During this time of change, for those lucky enough to avoid catching Covid-19 it has been a time for reflection and adaptation. Reflecting on what’s important in life, while juggling the family and work challenges. The way of working has certainly changed – so the importance of online tools, especially those that allow for easy collaboration, has only been elevated. But what has the Nurture team enjoyed using with clients throughout this lockdown period? We take a closer look…
Channels that enable us to converse, such as Skype and Slack, and allow us to continue to collaborate in a seamless way have always been part of most businesses DNA but even for us, using new tools or finding out new functions of existing tools has been enlightening.
Whether it’s Zoom and having kids pop up in the background, or online drawing out of mock-ups instead of old-school whiteboards, we’ve all learnt some new tricks. Here’s just a handful that we’ve been benefiting from:
Our favourite tools for collaboration
As a business that can work anywhere, across our global office etc it’s vital to have project information in the cloud. We’ve transitioned to Confluence fully in the past couple of years but more clients are now understanding its benefits. Here we have documentation for each team and they can find relevant articles. For example one of our team has been maintaining a blog for polish project managers with useful tips. Everyone is able to add new terms and so it’s a collaboration for the team to work on.
Figma is a web-based design tool which allows you to collaborate in real-time with your team. This quick and easy to run tool has over 800 fonts built in, meaning you can tailer your designs to your clients needs!
One of the extra perks is because it’s a web-based tool you don’t need to download anything and more importantly when you want your client to review and collaborate they can simply click the link and they are ready to go.
And if that wasn’t enough, it’s also free which is always an added bonus!
This one isn’t an app for collaboration but we thought that it was a very important one to include, especially for the time we currently find ourselves in.
Now more than ever it is harder to separate our work and home life, especially because most of us have had to turn our kitchens into makeshift offices! Not have a clear split can be out a lot of pressure on our mental health and can often make it hard for us to stay focused. The Headspace app is jam packed full of exercises and tips to help you unwind, from meditations to stress management and tips to help you sleep.
The creators even said ‘that using the app for just 30 days can lower stress levels by 32%, and just 4 sessions reduces burnout by 14%.’ So it’s definitely worth a try!
‘JIRA is a blessing!’
A tool we’ve used for years, but always worth a shout-out. This is a perfect tool for Project Managers to finally get rid of hundreds of email threads and still track issues in one place, and everyone from the team can still have access and overview of it. Thanks to this we are aligned with our clients/ partners by using collaborative project boards where we can assign each ticket to a particular person and watch the workflow of single issues. What is more, thanks to JIRA we can set up dependencies between different issues so it is very easy to demonstrate if the team is being blocked by something else. The best thing about Attlassian is the integration between JIRA and Confluence. You can have project documentation and project workflow in the same place. To sum-up Jira is the best tool to manage project development chaos
“The visual workspace for remote teams”
Lucidchart is a platform that allows a user to collaborate on drawings, charts and diagrams. In a way the platform works as a virtual white board, allowing people to write and edit at the same time and collaborate seamlessly on work. The user creates a workflow and is able to break down their work structure and is a great way of tracking work and the tasks that need to be completed within a project. It can also be integrated with Jira, Confluence, Google Docs and many many more, making it the perfect tool!
One you haven’t heard of? It’s been around for a little while but again, they’ve added a bunch of really cool functions for things like user journey tracking, and persona work. But the best – and most basic – part of Miro that has been most used by the team is the freehand drawing boards. A huge help when running workshops and sketching out web pages on the fly while on a Zoom call with clients.
The nice touch of being able to add post-it notes wherever you like for note taking is really useful.
Monday.com is handy scheduling tool which allows teams to collaborate and easily track the work that needs doing and a person’s progress as they move through it. It allows a team to clarify the steps that need to be taken to complete a task and who is in charge of each bit. Its colourful nature also makes it exciting to look at and intuitive design makes it simple to use.
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This is a perfect tool for project retrospectives, where you can gather all information from the team about what went well during the build phase and what we need to chance to work more efficiently and remove any obstacles that appear in the way to deliver a successfully working product.
The old classic! But more recently, we’ve had clients involved! Slack is a tool used mainly by our team in Poland to collaborate internally and speak about important project matters. Within Slack, you can create groups of any size, meaning you can have a channel designated to specific projects, making it easy to collaborate while also keeping all messages in one place and easy to track. There is also an option to chat directly with someone and to call both one and one or in larger groups. Slack can also be integrated with lots of different platforms such as Invision, Trello and intercom, making this a very useful.
“Smartsheet empowers everyone to plan, adapt, and get things done in a rapidly changing world.”
This great tool is probably one you’ve heard of before but might be slightly overlooked. Smartsheets is a great programme for collaboration and allows you to assign tasks, track project progress, manage calendars, share documents, and manage other work – to name a few! All allowing you and your team to successfully collaborate on tasks, especially while working from home.
Zoom has been really useful in the sense that we’ve used video much more than usual. The use of video has really brought everyone together and makes you feel like you’re somewhat in the room with a client and your own team. We as a team use Zoom multiple times a day, for internal meetings and client calls, and really allows you to engage and collaborate. It’s also very easy to set up and to share the link for your meeting room.
More recently, the extra security elements have been valuable. While there are new pieces of functionality added too. The very recent addition of ‘Breakout rooms’ is actually an amazing way to run brainstorms and create teams. The same has been used for creative workshop sessions too.
Here at Nurture we have daily check-ins via Zoom to see what each of us has got planned for the day and to raise any problems we might be having. As well as keeping the team running smoothly, it also allows us to stay more connected and still feel part of a team!
Thanks for reading! We hope you find all these tools as useful as we do! Be sure to get in touch if you have any more suggestions of other tools that are great for collaboration! We would love to hear about them!