Best apps and tools for managing remote teams

Here’s a list of productive apps and tools for project teams that work remotely.

CanvasFlip
Feb 16, 2018 · 8 min read

Teamwork doesn’t require getting everyone together in a room anymore. Working with virtual teams across borders and continents has become more of the norm with the rise in distributed companies.

Working from home has also become a really common practice nowadays.

But working remotely does pose a number of challenges.

  • Real time tracking of work gets hard.
  • Communication issues are bound to occur.
  • Differences in Time zones
  • Tracking and fixing issues takes longer.
  • Delayed project delivery
  • Email flooding can get overwhelming.

It’s definitely not all rainbows and unicorns to work remotely. But with the rapid increase in productivity tools in the market, there is no challenge that we can’t overcome. So here’s a list of productivity tools that are perfect for remote teams.

Team Chat

1. Slack

Slack is a messaging app for teams. It brings all your team’s communication and files in one place, where they’re instantly searchable and available wherever you go.

All team conversations are organized into channels and it is extremely convenient to create channels for absolutely anything and share files, pdfs, documents, spreadsheets anything really by simply dragging and dropping.

2. Flock

Although slack has become the go-to solution for big teams, especially those with remote workers, all kinds of Slack alternatives have popped up over the years, trying to dethrone the king by being unique in this way or that.

Flock is outright better for most users. Not only does it have a more affordable pricing structure, it has better features and better productivity.

Another useful quality-of-life feature is Flock’s ability to add people to existing conversations.

However, choosing between slack and flock completely depends on your team’s requirements.

Video Chat and meetings

1. Zoom

Even when your internet connection isn’t the best, Zoom typically will keep your video going.

you can have a free video call with up to 50 people as long as you don’t talk for more than 40 minutes. Paid plans let you chat with up to 500 people at once.

You can record any call with a full-length video, or keep a parallel conversation going in the text chat. You can share your screen, choosing to either show your whole screen or just one of the apps you’re running. It even lets you schedule calls in advance, chat anytime with any of your contacts, or connect to room conferencing hardware.

2. Google Hangouts

With Hangouts you can video chat with up to 25 participants in free calls right from your browser, Google Hangouts is a fairly good contender for team video conferencing. It’s best feature, perhaps, is its deep integration with Google’s other apps.

3. Cisco WebEx

Cisco WebEx is designed around collaboration. Start a call, and the main part of the app will show a virtual whiteboard — with chat and videos off on the side. Everyone in the call can then type, draw, add shapes, and highlight or annotate anything on the screen, for an easy way to brainstorm ideas.

Project Management

1. Trello

Project management can be intimidating for those who aren’t familiar with Gantt charts or project management vocabulary. Trello is highly visual and intuitive, making it ideal for the non-project manager. Trello feels instantly familiar thanks to its card based design. Within each card are lists of tasks. Cards can be moved around in any order to adjust priorities.

You can create boards to manage your entire project, at a glance, see who’s working on what and when tasks are due. A must-have organization tool that’s surprisingly free to use for the basics.

2. Asana

What do Uber, AirBnB, and Pinterest have in common? They all use Asana to plot and track their project.

With Asana you can use existing templates to add new workflows quickly, create lists of tasks for yourself or other team members, create projects where tasks can be posted to shared boards, break larger tasks down into sub-tasks, and even convert a task into a project should it become too big.

This is ideal when starting one task depends on the completion of another. Managers can check the status of any project quickly and easily without venturing into their inboxes or contacting team members for updates.

3. Smartsheet

Smartsheet is a great collaboration tool for those seeking a straightforward, visual way to manage tasks. It’s especially attractive to those who love working in spreadsheets, as it resembles a more advanced version of Excel, designed for teams and collaborative work environments.

For someone familiar with a spreadsheet-like interface, Smartsheet has a small learning curve.

4. ProofHub

A fix for all your project management and online collaboration woes. ProofHub brings a blend of amazing productivity features that teams can use to run their day, their projects and their work-life. Tasks, Online discussions, Group chat, Reports, Gantt Charts, Proofing tool, Calendar, Timer, Timesheets, Quickies and what not; everything you need to bring teams together, collaborate and get projects delivered on time is available within this single tool.

Bug and issue tracking

1. JIRA

JIRA is primarily an incident management tool. It is also commonly used for bug-tracking. It provides the complete set of recording, reporting, workflow and other convenience-related features. It is a tool that integrates directly with the code development environments thus making it a perfect fit for developers as well. Also, due to its capability to track any and all kinds of issues, it is not necessarily concentrated to only software development industry and renders itself quite efficiently to help desks, leave management systems etc.

2. Bugzilla

Bugzilla has been a leading bug tracking tools widely used by many organizations for quite some time now. It is very simple to use, web-based interface. It has all the features of the essence, convenience, and assurance. It is completely open sourced and is free to use.

3. Backlog

Backlog is an online bug tracking and project management software built for development teams. It’s easy for anyone to report bugs with a full history of issue updates, comments, and status changes.

In addition to tracking bugs, it’s also widely used to manage IT projects with features like subtasking, Gantt and burndown charts, Git and SVN repositories, Wiki’s, and IP access control. Native iOS and Android apps are a plus.

Design and Website Collaboration

1. Visual Inspector

Visual Inspector is a cloud based application that lets you inspect and edit live websites. It allows you to sync all your changes to the cloud and access your work anytime, anywhere. Just like you access your Google Docs or Sheets. You can also share the changes with your project team. Not just this, you can highlight changes by adding comment annotations in the page and clearly specify the tasks to be done to your design team. It includes a number of integrations like slack, asana, trello etc.

2. Invision

InVision is a familiar name for anyone who’s into design prototyping, but, it also happens to be a fantastic collaboration tool. InVision facilitates feedback among teams, but with its own spin on the process. You can visualize feedback according to groups or projects, and manage your project’s progression.

You can Share feedback with your team and choose who you communicate with, update your coworkers on your progress using a simple drag-and-drop interface, and the best feature would be that you can create guided tours of your designs for clients.

3. Usersnap

User snap allows capturing screens and annotating over them via a browser extension or code snippet embedded into the site. It can also be used as a feedback or bug tracking tool with a wide range of integrations available, including Slack and Trello.

Cloud Storage

1. Google Drive

Google Drive is a cloud storage platform that allows remote teams to store and share documents, spreadsheets, and slide presentations. Multiple team members can collaborate on one document or spreadsheet at the same time, so it’s great for taking meeting notes and reporting on weekly or monthly metrics. Additionally, Google Drive files can be synced across devices, so employees can view and update them from anywhere.

2. Confluence

Confluence is another tool that helps with online data storage. Remote collaboration necessitates document and file accessibility, and Confluence can serve as your company’s information hub. You can tag individuals to alert them to Confluence page updates, and you can comment on pages to collaborate with team members.

3. Dropbox

Dropbox offers a variety of features that make it easy for users to sync, share and collaborate on documents. Dropbox saves files to a centralized data center, which users can access from multiple devices (PCs, Macs, smartphones or tablets). Dropbox users can update a document on their laptops and have it automatically sync to their PCs or smartphones, as well as view up to 120 days of version history and deletion recovery.

Conclusion

I’m not going to wrap this up by saying remote working is hard, because that would be unfair to all the teams around the world dedicated towards building cutting edge tools for absolutely any kind of requirement when it comes to managing remote teams.

I’m sure I missed out many awesome tools. If you have some tools in mind that really changed the game for your remote team collaboration, feel free to mention them in the comments.

Share this blog if thought it was helpful. :)

CanvasFlip

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