What teamwork tools make a Dream Team out of ordinary employees?

    Have you ever wondered what percentage of successfully completed projects you completed yourself, and how many of them required team participation? I think the answer is obvious: for cool projects you need a cool team.

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    Any motivated product manager should not only care about professional skills, learn new methodologies and apply the latest grower hacks , but also try to create a strong and successful team.

    What makes teams stronger and stronger? A well-established cooperation within is one of the key aspects that help teams cope with complex tasks and withstand any obstacles. A close-knit team is the dream and goal of any product manager.

    What is the strength of cooperation? And what secret tools help managers create strong teams?
    “Leading means not stopping good people from working”
    Sergei Kapitsa

    What tools are best for team collaboration?


    Naturally, any professional tool for a manager and team is not a panacea.

    Product managers should think about the quality of communication starting with interviews, probationary periods for an employee, and know how to brainstorm properly . Even after a successful release during team building, it is important to think about how to raise the level of team collaboration to a new level.

    This article describes 9 types of tools that will help create a strong team spirit and streamline teamwork. All these tools have different goals, some of them are paid, some are free. Some of them are suitable for all products, and some are highly specialized.

    This list is subjective enough, so after each given example, several alternatives are offered so that any reader can choose the best for himself from the following:

    • Communication tools
    • Project and Product Management Platforms
    • Services for organizing remote communications and video conferencing
    • Document Services
    • Time tracking tools
    • Database Systems
    • Special file sharing tools
    • Internal social networks
    • Tools for layouts and prototypes.

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    Communication tools


    Example: Slack


    Slack is a real-time chat service that has gained rapid popularity after being distributed by Silicon Valley companies.
    The service is channel-based and includes voice and video calls, although these Slack components are not as popular as text chats. Here you can add pictures, emoji, GIFs, share documents and organize group chats.

    How does slack work?

    You can use Channels as chat rooms or public streams. This can be done with just a few clicks. You can also write directly to a specific contact, attach documents and files for it.

    The “Private Groups” option allows you to organize conversations with specific team members. You can invite developers, sales specialists, HRs and so on.
    All content in Slack is searchable from a single search box. You can also use the help of the Slackbot bot, which can give you more information, remind you of urgent matters and be useful on other issues.

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    Alternatives: HipChat, Microsoft Teams

    Project and Product Management Tools


    Example: Hygger.io


    Hygger is a complete product management platform for growing companies. The service can be used for collaboration in small and large teams. Hygger offers a number of quality and useful features:

    • Convenient Kanban boards with WIP limits, Swimlanes, sub-columns , time tracking options .
    • Kanban-based sprint boards for programmers using the Scrum methodology.
    • Backlog board for collecting and structuring ideas and initiatives, as well as a convenient Backlog Priority Chart chart for prioritizing and visual ranking of ideas.
    • The method of ranking ideas by assessing their degree of influence and labor costs.
    • A high-quality roadmap for planning future releases, projects and initiatives.
    • Functions Burndown Chart, Velocity , and more.

    All these functions and offers help to manage the product life cycle and optimize team collaboration by tracking every step of all team members without losing any small details.

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    Alternatives: Trello, Aha, Asana.

    Tools for organizing remote communications and video conferencing


    Example: Hangouts


    The service is widely used by companies for internal remote communications as instant messaging or screen-sharing video conferencing. This helps organize meetings and presentations without a special separate planning tool. You can send invitations to any team member and coordinate actions right on the sidebar.

    Individual chats allow team members to collaborate in a group project, communicate with colleagues, clients or other team members, make changes to Google docks, etc.

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    Alternatives: Skype, Amazon Chime, Join.me

    Services for working with documents


    Example: OneNote


    OneNote will be useful if you need to control the movement of documents and share them with your team. This is a kind of collaborative notebook that makes it easy to distribute large amounts of data among team members.

    OneNote is more than just working with documents. Many companies use it as an ideal tool for project management in teams. This is a free tool. Using the different sections and pages of OneNote, you can provide your team members with relevant information at any time convenient for you. Here you can create several sections and subpages to store important data.
    OneNote lets you share information from any device.

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    Alternatives: Evernote, Quip, G Suite

    Time tracking tools


    Example: Hubstaff


    Want to successfully manage the workflows and performance of remote team members? Hubstaff is one of the most successful tools that simplifies the processes of a product manager and adds transparency to teamwork.

    Using this time tracking service, you can set time or cost limits for your projects, as well as limits for each team member. You can track attendance planning, activity levels, and other organizational issues. The tool allows you to take screenshots of the work of the team and provide you with this data remotely.

    Hubstaff is a free and paid subscription.

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    Alternatives: FreshBooks, Click time, Scoro, TimeCamp, Toggl

    Database Tools


    Example: Confluence


    Most major global corporations are aware of Confluence . This tool helps to organize teams and centralize all the information needed to synchronize actions.

    Confluence offers a user-friendly interface where you can create meeting notes, set project plans or product requirements, use templates, write comments and receive feedback. All in one place. Here you can also use add-ons such as team calendars to schedule events or discuss issues and vote.

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    Alternatives: Guru, Bloomfire, Nuclino, Crowdbase

    Information Sharing Tools (File Sharing)


    Example: Dropbox


    The popular online storage is used by over 500 million users worldwide. Dropbox allows you to not only store all your files together in one place, but also share them with other team members.

    You can send links via e-mail or chat, leave feedback and share access to your documents from any device.

    Dropbox is free for individual use, but you have to pay for a business plan to get more space or more access.

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    Alternatives: Hightail, MediaFire, Tresorit, ShareFile

    Internal social networks


    Example: Yammer


    You can say that this is an example from the “last century”. But, in fact, Yammer is one of the first social networks created specifically for the internal needs of office teams. The service is popular today no less than before. Team members can post updates and communicate in groups and channels using this tool.

    Three main advantages of using Yammer for internal or even external interaction: ease of use, availability of a mobile version and the ability to collaborate with external users.

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    Alternatives: Jive-n, Facebook workplace

    Services for layouts and prototypes


    Example: Marvel


    Marvel is known worldwide as one of the easiest business layout software. It helps managers and teams collaborate together on mobile devices, tablets and desktop prototypes of applications and websites.

    If you work with different departments or clients, this tool allows you to organize your work in a more efficient way.

    You can add your feedback directly to the prototypes and annotate the areas you want to highlight. Customers can post comments without having to subscribe to Marvel.

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    Alternatives: Mockup.io, InVision, Flinto.

    How many of the services described have you already used in your work? Did you find them really useful or was it worth paying attention to the alternatives? Share your experience in the comments!

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