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Teamwork

3 Collaboration Tools for Designers

On successful design teams, each individual brings their own unique perspectives and creative strengths to the table. And as an effective team manager, it’s important to make sure that no one’s ideas get lost in the conversation trail. Collaboration tools for designers help your team work together seamlessly on projects, exchange ideas, and get real-time feedback from clients and one another. With better collaboration, everyone is on the same page regarding design briefs and client requirements—all leading to exceptional final deliverables. 

However, not every collaboration tool will necessarily suit your creative team’s needs. Collaboration tools need to be flexible enough to support the changing requirements of your team and the projects you work on. Before committing to a particular platform, you need to look for certain features that support the creativity and overall productivity of the team.        

Must-Have Features of Collaboration Tools for Designers

Facilitating collaboration among your design team members is not just about creating a project timeline, assigning tasks, or organizing project resources. Effective collaboration is only possible if your team feels supported in taking on responsibilities and communicating their thought processes. To help your team succeed in using collaboration tools to work together on complicated projects, you need to look for the following must-have features:

Organization

For designers, a design brief from the client is the holy grail. It works as a reference point and continuing guide for the project. Everyone involved needs to have access to the design brief, images, and approved templates—along with other exhaustive information such as size specifications, output file type, type of media, and any other technical particulars. Organizing a clear project timeline and delegating tasks is also key to ensuring the success of the project and avoiding confusion among team members. Organizing such resources, information, and tasks in a secure cloud platform is critical for the progress of the project and seamless collaboration among your teammates.     

Communication

Streamlined communication is instrumental in helping your team adapt to a collaborative work environment. Without real-time communication, creative ideas can easily get lost, affecting the outcome of the project. An open channel of communication facilitates brainstorming, thereby enhancing the quality of work while lowering instances of missed or delayed deadlines. To put your team’s creative ideas into executable designs, you’ll need a collaboration tool with a built-in chat feature.    

User Interface

This is one of the most overlooked aspects of collaboration tools. A collaboration tool is meant to improve productivity but also needs to be user-friendly and visually appealing. If your design team members find it difficult to navigate through a new platform, they will grow frustrated or lose interest in using it for their day-to-day work and will end up relying on previously used tools. This would negate the purpose of adopting new software for collaboration in the first place!  

Some of the widely used collaboration tools for designers are based on these essential features; however, every collaboration platform has a few unique advantages that set it apart from the rest. Before committing to a particular platform, you’ll need to be well aware of these potential benefits so you can confidently choose the best one for your team.

Key Collaboration Tools for Designers

Considering the availability of several collaboration tools for designers, how do you determine which one works best for your team? Based on the features discussed above, here is a comparison of some of the widely used collaboration tools for designers.

Asana

Asana is a powerful collaboration tool used by designers to capture ideas, create and manage product roadmaps, and collaborate through feedback and ongoing clarifications. Tasks can be organized and viewed in the form of boards, lists, calendars, or Gantt charts. However, users face a steeper learning curve, and there is no built-in chat feature. Here is how Asana fares on key features needed for designers: 

Organization: Tasks can be organized into four priority sections: recently assigned, today, upcoming, and later. Files from the local folder, Box, DropBox, GoogleDrive, or SharePoint need to be associated with a task before uploading them as a project asset. Organized files can be looked up through advanced search and file view. 

Communication: Task-level conversations and comments are allowed but teams will need to integrate Slack or another chat option for additional communication.

User Interface: Steep learning curve for new users.

Monday.com

The visual interface of Monday.com includes colorful, customized designs that are appealing in a project collaboration tool for designers. The platform uses a “Board system” with individual boards functioning as macro tasks or projects, and individual tasks listed within the boards are termed “pulses.” Like Asana, however, there are limitations in the communications and user interface realms. Here are some pros and cons of the platform: 

Organization: Tasks can be organized and viewed in the Board filter and can be assigned to multiple team members. Files from local drive, Google Drive, DropBox, Box.com, and OneBox can be uploaded and added to the file column of the respective board. 

Communication: No chat feature—Slack or other communication app needs to be integrated for communication.

User Interface: Advanced tools and features take time to figure out. 

Flow

Flow is an intuitive and visual collaboration platform with different customizable views for designers such as list, timeline, Kanban, and calendar. Built-in chat offers easier communication, and a modern, intuitive interface makes the platform extremely user-friendly. Here is how Flow can help your creative team accomplish their project goals:

Organization: Simple drag-and-drop to assign or reassign tasks, letting team members create, share, and discuss tasks. Resources such as photos, videos, files, links, and other relevant assets can be attached to the respective tasks.

