Welcome back to the last in our series about free digital marketing tools. This week, we’ll be talking about free project management tools, and resources that allow your team to collaborate efficiently on a budget.
Disclaimer: I’m not being paid by any of the below organisations to say nice things, they’re just tools I have found super useful personally.
If you have a team spread over multiple sites, Slack is well worth considering. At its core, it’s a chat-like communication tool with a whole host of other organisational features. Firstly, you create a team and invite everyone who needs to communicate. Then you create sections within the team, called channels, relating to different projects, locations, departments, and whatever works for you. Then you just need to get nattering! You can use Slack to share files, links and resources, and you can tag other users if you want their attention. Slack is also available as an app for Mac, Windows, Linux, iOS, Android and Windows Phone, so you can set your device to receive notifications to your taste.
You may well be familiar with the term “Cloud technology” and storing files “in the Cloud.” Google Drive was one of the first Cloud storage systems that offered its own office suite as part and parcel of the storage service, first going live in 2007. Google Drive allows you to create text documents, spreadsheets, presentations, forms and drawings. As well as being able to edit and sync document changes over all of your devices, the sharing functionality is an invaluable asset. You can create a document, and add other users with different editing privileges to collaborate together – wherever you are in the world. The sharing and permissions function incredibly easy to use and understand, telling you in plain English who can do what with each document.
Serial list makers are in safe hands with Trello. It allows you to produce “boards” which are effectively a grouping of lists, of which each list entry is called a “card.” As well as producing multiple boards and lists, you can also invite other users to view, comment and collaborate. Trello is available for use through most browsers, and also as an app for iOS, Android and Kindle; so if you do need to collaborate with others and want up-to-the-minute updates, you can set up your app to receive notifications for each activity you want to keep an eye on. Though these collaborative features are nice, Trello’s unique organisation system is just as useful for one-person teams.
In some ways Producteev is like a cross between Trello and Slack, but it takes more of a project-based to-do-list approach, allowing you to separate tasks and projects for easy management. When everyone in your team signs up to Producteev, you can separate them into networks (for example for separate departments) and under each network you can set up individual projects. Here, projects are effectively collaborative to-do-lists that can be shared team wide or only with a few predefined users. Going down the rabbit hole further still – within each project individual tasks can be set up and assigned to specific individuals, with a set priority and deadline if need be. Producteev is available through the website, iOS and Android apps and also has a Mac PC app too.
Bonus Tool: Boomerang for Gmail
Not really anything to do with teamwork per-se, but does help with communication, and therefore collaboration (I knew there was a way to shoehorn it in somewhere – smooth…). Boomerang is a lifesaver for us night owls, as well as making your own email inbox an organisational tool. If you’re burning the midnight oil and need to send an email, a few horror scenarios spring to mind. Some worry that an email timestamped outside of normal working hours may give an unprofessional impression, some are concerned that the client won’t exactly thank them for making their phone ping at 2 in the morning. Whichever camp you belong to, fret no longer! If you use Gmail, you can use Boomerang’s Chrome add-on to compose and email and schedule it to send tomorrow, next week, even months in advance if need be.
Another neat feature that Boomerang offers is to ping an older email back to the top of your inbox after a certain amount of time has passed, or if an email you’ve sent has not been responded to within a given time. The free version only provides 10 credits a month, which equates to 10 scheduled emails and pingbacks per calendar month.
Thanks for joining me for this series, I hope it’s been useful to you. What free tools do you use to collaborate? Please share your favourite tools down in the comments!Organise your teams with these free project management and collaboration tools. Click To Tweet
Graphic attribution: Brain/Hand graphic by Jack Moreh at FreeRangeStock.com