their design process and cohesion across their products.
Wake’s starter plan is $22/mo. per contributor, but you can try Wake free for 30 days. A Pro plan is available for teams looking for all the bells and whistles, guest accounts, unlimited public and private spaces (channels), and a dedicated account manager.
With InVision, you get a Complete product design, workflow, and collaboration platform. No coding is necessary to make use of any of InVision’s functions or features. This product will be the right choice for any team that needs to get all its work done in one place. Teams can prototype, review, modify and refine, manage, and user test their web and mobile products on one easy to access design-driven project management platform.
Clients, team members, and stakeholders can seamlessly comment directly on your prototypes and designs. InVision allows project and program managers to review status and feedback on all projects, or drill down to specific projects, or specific team members.
Sign up for a free trial, and learn why brands like Apple, GM, and Uber, along with 2 million designers have come to rely on InVision.
Active Collab is another project management tool, but what separates it from the rest is that you can centralize all your work in just one app. You can use Active Collab for everything, from task management and team/client collaboration to time tracking and invoicing. Even if you don’t need every feature, you can easily customize Active Collab to fit your specific needs.
Like most of today’s browser apps, Active Collab runs in the cloud (meaning zero setup for you), but you can also install it on your own server for a one-time fee.
Active Collab exists since 2007 and is used by over 200,000 people, ranging from small agencies to product teams in big companies like Apple and Slack. You can try the full version of Active Collab for free for 30 days, after which you can unsubscribe or choose a plan that fits your company.
If your team is working for a small to medium business, Paymo may be your best choice for a project management app. Real-time team collaboration, timesheet management, and project accounting can all be managed on a single platform.
Paymo offers multiple features, including task management, file sharing, milestone tracking, invoicing, estimates and expenses, automatic time tracking and timesheet reporting. Kanban boards and Gantt charts help to visualize team activities, reduce idle time between tasks, and show task interdependencies. Take the 15-day unlimited free trial to get started.
Whether your project is big or small, Pinnery helps you organize it. Always have the perfect overview of your project, collaborate with team members, keep everyone up-to-date, check to see if you’re keeping within your budget, create checklists and charts, and plenty more.
Pinnery’s Burndown charts provide an excellent overview of a project’s progress. You can see when tasks arrive, are initiated, and when they are resolved. You can start using Pinnery for free. A Pro Version is available for power users.
Five different products; much to choose from. If sharing work and collecting feedback is your primary need, take a close look at Wake. InVision, on the other hand, provides a single platform for both your prototyping, design, sharing, user testing, and project collaboration needs.
Either Active Collab or Paymo will be a good choice if you’re in the market for a powerful project management tool. Both support both task management and team collaboration activities. Pinnery bills itself as an organizing app, but it is more than that. With Pinnery, you can organize everything with everyone, whether it is for business or for private use. Each of these collaboration tools can be tried for free.