Top Collaboration Tools in 2012
One of the questions I continually find myself asking is: “what are some tools out there that I can use to help simplify my work? I’m sure that if you’re at all like myself them you too are constantly asking people what apps they’re using and how they’re liking them in hopes that you’ll find something that really works. Well, the wait is over. So if you want to be more productive, then check out this top 10 list of great productivity tools that people actually use. They’ve helped me be more productive in 2012, so I hope they’ll have a similar effect on you in 2013.
The decade-old grand daddy of project management software, Basecamp by 37signals, received a recent a long awaited overhaul. Basecamp now offers single project pages and the ability to focus on specific items, like to-dos, in a overlaid fashion. According to author Harrison Weber of The Next Web, “Overall it [the update] is a clean and welcome change to the product, with a highly visual take on managing all the massive details that can collide into professional projects.”
If you’re looking for a good open source collaboration app, then teambox is one worth investigating. It’s simple enough that you’ll be able to get up and running pretty quickly, yet still deep enough to offer a solid tool set for people who want to successfully collaborate on projects. Teambox includes what you would expect in a straightforward task manager, including tools for creating tasks, communicating with team members, tracking people’s time, and document sharing to name a few. However because it’s a lot less costly than other tools out there, it does lack some of the more high-end features you would see in other tools – like collating tasks and timelines to highlight possible conflicts.
If you’re looking for more of a document-centric collaboration solution, then Google Docs is a great tool to take advantage of. Did I mention that it is free? With Google Docs, Google creates a collaborative environment for your word processing and spreadsheet needs. One of the best features of this tool is the continuous saver – a total game changer. In addition to never having to worry about saving again, it offers real-time collaboration. Whether it’s five or fifty people (it caps out at fifty people) you and your team can easily co-edit documents at the same time.
If you’re someone who uses or could benefit from using screen-sharing and don’t want to pay bucks to Citrix or Cisco then you may want to check out Join.me. Join.me offers free online meeting up to 250 people with screen-sharing capabilities. A “pro” version is also offered with extended functionality for $19/month. Like most of these tools it’s easy to use, allowing you to focus most of your time on getting your work done rather than being brought up to speed on another new tool.
Sometimes an email or an IM just doesn’t cut it. This is where Citrix’s GoToMeeting steps in. It’s easy to launch and even easier to distribute meeting invitations on the fly. Users can audio conference in in VoIP or by dialing a toll-free number. Once inside users are not only able to communicate with each other face to face, but also are able to share what they are seeing with one another. According to William Fenton of PCMag, “For small businesses seeking a straightforward web conferencing solution from a trusted name, GoToMeeting is your go-to-guy.”
Another oldie but a goodie when it comes to collaboration software. Skype is one of the grand masters. Having both video conferencing and screen sharing features makes Skype an excellent tool if you need to keep in touch with a geographically dispersed team. There’s something to be said about having the ability to “see” one another, even if it is only through a computer monitor.
Last but certainly, not least is Mindjet. I work for the company and it is my go to tool when it comes to brainstorming and project management. Plus, with the new Task App I’ve got team management on the go. Now I’m able to in for project updates and then act on them assigning and prioritizing tasks to keep my initiatives moving ahead – it’s pretty neat.
There you have it. Make 2013 the most productive year to date by going out and giving one of these great tools a try. Regardless of who you chose, you won’t be sorry.