Collaboration is key to the success of any project, but does your team have the tools it needs to do so effectively?

With remote working on the increase and the reality of doing business internationally commonplace in the modern workplace, being able to clearly define internal procedures and standardise processes is essential for a project’s success.

Even within smaller teams, using the right communication tools can aid productivity, with more efficient project management and workflows uninterrupted by “a quick question” here and there.

There are numerous low cost or free tools that can be easily adopted and can really benefit teams of any size. We’ve covered some of our favourite collaboration tools below:

Trello

This nifty tool is based on Toyota's Kanban method and enables you to track your projects visually as they develop from an idea to a shipped product.

Trello is a great tool for quickly enabling cross-team collaboration on a small project. While the functionality may be simpler than software developers are used to, it’s an easy entry-level system for non-dev teams.

Pros:

  • The free version is very functional and it can be upgraded to the paid version at a low cost.
  • Suitable for just about any screen size and functions like an app rather than a website.
  • The Trello mobile app works just as you’d expect it too.
  • Updates very quickly in real-time.
  • Easily view every item connected to a project on a single board.
  • Easily assign tasks and add new members.
  • Easy for non-tech stakeholders to use.

Cons:

  • Trello is certainly a “lite” tool and not appropriate for more complex projects.
  • Simple descriptions only for your boards (rather than documents or wikis)

Jira

Jira is a professional issue and project tracking tool produced by Atlassian (who also make Trello) and is commonly used by Agile teams.

It’s a very flexible tool that allows teams to create custom workflows (or choose from a number of preset configurations), create user stories, maintain backlogs, plan sprints and allows teams to effectively track the progress of their project.

While its complexity can be daunting for new users, it is necessary as the system can scale to accommodate any project size or methodology.

Pros:

  • Allows granular communication on specific tasks.
  • Its flexible workflow system can be customised to suit standard or mixed project management methodologies.
  • It can be extended through a range of apps (including a number of apps designed to support test management).
  • It is used by a lot of development teams and is well supported by Atlassian, meaning it’s less likely you’ll need to provide training for your team.
  • It has a number of flexible and detailed reporting systems.

Cons:

  • Its complexity can be off-putting for less-experienced team members.
  • The range of functionality available can result in an increased time overhead for project managers.
  • The output of any system is only as good as the input - for Jira to work well for the project, everyone needs to contribute to a similar standard (e.g. updating tasks, recording time, etc).

Slack

This is one tool that's seen exceptional growth and there's a very good reason for that - it's extremely easy to use and will allow all of your team members to swiftly and easily communicate with each other, regardless of their location.

This encourages open communication across your team and allows team members to ask each other for help, bounce ideas around, and collaborate with each other to troubleshoot problems and work out tricky bugs.

Pros:

  • Fast communication across multiple locations.
  • Good integration with other tools (Asana, etc).
  • Allows team members to direct questions to individuals or groups of people. This is great for non-urgent discussions as it allows your team to focus on the current task at hand.
  • It can be used to enable your organisation to self organise into virtual teams as needed.

Cons:

  • Can be used for personal communication as well as work-related conversations.
  • Deciding what should be a face-to-face meeting and what can go via chat channel is often a challenge for teams.

Screen Hero

A screen sharing tool that packs a lot of power, Screen Hero works very well in conjunction with Slack and enables your team members to easily share their screens in real-time. This allows multiple team members to act on a single screen, enabling pair programming and other group activities.

Pros:

  • Seamless collaboration.
  • Increased productivity for pair programming.

Cons:

  • It can be disconcerting to give someone else control of your desktop.

What collaboration tools are your team using? Tweet your suggestions to @2iTesting and let us know!

2i Testing
2i Testing: https://2itesting.com

2i specialises in delivering software testing services for organisations ranging in size from public sector organisations to international finance houses. At the core of our business is the provision of large scale managed testing services, resource augmentation, automation testing, and test consultancy to help with the delivery of a specific project or programme.