Communication: The built-in chat feature offers real-time communication.

User Interface: A fresh, user-friendly interface allows for easy navigation and intuitive learning.

In addition to these features, Flow’s lively platform provides options to choose project colors and icons to easily categorize tasks. The crisp, appealing display provides a clutter-free virtual workspace for your creative team. With Flow, your designers can enjoy further customizable themes with dark, neutral, and light colors along with specific accent colors to create a unique workspace, similar to how they might decorate their desks in a physical office space. 

Lastly, when it comes to choosing a collaboration tool for designers, user experience plays a critical role not just in terms of easy navigation or advanced features but also in the overall look and feel of the tool.. Keep this in mind when committing to a collaborative workspace so your creative team can tackle project goals with gusto.

With Flow’s all-in-one platform, collaboration among your creative team can be more robust and productive than ever. To learn more about our collaborative platform for designers, sign up for a free trial today!

November 19, 2020

Leadership

How to Build and Maintain a Remote Work Culture

As the saying goes, there’s no “I” in “team.” And whether you’re working with a team of four or forty, or building out multiple project teams for a variety of clients, it’s critical for teams to collaborate together in the process.

A successful remote team culture only really excels when everyone is all in. If a team member is opening a program to input task details and notes, and everyone else is working on separate platforms, that team will likely be disjointed.

On the other hand, when collaborating as a project team via an intuitive centralized dashboard—well, that forms a new kind of synergy and can help streamline projects. Before you know it, you and your team will be working collaboratively together. You’ll soon start to develop the remote team culture you always dreamed of.

Now, the question becomes, “How to build and maintain a remote work culture?” 

How to Build a Remote Work Culture

There’s often a disconnect in remote work culture. That’s why transparency and autonomy are crucial for the success of remote teams. Precautions are necessary to ensure real-time communication and collaborative practices are effective in a remote work environment.

By using collaboration tools for task, project, and calendar management, you will cover all the bases of the specific project, individual, and team needs of your remote workers. A built-in chat channel will enable you to communicate in real-time, any time. And task and calendar project management will help you accomplish projects on time and on budget.

Essential Task Management Features

When project team members share the ability to collaborate on tasks, view project details, due dates, and prioritized projects, it’s easy to accomplish more together.

For project managers and leads, a collaborative platform is especially beneficial for:

  • Organizing remote project resources and teams
  • Viewing reports on project and team accomplishments
  • Having real-time conversations regarding project launches 
  • Viewing team member workloads
  • Seeing individual and project work within Kanban boards
  • Integrating team calendars and timelines 
  • Evaluating project and task information
  • Adding followers to tasks so that all collaborators are in the loop Integrating apps into a single platform; GoogleSuite, DropBox, Slack, Zapier, and other tools can be incorporated into one location
  • Updating tasks when dates change 
  • Including comments regarding project plans
  • Prioritizing tasks for teams
  • Setting recurring tasks for project team members

When team members work collaboratively together, it immediately benefits team culture, encouraging autonomy and accountability. And there are a variety of ways to not only work together but also develop a more positive, thriving remote work culture.

Maintaining a Positive Remote Project Management Culture

Maximizing virtual team productivity and a collaborative remote work culture call for best practices for working remotely. Here are some ways to build rapport with your distributed team:

  • Gather for virtual team meetings via Zoom or host a live chat via a built-in chat channel
  • Offer themed chat channels, such as “watercooler” or “team updates”, and channels for various interests like reading, exercise, or movies.
  • Celebrate individual, project, and company milestones via Zoom or a built-in chat channel named “milestones” or “team wins.”
  • Announce celebratory events such as birthdays or work anniversaries in a channel called “celebrations.”  
  • Host annual retreats and plan for them with your teams online
  • Engage in virtual games, lunches, or happy hours

Celebrating accomplishments, as well as engaging in real-time chat sessions, is essential for creating a meaningful virtual workplace and community.

Implement a Remote Team Platform that Works

Implementing a task and project management system that your entire team can collaborate on effectively and productively ensures projects are complete and on time. And communicating regular updates on project progress enables the open communication necessary for a positive and productive remote work culture.

It’s also so important to recognize customer, team, and individual wins on a regular basis. Celebrating major milestones and achievements online via Zoom or built-in chat messaging sessions helps you to appreciate a remote work culture that really works and bolsters team morale.

It’s all about establishing a remote work culture that everybody can enjoy and feel proud of. Because, after all, there’s no “I” in “team,” and celebrating team victories together is the best way to do it!

