Whether your teams work together in an office or from across the world, fostering good communication is crucial to ensuring productivity. Even individuals sitting next to each other can have problems communicating, misunderstandings, and other issues.
Many communication problems arise because people use different tools, processes, and forms of communication. Creating processes and then integrating them into company-wide communication and collaboration tools will help teams to be more productive.
5 team collaboration and communication tools
(Image: https://www.atlassian.com/software/jira )
Jira is an Agile (Scrum and Kanban based) project management tool originally geared towards software development, but available for most types of teams.
With project management, project visualization, issue tracking, Kanban boards, and much more, Jira has something to offer for everyone but is primarily geared towards developers and tech.
Jira also integrates 1000+ addons and apps, allowing you to customize your interface and features.
With prices starting from $10 per month, Jira also scales to nearly any organizational size, and integrates well for small teams.
Jira also scales to larger organizations with the option to host on-site rather than cloud-only, giving you additional options for security and project ownership.
(Image: https://asana.com/guide/videos )
Asana is a project and task management application enabling task and project creation and assignment, with workspaces, and a dashboard for project workflows. Teams can create workspaces, organize work into programs and initiatives, and create individual tasks such as meetings under each project, enabling most types of work to be organized. Asana includes basic commenting and communication, permissions and user control, and document sharing.
Asana’s project creation tools allow you to produce either Task or Kanban project views (although you can’t switch between them), to list dependencies, such as when one team member is waiting on another, and a very feature-rich range of applications.
The only real downside is that it can be confusing to start, as the interface is not always intuitive. Asana is free for up to 15 users, after which you pay based on the number of users.
Slack is one of the most popular collaboration tools out there, but is primarily geared towards communication. Slack is therefore less of a standalone project management tool and more of a communication tool that works best in combination with another tool such as Jira, Asana, or Wrike.
Slack’s biggest feature is the ability to create team and project channels, where all discussion on a single project is kept together. The app also includes intuitive file sharing, video calling, and full integration into most collaboration tools. Slack’s biggest pro is that it is extremely intuitive and integrates into most other collaboration and work tools, making it extremely easy to tie projects into their tooling.
However, with chat and channels everywhere, Slack may be overwhelming for new users, and chat may be a distraction in some environments.
Pricing starts at free and the standard premium version costs $6.67 per month per active user.
Wrike is a project management tool geared towards medium-to-large teams, offering an Agile-based approach to project organization, workflows, tracking and resource management.
Unlike most alternatives, Wrike also offers a client portal, enabling you to create visibility and transparency for clients. Write also integrates team management, reporting, customized workflows and processes, and workload management, making it one of the most versatile team communication tools available.
Wrike’s largest plus is that the app is one of the most complete solutions out there, making it a virtual plug-and-play project management and collaboration tool where most users can very easily get started with a minimal learning curve.
Wrike also integrates into hundreds of tools ranging from CMS to tools like Zapier and Salesforce or Adobe Creative Cloud, making it extremely easy to import projects and update progress directly from the apps the projects are completed in.
Wrike is free for the first 5 users, after which you’ll pay $9.80 per user, per month for the standard solution.
Ryver is a team communication tool geared towards pulling all your communication platforms into one app. The tool supports messaging, file sharing, conversation search, voice and video calling, and task management with workflow automation and integration for most common collaboration tools.
While primarily aimed at enabling chat and communication, Ryver’s task boards and workflow automation are comparable with other project management tools. Ryver also compares well with Slack but with a simpler interface, which is a huge pro for some.
Here, Ryver stands out with more administrative control such as the ability to delete messages but doesn’t compare well in terms of notifications, visual communication, or group voice and video chat. Pricing starts at $49 per month for up to 12 users.
Choosing the Right Team Communication Tools
While there are hundreds of team communication tools available, not every tool is suitable for each team. In addition, the larger your organization, the more likely that a single tool will not be suitable for every team inside your organization.
Creating good collaboration means matching tools to team and individual needs, so that people can communicate in a way that makes sense for their work and their workflow.
For example, developers and software engineers will need screen sharing and file sharing as a basic necessity where marketing teams are much less likely to require these functions. It’s also important to pay attention to how teams work because Agile teams will likely want Agile tools, teams working with Kanban would require Kanban, and so on.
There are no perfect tools and even a great tool now will not remain perfect forever. The best way to keep communication tools relevant and productive is to continue to evaluate them for efficiency, value, and to ensure that they continue to meet the needs of your individual teams.
Good communication tools will help your team to collaborate seamlessly, whether across distances or across an office. When everyone is using the same platform, communicating in the same spaces, and viewing work in the same workflows, teams can be that much more productive and communicative.