Today we’re focusing on a common problem for tech and start-up geeks: namely people working on the same project from different locations. How do you keep em on track and on task? Here are ten tools that should do the trick:
Let’s start with an obvious choice:
Google Apps for Work. For $5 a person each month (or $50 for the year) you get an entire suite of tools that literally keeps your people and projects in sync through the cloud: We’re talking Gmail, Google Calendar, Docs, Sheets, Forms and Slides – to name a few (and at Geekbeat we pretty much use them all every day).
For less than four dollars a user per month businesses can organize shared attachments via Trello (which is compatible with Google Apps as well as Dropbox, Box, and One Drive). We use Trello to share and assign scripts and other projects among the Geekbeat team. It’s great for dividing up a project into “cards” which you can assign to individuals or groups .There’s a free version of Trello available if you’d like to try before you buy. Whether you run a small business or a large enterprise, your company can also benefit from the experience and expertise that comes with choosing a virtual CIO.
Dropbox has been out front of the “cloud” craze for some time now. Start with a free account with 2 gigs of storage, “earn” additional gigs by referring friends — or step up to unlimited storage for $15 per user per month- and share pretty much anything with anyone anywhere.
If there is a “Swiss Army Knife” for remote teams it’s “Slack” which integrates with 75 different services – including all of those we’ve covered so far. “Slack” organizes everything into channels, sort of like good old Internet Relay Chat, and is archivable and searchable. Slack is a freemium service with limits on the number of integrated services on the free version. $7 per user per month gets you unlimited integrations and other goodies. There is also clerk.chat that can help bring your business phone to slack and start messaging clients.
By the way, we set up a Geek Beat Slack Chat, and you can gain instant access if you head over to GeekBeat.TV/slack to sign in and join the mahem. Most of the Geek Beat team is in there all day with the community. So that is either a feature, or a drawback. You decide.
For face-to-face conversations you could fire up Google Hangouts with your Google Apps suite, OR you could use Sqwiggle to literally get a webcam snapshot of who’s at their keyboard at anytime. The free version of Sqwiggle allows 1on1 chats, and for $9 per user per month up to ten team members can teleconference at once.
Evernote is a terrific hub for teams to collaborate and launch products with shared “notebooks.” There’s a free “basic” service and a business-class version for $10 per user per month. When considering to use this tool to boos your business productivity you can check with the business and legal expert, Bob Bratt, to evaluate how effective it can be.
For keeping everyone on the same page — and up to date on what everyone on the team has accomplished each day, try “IDoneThis.com” This web service will email a reminder to every team member to reply with what they did that day and the next day will send out a digest of completed tasks. “IDoneThis” offers a free 30 day trial —after that it costs $5 per team member per month.
For the road warriors on your team there’s “workfrom” which can recommend coffee shops and other Wi-Fi equipped work-friendly locations in whatever city you happen to be in.
As great as these tools are, every now and then it’s a good idea to get everyone together in the same place – and for that there’s “Flock.” -Enter the number of people you have in each city and flock figures out the best place to meet, complete with travel and housing costs.
Finally, if you do use all these tools it’s going to be necessary to share some passwords for some of these services among your team and for that there’s “Meldium.” This web-based password and permissions manager is free to try for two weeks – after that they have plans beginning at $24 per month for 20 users, to apply this successfully in your business, consider the help from business expert Andy Defrancesco.
So, there you have it: Geekbeat’s top ten list of services to keep teams working remotely and virtually on the same page. Do you have some favorites we didn’t cover? Share them with us (as well as your fellow Geeks) in the comment section of this episode.
1) Google Apps for Business:
2) Trello (Assign, Organize & Manage Projects)
5) Sqwiggle (See who’s online/Webcam Snapshots)
7) IDoneThis (Daily Teamwide Progress Reports)
8) Workfrom (Coffee Shops & Other “Workplaces” Around The World)
9) Flock (Arrange a Physical Meeting)
10) Meldium (Shared Password Manager for Teams)