Technology Tuesday: 5 Online Tools to Help Boost Teamwork


Crystal Clear teamwork
Image via Wikipedia

Teamwork is the quintessential skill in the 21st century. Everywhere we turn we’re asked to work with others to complete an assigned task. Many times it’s hard to get everyone on your team to play nice, complete tasks, or even communicate efficiently and effectively. In this Technology Tuesday Twofer I highlight 5 online tools that seek to boost team productivity.

1. TeamBox

I recently stumbled on TeamBox while searching for solutions to my current project management challenges. This service offers an online project management service that incorporates Web 2.0 (and maybe even 3.0) technology by integrating a Twitter-esque feed, Facebook integration, and DropBox file sharing. When you sign up you can create a project, assign tasks, create users, and even view a GANTT chart to track progress. It’s perfect for everyone from the casual user who’s trying to make the next big party a success to the professional Project Manager who needs to help increase her staff’s productivity. The free option allows you to create three projects, manage unlimited users, and store up to 50MB worth of files in the cloud (plenty for the casual user).

2. DropBox

No more searching for thumb-drives or limitations of email attachment sizes. DropBox offers a simple solution for teams looking to share documents at lightning speed. With a simple download & installation process DropBox monitors a folder on your computer which it constantly syncs so you will always have access to the most up-to-date version of your important documents. DropBox offers a modest amount of storage for free but can be enlarged (either by paying for the service, completing ‘Getting Started’ challenges, and/or referring friends. Some people may find downloading software invasive so this solution isn’t for everyone but it’s definitely worth looking into.

3. GoogleDocs

Need to work on a document with a friend (or friends)? GoogleDocs may be your best bet. This service allows you to upload and edit documents in real-time with friends, coworkers, and teammates. With a free Google account you can upload editable documents to your heart’s desire or 1024MB (whichever comes first). The organization I serve with uses GoogleDocs for Excel database management, support tickets, and document sharing; our operations capabilities would be seriously hindered without it. With that said, you can’t upload anything you want but the lab rats at Google are working tirelessly to increase this service’s capability.

4. WeTransfer

This service doesn’t need a lot of explanation due to its painful simplicity and ease-of-use. Navigate to the website, select the file(s) you want to upload, enter your email address and the address(es) of the person you want to send your large (up to 2GB) attachment to, and voilà they upload your file(s), send an email to the recipient, and even send you a confirmation when that person has downloaded your latest home movie. It’s free and doesn’t require any downloads or installation. Simplicity at its finest.

5. Streak.ly

This program isn’t necessarily team-focused but it makes a commendable attempt at keeping you motivated to complete daily tasks. When you first arrive at their website you’re asked to link the service to your Twitter account. If you don’t have one, you’re out of luck and might want to stop reading. Once you’ve successfully connected the services you can enter as many daily tasks you want and then every day Streak.ly will send you an email reminding you of the tasks you still need to complete. Here’s where the motivation comes in. For every day you complete a listed task you build a streak and while this might not sound like much, if you’re motivated by small accomplishments and acknowledgement then you’ll love this solution. I’m not very good about officially logging my completed tasks but at the very least I know I can count on them sending me an email of all the things I need to do on a given day. For me, this alone is worth it.

Do you have tools you use to help keep your team functioning at maximum capacity? Share them in the comments.

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