Tools That Help A Distributed Team

Slack, Asana & Google help my team communicate

I’ve been working with a distributed team for the last 10 years. There have been hundreds of apps and tools I’ve used to increase productivity and transparency amongst my teams, but right now there seem to be more than ever. It’s a logical reason why…companies no longer need to be under the same roof to operate. Apps and tools span the physical distance and help people all over the world work together, in real-time. Considering the vast number of tools out there to help teams communicate and streamline operations, I wanted to share three tools that help my current team the most.

In this post I’m going to be covering the three tools that are the most important to my current team, Buoy Ventures. I originally posted this here but wanted to publish it on my medium account to share with you.

So…here we go!

Why Is Transparency So Important?

Transparency is important for a number of reasons. In large companies it removes the division between different ends of the corporate ladder. In small companies it removes the feeling of isolation. But in all businesses, transparency allows everyone to get on the same page and know why certain things are happening. This transparency allows your team to better understand their roles and responsibilities, creating a culture of accountability that will help your team accomplish more every day!

Transparency & A Distributed Team

For a distributed team, a lack of transparency can mean death for moral and productivity. There aren’t any open door policies or water cooler banter. A distributed team is well…distributed! Everyone is in a different place, at different times, so how do you overcome those boundaries and create a healthy and productive work environment? Here at Buoy Ventures we utilize technology to overcome these hurdles. Below you will find 3 tools we use that ensure we’re all on the same page and that our company culture is thriving and always evolving.

3 Tools to Improve Productivity and Transparency

Slack

Slack is the bloodline of our company’s communication. Regardless of the time of day, Slack provides a way to share information with your team. We recommend setting up different channels for different types of communication. For instance, we have a channel to talk about projects we’re working on. Others to share interesting ‘brain food’ videos and interesting articles & blog posts. We also use bots that help all of us stay on track so we never miss meetings with customers & teammates. We even use bots to check in with everyone to make sure they’re comfortable with their tasks and workload.

Asana

Asana is the center for all of our work. Every task is shared, every deadline is set, and every task is assigned in Asana. It not only acts as our task management system but also as our CRM — every customer has a project with all associated tasks listed within it. Every note from any meeting as well as any document stored in Google Drive has a link in Asana and anything relating to our work can be found here. Asana is completely transparent and we’re always finding new ways to leverage it to help our team accomplish tasks.

Google Suite

From Google Meet, to Calendar, to Drive, (don’t forget Inbox!) we rely on Google for our foundational business applications. All of our calendars are shared so we know each other’s schedule. We save our work to Drive so everyone can see what’s being worked on and its status. And every day we have a standup meeting in Google Meet to share what we’ve accomplished, what we’re working on that day, and any obstacles that are preventing us from accomplishing our tasks.


What tools does your team use to improve transparency?

Transparency is pivotal to our business at Buoy Ventures and we’re always looking for new ways to improve communication. Let us know what tools your team uses, and how they help, in the comments below!