Everyone wants their team to be more productive, but even the best-read project manager is doomed to fail without the proper tools. Here are seven tools that help teams collaborate, share and get the job done. Most are free, or come with a free trial or a low fee.
1. Google Docs
If you’re fed up with emailing versions of a document to your team, only to get 10 different versions sent back, Google Docs will make your life better. Because every document is shared online, multiple team members can edit word processing documents, spreadsheets and presentations at the same time. You can collaborate without taking up more file space on your computer.
Fee: Absolutely free
One of 37Signals‘ great set up productivity tools, Basecamp helps you manage projects online. You can assign tasks, set up milestones and share files, as well as keep track of your team’s time spent on a project. You can also use templates if you work on similar projects. There is a mobile app you can use to keep track of projects while on the go.
Fee: A free plan is available if you have a single project to manage, then the Basic Plan starts at $24 a month.
3. Google Calendar
I love this one because it syncs with my phone, and I always have my meeting info wherever I am. If you want to schedule a meeting with a team member, you can view whether he’s available at a given time or not on Google Calendar.
Fee: Free, like other Google products.
Mindmapping is a great team tool to get creative on a project. Bubbl.Us lets you create a mind map, chart or graph and share it with your team.
If your project centers around visual images, ConceptShare can help you get your team’s input on photos and videos. You can mark them up with notes, arrows and shapes, and get your team’s vote on whether changes should be made.
Fee: A free trial is available.
If you’ve got more than one person involved in the billing and expenses for your team, Freshbooks makes it easy to collaborate on accounting. You can easily track expenses and hours worked, and send professional invoices to your clients.
Fee: Free trial available; then packages start at $19.95 a month.
Collaborate on to-dos with Hiveminder (no longer available). You can enter in your notes, tasks and to-dos and assign them to yourself or your team members. You can schedule the tasks to be completed by a due date, and the person in charge of completing it will receive a calendar notification.
Fee: Basic accounts are free.
Maybe you’ve run across other tools you can’t live without? Let me know!