Zac needs a good set of suggestions for collaborative tools for a small team of people.
- Shared / Assigned to-dos
- Centralized communication
Web Based Collaboration Community Solutions:
Yammer.com - We both know people that work here, and it's a great solution, but at times can be a little "Too big" for some teams.
Podio.com - Similar to Yammer, but also allows you to create completely custom apps to integrate into your profile.
Desktop Based Apps:
Flowdock.com - New offering that I've played with and that has some real promise and that I happen to think is cool. Is web-based, but also includes native apps for OSX.
Kickoff App - I use V1 of this app and it's actually pretty legit.
While I think that Kickoff might be a cool app for you guys to try out, I personally think the ideal offering is Basecamp.
On the surface, Basecamp may appear overly simple, but really it's incredible powerful and if you establish some simple guidelines for your team, it can be incredibly effective at managing your projects.
People often make the mistake of thinking they have to cram everything for a big project into one Basecamp project. This is absolutely not true. I recommend creating several basecamp projects for key parts of your work and move lists / messages / to-dos between them as needed.
As you know, I <3 Yammer & ppl here use it for communicating w/ family & open source projects too. If you have more than 5 ppl it'll work great.
- file sharing
- collaborative notes (up to 11 ppl at a time)
- an iPhone, Android, Blackberry, and WP8 app
- Groups which are great for projects to keep all your assets for each project in a central place.
It doesn't have task management and we've talked a lot about it, but I've never personally felt the need for it. For keeping track of bugs you can use GitHub. If you mean individual tasks, internally, we use Notes and mark all the things we need to get done.
Also, if there's a feature you need, our API is pretty robust. I.e. you could have it post bugs into your Yammer stream.
I personally prefer campfire / hipchat over irc because of the logs. I want to be able to search for something somebody talked about 3 months ago and be able to find it, or read through chats that happened while I was logged out. IRC is great because it's free, but $2/person/month is worth the benefits of something a bit more robust.
I echo Sam's recommendation to take a look at BaseCamp. It is a simple tool that includes discussions, files, to-do lists, calendar, text docs (similar to GoogleDocs) and an option to have an archive of forwarded e-mails. I thought their 'Files' section could be improved (somewhat hard to organize files without folders), but they recently released a new 'labeling' feature that helps to group similar files together and also improves search results (basecamp.com). BaseCamp also has a DropBox integration, which is super convenient depending on your work style and/or connectivity (I work for a nonprofit that sometimes has spotty connection in the field).
I've been using a combination of Github, DropBox, Google Docs and Email, and for To Do I'm now using the new Wunderlist. It sounds messy but the type of information and interaction (editing lifecycle) kind of determines where it best lives. I'll take another look at BaseCamp as it does appear to be more up-to-date than in the past.
If you're looking for a standalone to-do list option, I'd suggest KanbanFlow. kanbanflow.com You can create a new board for each team or project. To-do items can be assigned to individuals and given a deadline. It also allows you to estimate/monitor how much time it takes to do a certain task.
We chose WorkEtc.com
This SaaS combines CRM, support ticket and project management, time tickets and more (incl. billing, or in our case, prep for Quickbooks).
Decreased our 'silos of information' from over a dozen to about 1/2 a dozen, with links from WorkEtc to other silos for ease of updating. Highly customizable.
Well-documented (incl. 100+ video tutorials), organized Knowledge Base; affordable-about $40 /person /month. Clients can connect to view their own tickets & projects.
Good Calendar and document storage-both integrate with Google Apps and some drop sharing apps.
Customer Service very good, unlimited training in reserved-in-advance time slots.
iPad & iPhone apps are useful.
This is a brief overview of what we're using at DuckDuckGo. We are consistently iterating on tools and throwing stuff out we deem inefficient. E-Mail is axiomatic, and I am sure I am leaving some things out. This is on the R&D side. I am sure there are some other things like QuickBooks in play.
- Asana for tasks.
- Git / Github Enterprise for VC (Weare paranoid though; Github regular is probably just fine).
- Dropbox for working with people who can't use Git.
- Yammer for link dissemination and social.
- HipChat for chat.
- Desk.com for support.
- UserVoice for getting ideas.
- ZoHo for a user forum.
We just went through this process on a new small team and settled on Basecamp, Hipchat, and Google+ Hangouts. Basecamp had the best pricing and came highly recommended by part of the team who had already used it before. Hipchat was chosen over Campfire because of the native mobile and desktop apps which are awesome, as well as in chat file and image sharing. Google+ Hangouts beat Skype for the number of concurrent users and the ability to join the conference from mobile devices after a call had started. So far so good, everyone logs into Hipchat first thing and stays up to date on the Basecamp, we haven't put Hangouts into use but everyone seems very happy with the combination of services.
Barrett, that sounds like an awesome combination. I prefer Campfire over Hipchat, but I haven't used Campfire for probably 3-4 years now. Last time I used Campfire, Propane was the Mac App of choice, but now it looks like there's a bunch to choose from. HipChat having it's own, free apps is definitely a plus.
Hi all, thanks for adding me to this branch, this is my first comment on here :)
I promise to be active in this conversation as this is a subject close to my heart. I'm writing a detailed blog post on the subject as well so will share that when it's ready. I'm sure this conversation will help!
For now let me tell you about the tool I discovered this week at workflowy.com which is fantastic, and the best tools I've found, for quickly jotting down lists or hierarchical type notes. As their tag line suggests it really does help to 'organise your brain'. If you use this link to sign up then we'll both get more bullet points to play with: workflowy.com
One additional tool that has not been mentioned yet is layervault.com
Layervault is like github for designers. It does version control but also allows you to easily deliver designs to your team for feedback.
It's a pretty new product and our team has been loving it.
@sph & @bsonntag I would highly recommend trello.com . Been using it for over a year now and I absolutely love it. I introduced it at our agency 5 months ago and we've never looked back. Excellent web app. A lot cleaner than basecamp
My business is quite small currently (just me and an assistant) but I'm finding that Apollo meets my needs well and seems like it would scale well. It's a Basecamp alternate, essentially, but with more CRM stuff built-in.
Also, their support team is fantastic & open to lots of feature requests and discussing customized plans if the existing plans don't quite meet your needs. I don't work for them, I promise! Just a fan of the product.
Thanks for your feedback! Team Branch