The web makes it easier and easier to overcome geographic barriers in business and collaborate with others no matter where they are. It can be difficult, however, to sort through the number of tools available.
As a leader, it’s up to you to select the right set of tools to help your team get the job done. Below are 8 tools segmented according to specific purposes that can give you a head start on finding the best toolset for leading your team as effectively as possible.
BRAINSTORMING / MIND-MAPPING
Mind42 is an awesome free brainstorming tool. It has a nice interface with a gridline background. You can easily expand and collapse individual nodes for ease of reading, collaborate with others, and share. You can also export directly to the desktop tool FreeMind. Icons allows you to flag certain nodes as important, plus you can add comments, bullet lists, or files to each.
Bubbl is simple to use, incorporates a lovely and familiar graphic format, shares easily, and exports mind-map images easily.
Editorially offers a clean, simple view. It saves versions as you go along, allows you to easily share with others (they have to join Editorially to participate), retains version history, and shows comparisons between versions. It’s easy for multiple collaborators to create discussion threads related to parts of the document. Formatting such as bold or italics, however, requires markup. This is therefore not the ideal platform for fancy formatting.
Dropbox is an awesome tool for sharing files with your team. Upload a file to Dropbox then easily share a link to it with your coworkers or meeting team members. You can also invite them to a shared folder specifically for the project or agenda item everyone needs to have access to.
This is a very popular project management platform with robust features. You can collaborate easily using a one-page-shows-all layout, including discussions, lists, and files. As with the document collaboration tools, you can harness multiple inputs on the same files from multiple collaborators and maintain version control throughout. You can also manage permissions in groups or individually. Your project is archived when completed, making it very easy to find information later if needed.
ProofHub is another project management tool designed to make it easy to plan, stay organized, and maintain a schedule. All the tools project managers typically use, like Gantt charts, calendars, task lists, chat, and even timecards, are readily available. Document collaboration is similar to other tools. You can also sync Google Drive and Dropbox.
Hackpad is an interesting collaboration tool with unusual features. For example, while collaborating on a document, if you want to move some of the text into a sub-document, all you have to do is highlight the text, tell it to hyperlink to another pad, and it will create the sub-document and the hyperlink in one fell swoop. One of the nicest features is that an automatic Table of Contents is populated from the structure of the document, using bolded text for the primary headings. Hashtags can be used to organize lists, reminders, milestones, or other data. People can easily follow the hackpad for updates, and it can even be embedded on web pages. This interface will be especially loved by the computer-savvy; luddites on your team may not like it as much until they get the hang of it.
There are as many options for brainstorming and collaborating as there are organizations and people seeking good tools. The best way to know if a service is right for you is to try it out. Most of the items in our list are either free or offer a free trial, so there’s nothing to stop you from mind-mapping, marking up, commenting, and project managing your way to success.
Have we missed a tool you’d recommend? Tell us about the one collaboration or brainstorming tool you can’t live without in the comments below.