We’ve been a software startup for a few years. We've worked with developers, designers and freelancers from all around the world remotely.
We're a small team with limited resources! As a result, we work from home and collaborate with individuals on a daily basis that are not in the same space at the same time.
Below, we outline our favorite remote collaboration tools for startups and entrepreneurs.
The phone is always great to discuss, but calls can sometimes get lengthy. The way that we communicate fast internally is a messaging tool called Slack.
Slack is a simple chat application that allows team members to communicate privately. You can create a Slack account and invite your team members all in one private space.
Chat with each other in small groups or channels. In our team, we created channels for #marketing, #product and #sales.
In some cases, we still rely on WhatsApp and texting to share things less important to the business.
Slack keeps all our team communications and attachments in one place. If we share files or projects, Slack keeps them in the archive.
Email is still reserved for more formal discussions. But Slack lets us get quick replies on projects to keep us moving forward.
When we need to have team discussions or face-to-face meetings, we use Zoom. We’ve been using Zoom for over a year now and it’s been great to get multiple people on board and have one on one meetings.
Before Zoom, we used Skype. Skype is handy for some meetings where Zoom isn't the standard.
But during COVID-19, Zoom accelerated to the forefront of popularity so Skype is less and less popular.
We're avid users of the screen sharing functionality in Zoom and Skype. It helps us illustrate points on screen when we can't share on a conference room TV.
Other video and audio tools like FaceTime and WhatsApp calls also pop up from time to time. These are more casual in nature and are used less and less.
For project management, we use a Trello board. Trello is a Kanban board, which is a type of framework used in software development.
We have Trello boards for each department. We use cards to show individual tasks within a column. In our case, we use "To Do," "In Progress," and "Done" to keep things organized.
Trello is a great visual representation of work that needs doing. You can see not only what needs to happen, but who's working on it. Cards can be assigned to team members and tags help you sort by things assigned to you.
We've also experimented with other tools like Asana, Smartsheet and Basecamp. Because our team is small, Trello best fit our needs.
We use G Suite by Google for our internal documentation and storage needs. The Google Drive suite of tools (Sheets, Docs, etc) fit our needs well.
Working remotely, these tools let us work on projects asynchronously. Unlike Word or Pages documents, keeping documents in the cloud lets us maximize our time.
For larger files, we use Dropbox and WeTransfer. Both company's free plans are more than enough to get started with sharing files larger than a text document.
The best part? These tools are all commonplace. Most employees and collaborators are already up to speed using them. This helps us spend more time developing products and doing great work.
As software developers, we use a platform called JIRA. We use this to get details on bugs and development tasks.
We also use a platform called InVision that allows us to collaborate on product and marketing designs. It allows you to remotely collaborate and give feedback directly on designs provided by graphic designers from around the world.
Loom has also made its way into our daily tools. Loom is a screen sharing application that makes it easy to share ideas between team members.
Rather than hopping on a phone call, a simple Loom recording can do the trick. Record voice overs, add video, and record your screen all with a desktop hotkey.
When you're finished, Loom creates a shareable link so you can show it to your team.
In our own processes, Loom lets us document software bugs or ask long-form questions without the need to get on the phone.
Lastly, a shameless plug for audio collaboration!
For audio/video analysis or review, we use our own platform Notetracks. We use it to review marketing videos and podcast advertising copy. It makes it easy for us to work with editors and collaborators around the world to wrap up projects.
Being able to leave precise time-coded comments on audio and video projects helps immensely. It speeds up our workflow and helps us finish more content quickly.
No matter which tools you use, it’s all about moving the job forward. Find out what works best for your own workflow and team.
We've tested many tools to find the ones that help us do our best work.
Let us know if you have any remote productivity tools that you like to use!
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