Online tools for remote teams
Updated: Mar 5
So you have decided to use an offshore development team, but what tools should you use to ensure your project stays on track, and you get what you expect at the end of the development. Here is a list of suggested tools to consider when working with a team that is remote to you and your office/workspace.
Communication is key to the success of your project, and thanks to some significant development, the choices are rich.
Google's tools have been vastly improved in the last year and, best of all, they are free! If you use the google G-Suite then this is a no brainer, Hangouts is full integrated with all your other google products and will work well with synchronisation across calendars and the ability to integrate others aspects of the google cloud.
Skype from Microsoft is also free and you don't need to be on O365 to use it. You can also setup skype to call not just another computer, but landlines and mobile phones as well, by adding a paid account. This allows you to have a local phone number that you can use to make your calls. Skype also allows chat which will be critical for those times when you just need to quickly note something and send it to the team.
Zoom allows you to do video calls for free (at least for the first 40 minutes) and has some great functionality that will be key to the project succeeding. The ability to chat to those on the call, setup breakout rooms for discussions and share screens are all key function as that will be helpful in keeping on top of the team communications.
If you have a Microsoft Office 365 environment, then Teams may be the way to go. Teams integrates files, wikis, chat, calls and video calls, all in the one interface. It can be administered centrally and the functionality is constantly improving.
It comes free with your O365 account so if you are already paying for O365, Teams could be a good option for you.
Time and project management
Trello and Asana are similar, but I find Asana a little easier to use. Thats probably because Trello has a little more functionality than Asana, which makes it a touch more complex. If you need the additional functions than you may want to use Trello to manage your tasks. Their free version is also quite functional so you may be able to easily get away with just using the free version if you go ahead with Trello.
Asana is my personal favourite and I love the ease of use of this product. Getting everyone together and knowing what everyone needs to do is easy with this solution. You can use the free version, but the paid version gives you a lot more functionality and is relatively inexpensive. One of the key features I like about Asana is the ability to quickly change how you visualise the tasks. With a list view available at the touch of a button you can easily see whats allocated to you.
If you want a lot of functionality, then look no further than Basecamp. I've seen companies use this tool to do all sorts of things including a full CRM and a way to communicate with clients. It has been around for quite a while now and has many functions that mean it is highly flexible. Alerts can be setup (though basecamp isn't alone here) to tell you what you have on your plate and when your tasks are due. A number of integrations are also available that will allow you to build a very useful platform to manage your projects.
Collaboration tools that allow everyone to chat with each other such as slack, and document collaboration tools such as google docs or Office 365 are all important considerations to ensure the team is maintaining close contact and clear communications with each other.