Whether you’re working as part of a distributed team or your colleagues are just over the cubicle wall, very little in the world gets done without collaboration these days. But what’s the best way to make sure everyone knows what the plan is, where the most recent document is, or what the final decision was on the annual report?
Once you’ve made the commitment to clean and tidy collaboration, there is no lack of tools to support your commitment. Here are three of Firefly’s favorite.
Dropbox for Business
Document collaboration doesn’t have to be awful, but we all know that circulating a draft document via a five-person email string is the worst. Dropbox for Business has changed the way Fireflies work together every day. Version control means that we can see changes, edits, and deletions— nothing is ever truly lost. (Even deleted documents can be recovered for those times when your cat decides to sleep on your laptop.)
And we never run the risk of two people editing the same document at the same time or over-writing each other’s work—a soul crushing side effect of email-circulation. Dropbox’s badge shows me who is working on a document and locks me out while they plug away with their edits.
And last but not least, with so many different permission levels and sharing options, it’s easy to put a final document in front of a client, direct a colleague to an image library, or transfer large files with a simple email or link. We spend so much time creating, it’s critical that we can collaborate and share our creations easily.
Project timelines are the foundation of a successful project. Done well, they break down what needs to be done, by when, and by whom. But a timeline done well is useless unless the right people can access it and make sound decisions based on the information it contains. If a timeline is built within project management software, inaccessible without a login or in-depth training, it’s not benefitting the team. Almost as bad is a project timeline in PDF form (circulated by email again), where the information is only as accurate as that point in time when the document was created.
Smartsheet solves all of these problems for Firefly’s project managers. Smartsheet has the flexibility of a spreadsheet, along with a variety of templates that get the basics done for you. What needs to be done, by when, and by whom—all in a single place. And the variety of sharing options, from full edit access to an easy link, means that anyone you want to have access to the timeline can do so any time they want, always with the most accurate and up-to-date information. We love Smartsheet because it puts more information into the hands of our clients, when they need it, not just when we send it to them.
When you consider what makes a project successful, one element is being able to keep track of the little details and final decisions. Teamwork Projects allows our designers, developers, and project managers to drill down and tackle the small things one by one. Round corners on a button not displaying correctly in Firefox? Teamwork lets us log the issue, share what we’re seeing, and go back and forth in the comments to get the display just right.
We also love opening Teamwork up to our clients, allowing them to identify their own bugs, give feedback on what we’ve built, and confirm that a site, page, or form is working exactly as expected. As a conversation progresses, each team member can see exactly how a problem is being solved and when work has been completed. No longer are details lost in a single person’s email. Teamwork Projects gives us the ability to see and search through the history of our project or partnership.
In case you’re wondering, this is no paid advertisements. But it is a warm embrace for what works for us and what we have found works for our clients. What we suggest for any team is to find the tools that are going to meet the collaboration needs of your organization.