Flow provides a feature-rich virtual collaboration platform that gives your team an enjoyable way to celebrate remote work culture. Try it free today! 

November 17, 2020

Productivity

Virtual Task Management with Chat for Remote Teams

Whether your remote team is all in the same city or you have team members spread out across the world, being able to seamlessly schedule tasks and manage workflows are crucial for the success of any remote team. Don’t worry though—the struggles that many remote teams face with virtual task management are not unique, even if your project is, and the right task management software can help you easily tackle these challenges. But what about other roadblocks you might hit while managing your team members remotely? 

Communication is the key to successful team dynamics and often the most overlooked aspect among remote teams. When team members share the same physical workspace, it is easy to ask a  quick work-related question or strike up a casual chat. However, when working remotely, the loss of face-to-face interactions can cause communication chaos among teammates. To bridge this gap, you’ll need to choose a tool that offers task management with chat.           

The Benefits of Task Management With Chat

A task management platform brings together all your team members to organize workflow, schedule tasks, and meet deadlines. With a chat tool, conversations and collaboration become so much easier than trying to communicate entirely via email or conference calls, increasing overall motivation and productivity. Here are the most important benefits of using task management with chat:

Centralized workflow views

Exceptional task management software provides centralized workflow views to keep everyone updated on project timelines, the breakup of tasks and subtasks, due dates and priorities, and assignees for each task. This also helps with tracking tasks to easily and efficiently manage deadlines.   

Overview of team workload

A task management tool helps you easily delegate tasks to your teammates. If a team member is feeling overwhelmed with the workload or needs to focus their attention on another aspect of a project, you can reassign the tasks to others with a simple drag-and-drop.    

Task resource sharing

Cloud-based storage lets you organize task resources including relevant files, images, and links. This makes it easier for your team members to access and share the resources through one single application.   

Real-time conversations

Task management with chat facilitates timely communication among team members with the help of group chat channels, direct messaging, and even in-task conversations. Conversations within tasks can save you and your team from scheduling unnecessary meetings to get updates about the progress of a task or project.

Team Collaboration

With real-time updates on progress, along with in-task conversations, sharing feedback or asking for support from coworkers becomes easier and keeps everyone in the loop. For virtual teams, task management with chat significantly improves overall team collaboration

Though it is not absolutely necessary to have a chat feature in a task management tool, using different applications for task management and communication can turn out to be quite confusing and counterproductive. Employing a task management platform with a built-in chat feature can help prevent these difficulties and give your team a morale boost.    

Enhancing Team Collaboration Through Built-In Chat

A built-in chat feature not only encourages instant communication but also enhances team collaboration through task-based conversations. Real-time collaboration among virtual team members helps to quickly resolve any task-related roadblocks through the exchange of valuable ideas and resources, while also increasing team engagement. Below are some potential benefits of a built-in chat feature:

  • Internal chats: Internal chats within a task management platform decrease the distraction of switch-tasking. With multiple modes of communication combined into one channel, accessing task updates, shared resources, and information becomes easier.   
  • Sharing files and links: Information distribution is crucial for remote teams and built-in chat tools provide you with multiple channels to share resources and information. You can share teamwide messages on group chats, task-related information through in-task chats, or message your team members one-on-one.  
  • Prioritizing and tracking tasks: In a project timeline, it’s common that tasks get prioritized over others as the project progresses and some of the tasks can clock more time than previously scheduled. Task management with built-in chat can help relay such information to your team on a real-time basis to ensure that deadlines are met easily. 
  • Remote access: It is especially important for virtual teams to access tasks, files, notes, and other resources from both desktop browsers and mobile devices. The built-in chat feature lets your team members work on the tasks anytime, irrespective of their location or time zone.    

With the advantages of a built-in chat feature, task management can be more effective. A single online workspace providing both the benefits of task management and team collaboration can help you streamline workflow and increase the overall productivity of your remote team.       

An All-in-One Platform to Improve Team Productivity

Coordination among your team members builds a successful team that can accomplish project goals while chasing tight deadlines. An all-in-one task management platform with a built-in chat feature can support your team and make everyone feel more connected while working remotely. 

It’s important to consider the feedback and experience of your team members while they use such a platform. A task management tool with a steep learning curve eats into productivity, negating the very purpose of the tool. Therefore, as a project manager, you need a user-friendly, all-in-one task management platform that truly supports your team.  

With Flow’s easy-to-implement and intuitive task management software, your team members can access the tools they need to accomplish their best work. To learn how our chat feature can keep your remote team more connected, sign up for a free trial today!  

November 12, 2020
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