Your job as a project manager is already difficult. Limited resources, a stifled budget, and team members who don’t have a clear understanding of goals. The prioritization and assignment of tasks gets on your nerves. Tracking tasks is a nightmare with spreadsheets and emails. Giving your teams visibility into what needs to be done isn’t as easy as it should be.
To streamline your tasks and get your project on the right track, you need a team collaboration app. Before choosing one, you should have a clear understanding of what you need in the tool.
Managing tasks and deadlines is one thing, but empowering teams to figure out tasks themselves is how a great project gets executed. A good collaboration app will set up your teams to increase productivity and meet deadlines faster without losing quality of work.
Two functions of team collaboration apps
Collaboration applications have two main functions: coordinate tasks and facilitate communication. Let’s look at both in more detail.
1. Coordinate tasks
Work teams come together for a purpose, not just to spend time. Whatever project your team is working on can be broken down into individual tasks that need to be taken on by different people.
When you think about the ideal way for the project to unfold, your team collaboration app should allow you:
- Prioritize, assign and track tasks
- List dependencies and deadlines
- Get the overview and progress of the project
2. Facilitate communication
As the work is done, communication becomes essential. Team members discuss and share a lot of information to collaborate and get to know each other. This type of communication occurs in huge volumes. Your team makes many small decisions that impact the big picture.
A team collaboration app that is excellent at communication allows you to:
- Communicate in real time (chat and video calls) and asynchronously (threads)
- Share information as updates
- Carry out opinion polls
- Take advantage of social networks within and between teams
7 team collaboration apps for better projects
Here are some team collaboration apps and an idea of where each stands from a communication and task management perspective.
Trello by Atlassian is a very simple and intuitive team collaboration app for project management. The app works with Kanban boards to host different stages of a project. It’s great for simple projects, but lacks tracking and customization. He can handle the management of personal work easily, but he may find it difficult to manage the tasks of a team of more than three or four. The functionality of the collaboration app is reaching the end line very quickly due to the limited communication features.
Asana comes with a few more features than Trello to better manage projects. The team collaboration app stores all data and metrics on current and past projects. Its time tracking feature is popular because it can track dependencies and ensure smooth execution. The only downside to Asana is user adoption. Having so many options visible to everyone on the team can be intimidating. They are overwhelmed by the tool and sometimes end up feeling disconnected from the project. The coordination is excellent, but the communication needs are barely met and are not being met.
3. Jira software
Jira Software by Atlassian is an advanced team collaboration application for software development teams. It provides a case management solution that makes it easy to create tickets and other use cases. It has all the features to track dependencies, deadlines and priorities. It was designed and optimized for software development and support teams, which makes it less useful for other types of teams. It can get very complex to understand, and many situations do not require the kind of complex functionality they have. The coordination needs are very satisfactory for the selected teams, but communication is not yet very strong.
4. Workplace by Facebook
Workplaces are likely to be the easiest to implement and adopt. Billions of people use Facebook and most of your employees are familiar with the interface. Navigating Workplace is easy, and people quickly adapt to a common communication culture. It has all the necessities of a good communication tool like instant messaging, video chat, chatrooms and social networks. However, it is very insufficient on the coordination side. Integrations with other project management systems are available, but they do not provide enough tools in the application.
5. Microsoft teams
Teams has become the most popular team collaboration application in the world of project management. It covers all the basic functionality of a great communication tool. If you use the Microsoft application suite, it integrates with all of them and gives easy access to other Microsoft applications on one screen. However, with excessive information comes excessive confusion. Users have to sift through a bunch of options to get to where they want to go. It’s a powerful communication app, but coordination is poor unless you pair it with something like MS Projects.
Slack is the team collaboration app that’s gaining a lot of attention lately. Slack primarily works with communication at its core. Channels are quick to create and access. The ease of use is amazing. However, you can easily get overwhelmed with all the ongoing discussions and lose track of the conversations. API integrations help integrate software systems, but Slack doesn’t offer much out of the box for coordination.
Kissflow is one of the few collaboration apps which tries to bring both communication and collaboration in the same tool. Collaboration takes place through social media-type channels. The project management tool works with Kanban boards to provide maximum flexibility and visibility to all team members.
The downside to Kissflow in its current format is that it doesn’t offer very advanced communication or coordination features. But if you’re looking for something that can do both at a proficient level, there aren’t many other tools like this.
Buying two different team collaboration apps? Think again.
Usually, teams use two different collaboration apps for communication and coordination. Whenever you need to collaborate with a teammate, you drag work outside of a project management tool like Asana to a chat tool like Teams, then collaborate. While this sounds harmless, it can introduce issues that you might not even realize.
- Work is checked out in multiple applications
- Isolated conversations
- Misinformation and communication gaps
- No visibility on all discussions
Contextual collaboration is the ideal solution that puts an end to these woes.
- Have work at heart and the conversations going on around it
- Reduced application change
- Increased visibility of discussions
- Structured conversations for quick reviews and decisions
- Minimized expenditure on applications
Laila Azzahra is a professional writer and blogger who enjoys writing about technology, business, entertainment, science, and health.