Freedcamp, Trello and Google Drive for productivity and effective collaboration
Technological development of 21st century is based on the needs, including those of communication and interaction. People innovate to create helpful tools and these tools, in fact, support new processes of innovation. The innovation is what moves people towards digital collaboration, and innovations is what is created in collaborative way, making lives easier.
This may not refer only to large companies focusing on technology, where the need to synchronize processes of several big departments and deliver product on time exists. All companies need that! Besides, no company nowadays is managed without digital technology. Collaboration improvements makes lives easier in any company or project, if only it is people oriented –caring not solely about customers, but also valuing the employees. The combination of processes, people and technology is the point where the need for effective collaboration tool appears.
On the one side modern digital collaboration tools differ a lot, and it may not be that easy to get used to them to some point. However, free of charge or advanced paid tools – they all have advantages. With different functionalities, these tools can:
• Save time and money,
• Increase quality and frequency of interactions and collaborative work,
• Support innovation and decisionmaking process,
• Ease access to experts and help in interacting with them,
• Improve engagement and inspire,
• Speed up the processes and ensure optimization,
• Enhance teams’ and projects’ performance and competitiveness,
• Bring creativity and variety in information delivery and exchange processes etc.
Digital collaboration tools have become necessity. If we analyse simple emailing as collaborative tool, we can state that nowadays (which is necessity of necessities) it is not functional enough, speaking about multitasking and work in teams . We can never be sure about proper process, when more than 5 people work on the same document. However, if we change from simple emailing to the solution, which allows status change, notifications, clouds with documents, shared screens and documents, commenting, video conferencing, discussions and many more, we can track the process without sending hundreds of emails to all team members.
There are different kinds of tools available for different purposes. Some are meant for the same time usage at the same places (e.g. video conferencing, shared screens), some are appropriate for use on the same station, but different time (e.g. accessible softwares/databases for shift workers, Kanban-type management platforms) and some are meant constant distant workers, that work on different projects, at different timings and places. The information shared between partners can be easily accessed from any device and any time, allowing to follow own working style. It gives kind of freedom for employee, as long the deadlines are not behind already. For this purpose all kind of project management tools are implementing calendars, task settings with set deadlines and notification systems. It helps to organize work of those, who are in constant run and stress about forgetting something. Now sticker notes are not that easy to lose (or ignore), because they will remind about themselves getting in your e-mail as notifications (and yes, email is still in use even with modern project management software).
There are plenty, plenty of digital collaboration tools that can be found just by typing into Google “digital collaboration”, including solely chatting apps, video conferencing tools, mobile app prototyping tools or complex project management tools with different functions at one place. The most popular and free of charge options for project collaboration are described below, allowing reader to evaluate the needs and opportunities, created by modern technology era professionals. Let’s see if Freedcamp, Trello or Google Drive can meet your needs!
Freedcamp is a web-based collaboration and project management tool, which helps to organize and collaborate effectively without charges. It is a platform for unlimited number of users and projects, which provides with tools of task setting, scheduling, discussion, time tracking and many more. Notifications on project tasks, discussions and shared files come straight to the email, reminding about projects and keeping updated.
This project management and collaboration software can be used by individuals or multitasking project managers in order to stay in control of their projects, resources, budget, setting and receiving notifications on “to do” tasks. Team members can participate in projects as active editors, as well as “read-only” guests. All projects can be organized into separate sections and relevant people can be added to set tasks, provide information on task accomplishment or simply monitor progress. Every task can be divided into subtasks, for example, by setting individual tasks for team members inside one main task.
Freedcamp has user-friendly design that is one of the most significant characteristics for project managers. If employees or partners simply cannot understand processes, one can just risk on task accomplishment. Set tasks and events can also be seen in a Calendar, which can be synchronized with Google Calendar. Views can be also switched from daily, weekly and monthly. File sharing works just as in other cloud applications, where all members can download them any time from any device.
There is also paid version of Freedcamp available for reasonable price, including more advanced features, like Project Templates, Wikis, Invoice management, and issue tracking .
Whole Youtube channel has been created to introduce interface and features of Freedcamp, so check it here.
Trello is extremely popular project management tool that allows to quickly build Kanban boards so the project implementation can be visualized, breaking it down into task cards, standing for different project implementation areas, stages or participants. The work is easy to structure within categories, separating into more concrete tasks, which contain text messages, file sharing and commenting options, activity log, appointed responsibles, uploaded pictures, and even visual settings can be customized according to the preferences of user. Each user can manage own projects and add new people to them.
Trello is a collaboration tool that uses boards (representing projects) and cards (representing tasks within projects). Trello outstands with its design, using Kanban concept to make projects and tasks more visual, allowing also to personalize individual workspace. Reasonably priced and well-integrated, it is one of the most attractive project management and collaboration systems on the market. It is easy to use, have drag and drop function, allows in-line editing, as well as to assign categories.
Trello allows users to discuss the project and separate tasks in a real time, organizing all discussions and file sharing according to related topics or tasks. It is possible to add labels, checklists and due dates to the cards. Comments section allows even to mention a member of the team to make sure he/she gets informed. It keeps everybody informed through task assignments, activity log and email notifications. Voting option has also been foreseen, if the team needs to make a decision on something. It also offers integrated Calendar features, search, labeling and filter options.
Software uses advanced notification system, which allows receiving important updates inside the app, via email or mobille push, which are synced across all used devices. Creation of cards, file adding and commenting is also possible through email without opening Trello. It offers customized apps for iPad/iPhone, Android phones, watches, tablets, Kindle Fire tablets and work at any screen size. It uses SSL/HTTPS encription technology used by banks to keep all data secure.
It can be used for free, but even more attractive features, like extra stickers, larger attachments uploads or board backgrounds, can be implemented for extra fee.
To overview all advantages of Trello, use its Youtube channel.
Probably the most popular collaboration tool in the world is Google Drive system that stores and shares files and information within the teams around the globe. It incorporates online office apps, which are comparable with Microsoft Office, making Google Drive an easy to use tool for everybody. Google Docs (the word processor), Google Sheets (the spreadsheet app) and Google Slides (the presentation app) can import and export Microsoft Office files and work with colleagues in real time. Commenting and review of changes is also possible. Google offers storage of many file formats and even opportunity to create and share questionnaires (Google Forms) completely for free.
All projects can simply be divided into separate folders just like on own computer and additionally adding people as viewers and editors is possible to make work faster and more collaborative. Opposite to sending the same file to several persons by email and receiving feedbacks about it, Google Drive makes every team member updated about changes in documents, as folders and files can be reached from any device any time. Sharing options can be public or private, giving access to specific people by sending them an email invitation.
Google Drive is also extremely convenient as it can be installed and shared using simple actions, available for all operating systems.
A plenty of tutorial videos have been created to explain functionality of Google Drive, so you can start checking them here.
If Google Drive is not enough for project management, there is also G Suite available for monthly fee, so not only document storing and sharing functions can draw the success of team collaboration, but also calendar, chat, video calls, data security system, email (Gmail) and many more.
Collaboration tools are no more perceived as „nice to have”, but rather as essential tools for effective project management and time saving. They ensure effective collaboration between more than 2 persons, just like in social media and informal group chats. By becoming less formal, communication between team members thanks to digital collaboration tools becomes faster, trust level between them and engagement increases and overall atmosphere inside the project improves.
Isn’t it what makes us love out job more?