Do you remember the days when you had to gather with your classmates around a table and get some stuff done? A project for that Econ 101, in a dimly lit library room with people you barely know and barely like?
A true pain in the back. The thought “I could be at home so hard right now” pierces your mind like a barrage of arrows.
Yes, collaborating with people isn’t easy. Not all of us are born to take part in group projects, either with your colleagues or with clients. Yet, we have to do that, because not always are we able to do everything alone.
Thank heavens, though – there are services available that make project collaboration easy peasy. You do not have to move away from your computer to finish projects, and you can even do it remotely. Your clients can participate, too, without wasting anyone’s time for meetings.
Read on to find out a comprehensive list of 11 project collaboration tools that will make your group work pleasant. The list ranges from simple tools for small projects to great corporate tools used to organize the workflow of a large amount of people – all you need in a convenient list!
I use it for work and for organizing the daily workflow of my life. Très bien!
Hello to Trello – it’s a lovely tool organized in a way that operates similarly to a virtual corkboard, where you create lists with cards. These cards function as tasks that can be properly labelled or attributed to certain lists or people. It works in real time and features a drag and drop interface for your convenience. You can include pictures, drawings or prototypes as well, so it is not only text. Finally, it can also work as a calendar, as you can schedule appointments and remainders. It’s great for smaller companies or projects. If you aren’t convinced yet, hear this – it’s free.
When they asked me “what’s my name”, I couldn’t help myself.
Red, the loveliest color of all, one which adorns most of the tests in the world. Red Pen is a great tool for designers who need to discuss their projects with their clients (or colleagues, of course). You can place comments on a picture, and it is visible as a point on the image, which you can expand and see the details such as who posted and the comment itself. It also features a history of changes, so if you ever decide to come back to a previous reiteration of a project, you can easily do that. The pricing is rather light, the cheapest option is $20 per month for 5 projects. It also features a free, 14-days trial.
I think am wasting the potential of this tool, but I also lack the imagination to use it efficiently.
BaseCamp is one of the veteran players in this field, and its story is actually kind of funny, as it was created because its founders needed a project collaboration tool and couldn’t find anything that would satisfy them. It is big and extensive, so it’s quite a jump from what I listed before. The variety of services is wide: documentation, sharing files, images, messages, to-do lists and so on – anything you need to keep track of large projects featuring a larger amount of people. It offers a 60-day trial, but the basic pricing is $20 per month for 10 active projects (ergo projects you are currently working on and that are not archived), so it is rather inexpensive for what it offers. If you haven’t fallen in love yet, check out their main page – the drawings are adorable.
When you are a critic of your own…
If your office space lacks enough space for a whiteboard, you can always use a virtual one. It is what it is – a drawing space where you can draw, put pictures, comments and so on. Great option for designers who want to work on quick projects. The basic option is free, and you have a 50m2 board space with all whiteboard features.
ProofHub is similar to BaseCamp, if a tad smaller. It is a great project collaboration tool with lists, images and such, and also features the Gant charts for better organization of the workflow. It offers a 30-day trial, and the smallest pricing plan is $15/month for 10 projects. Good for small projects that need a lot of tracking.
I am expressing myself – art.
Having things posted on a wall is convenient, that is why many services follow this template. Mural.ly is basically a wall on which you can poste anything, ranging from pictures to notes. Its drag and drop is very intuitive and it works in real time, therefore it’s great for brainstorming. The basic solo plan costs $8 per month.
MEG STOP LYING THE PHOTO ISN’T YOURS, JESUS HAVE SOME DIGNITY.
Being on a verge of a prototyping tool, InVision is a great option for designers who do not only want to collaborate, but also turn their projects into working prototypes. It features certain templates that will get you going. Collaborators aren’t the only people who have the access – your client can post comments about the project as well. The trial project is free, but any future ones cost $15 per month.
I am a meister of mind maps.
Mindmeister is a different cookie in the jar, as it functions primarily as a mind-map, with few project collaboration options. If you are at the stage of brainstorming ideas and getting the basic ideas figured out, then mind maps might be an effective option for you. The basic option up to 3 maps is free, but the other options start at €36 for 6 months and more.
I couldn’t spoil it in any way. I failed.
Well, Yammer is a big tool from Microsoft, only for companies (you need to sign in with a company address). I could go on with features, but the tool can be explained very quickly with a simple comparison: Yammer is like Facebook for companies. It’s a social platform where you post statuses, links, files and so on, and are able to participate in discussions (“Omg Stacy I love your yearly report xoxo” – “Ikr”). If you want not only to collaborate but also to socialize, then Yammer is your best bet. It can be free for education (with Office 365), but for businesses it ranges between $3 per user/month to $5 per user/month.
Another tasty piece for teams, Concept Inbox is a board for uploading any media you want, be it pictures or videos. In a similar way to Invision, it also features simple prototyping, so if you want to clarify your basic understanding this will be the right fit for you. Your clients or colleagues will be able to place their feedback using a drawing tool which allows you to point out directly areas that need attention.
Yet again did I fail to spoil a picture with some goofy stuff… I’m burning out.
Moxtra is your virtual bookshelf, literally. It offers you binders, which are basically collections of various documents or images, which you can discuss through chat in real time, comment, change, and modify. It’s a good project collaboration tool, and it’s mostly free, unless you are a business (in that case you can contact them for pricing and for more features).
And that would be it… for now. These are the tools I managed to check out, but I am sure that there are many, many more out there that also would be worth noting. Well, go to the comments section and enlighten me! This list needs to be expanded, so I would love to hear from readers about their experiences and propositions.
Don’t fear collaborating with people – it can be done easily. Your teammates won’t bite you through the Internet, and the tools featured here will do their best to keep you safe and productive. Make your job easier and sign up for one of the services – will be worth it.