Whether you’re managing teams in-house or outsourcing and freelancing, managing collaboration across teams is difficult for any agency. Your organization must plan and organize work around multiple clients and (likely) multiple remote or outsourced contributors. Managers need an efficient way to hold each of those individuals responsible for their roles and responsibilities.
Today, collaboration software solutions make it easier than ever to connect teams across distances, to ensure that even in-office teams are organized, and that everyone is contributing to value in the most effective way possible.
We’re providing an overview of 6 awesome collaboration software solutions to help you make the right choice for your agency.
Basecamp is a web-based collaboration solution, designed to create a simple interface for teams to manage projects with real-time communication.
The tool offers project management, task assignment, prioritization, and content organization. You can organize teams individually and assign projects to entire teams or individuals, with individual task assignment for transparency. Individuals can then show accountability by checking into tasks so that managers can easily see what is being worked on. This enables timelines and activity logs for better documentation as well as easier worker management.
Basecamp also integrates file management, so teams can actively share what they are working on, move assignments to other teams as work is completed, and submit work.
Basecamp features a full client portal, so that clients can see controlled views of work, discuss projects with teams, and receive work right through the collaboration software. Basecamp costs $99 per month.
Slack functions as a collaboration tool designed to pull information from work applications into a single channel along with real-time chat and channels.
While not a traditional project management tool, Slack makes it easy to create communication spaces for specific projects, to assign work, and to collaborate together across distances. With file sharing, video calling, and chat, Slack covers all basic communication needs.
Slack also integrates into most tools you might work in, making it easy to build remote communication across projects and teams.
Slack costs $6.67 per month for the basic option, but also offers a free option.
Asana is designed to offer project management through either Tasks or Kanban project views, making it suitable for nearly every type of team.
The online collaboration software solution supports teams with some task assignment and accountability features, workspaces, programs and initiatives with tasks for each project, and project organization. Asana also offers security and user management with permissions, user access control, and document sharing – making it ideal for teams where some individuals might require more access than others.
Asana’s biggest pro is that it helps you to visualize work tasks with to-do lists, visual project workflow, and easy timelines with assigned tasks, so that everyone always knows what is happening and when.
Asana is free for the first 15 users.
Podio, or Citrix Podio, is a workflow management tool designed to help manage teams, tasks, and projects. Podio incorporates project management and project visualization to create workflows, with individual tasks and timelines, which can be assigned out to relevant parties.
Podio also incorporates a client portal, enabling you to share files, internal documentation, or work-progress with clients.
Plus, with built-in features for knowledge bases such as style guides, resources such as images or code libraries, and a project library organized by client, Podio is ideal for agencies working with multiple clients through several teams.
Podio starts at free with basic options from $9 per month.
Monday.com is one of the only project management and collaboration tools designed with agencies in mind. The SaaS software offers complete project management and team management solutions with a unique approach to client management. Basic features include project management, with support for Agile sprints and epics, plus individual tasks, progress updates, and reviews.
Monday.com also allows teams to work in processes such as approval and points in the documentation process, which can then be marked as complete before the project or task moves on to the next stage. Calendars and scheduling make it easy to align teams across projects, prioritize projects, and assign tasks to individuals.
While similar to Asana, Monday.com takes a slightly more Agile-based approach to workflows and offers much stronger project timeline and deadline management.
Monday.com starts from $25 per month.
Bitrix24 is a complete project management tool that includes task and project management, HR management, CRM, communication, file sharing and editing, calendars and time management, and complete integration into most work tools.
Bitrix also organizes software solutions based on industry, so most agencies can choose specific software that meets their individual needs or based on specific tools. Bitrix24 also integrates time-tracking and progress updates, so that you can see what individuals are working on and when.
Unlike most of its near competitors, Bitrix also offers a full intranet, wiki or knowledge base, and business process management inside of the tool.
Bitrix24 is one of the most complete collaborations tools available, with everything from video conferencing and chat to full workflow and project/task management.
Bitrix24 starts with a free plan with up to 5GB of storage +$69 per month if you want access to the CRM.
Which one is right for your agency?
While there are hundreds of collaboration software solutions, most are not built around agencies. In most cases, you will need strong team and time management solutions, which will allow you to track what and where individuals are working. In some cases, you may also want support for specific work methods, or for software development, which will change your needs.
The most important aspect of any collaboration tool is that it should meet the needs of your agency, the work-style of your hires, and the projects you are developing. This may mean integrating several tools across your organization for managing different aspects of your company (such as Jira for coding and Slack for general chat) but it may also mean choosing one large and feature-rich solution such as Bitrix to manage everything.
Most collaborations tools will have some added value, so your best option is likely to review which ones best suit your organization, test them, and make a decision based on best-fit.