Tire of interminable email threads that you’re not even sure you should be cc’d on, and tasks missed because no one realized they were responsible for them?
When you’re trying to coordinate a large team, good communication is crucial for making projects run smoothly – but group emails and drive-by meetings can sometimes just lead to confusion.
Fortunately, there’s a better way. These six free apps will help you streamline communication, keep track of assigned tasks, and automate your team’s workflow so that you can work faster and better.
A well-established teamwork app, Asana has been around for almost five years. It creates a digital workspace for your team where you can create projects and break those into tasks, which can then be assigned to various team members. One great feature is the ability to make project templates, streamlining the creation of a new project.
The app gives teams the ability to add comments and attachments to tasks, which means you won’t have to search back through your email for random bits of information. It’s accessible from the web, or as an app for iOS and Android devices. Basic Asana is free to try and always free for teams up to 15 people
Trello is a powerful way to collaborate on shared projects. Similar to Asana, you can create a board for each project, create cards for individual tasks, and assign cards to team members. The layout lets you see the status of things at a glance.
Team members can also comment and add attachments to cards, as well as creating checklists and due dates. Standard Trello is free, but Trello Business Class ($3.75/user/month) is an interesting option for organizations who are working collaboratively with citizen groups – it allows the organization to create both private boards for internal work, and public ones which can keep the public appraised on projects.
With Dropbox, there’s no more need to email versions of files back and forth. No more printing out a file only to realize you don’t have the most recent version, or that someone’s written over your work.
Dropbox lets you create shared folders that are accessible on any computer, or through an app for iPhone or Android. It’s fantastic for sharing collaborative files as a team, or for an individual who works from multiple locations.
It’s free for up to 2.5 GB of storage space – after that it’s a flat fee of $100 a year for 100 GB of space.
Evernote (one of my favorite apps) has some very helpful features for team collaboration. By creating a shared notebook, a team can collect content and create notes all in one space, then tag things in order to assign them to team members.
It’s free for individuals, but Evernote Business provides even more features – like data security, administrative function, and the ability to turn your notes into presentation slides at the touch of a button. Here’s a quick tutorial on how to get started using Evernote as a team.
UberConference is a fairly recent app designed to take the “pull-your-hair-out” factor out of conference calls. Along with conference calling capabilities (users can call in from their phone or computer), it also lets you share your screen, view participant profiles, and share documents from your computer, Google Drive, Box, Dropbox and Evernote. Another great feature is free MP3 call recording. It’s free for up to ten callers, then only $10/month after that.
Designed with a lofty goal in mind, Slack is meant to “change the ways teams communicate.” It combines the functionality of email with a chat program, letting you keep all the communication within a specific channel.
Users can also share documents, chat privately in one-to-one conversations, and a powerful search function lets you search by context and find exactly what you’re looking for without hunting through all your email. It’s free as a basic program.
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