Collaborative

Support purpose driven teams, who minimise duplication of effort, inefficiencies, and silo'd culture. As the best ideas to float to the top, they'll be supported widely across the team.

We have allowed ourselves to become isolated, and workplaces are often unhappy places where the largest number of the workers feel powerless.

But look around. The world is changing. Everyone has one day a week to follow their passion at Google. Reinventing Organisations by Frederik Laloux has shone a light on the most amazing successes, through embracing what is being coined self-management.

The tools under this heading are the ones worth looking at. Your context might mean the tools you need are not these but others that address the same issue with a slightly different exterior.

The list of tools for supporting collaborative, open and often consensus ways of working, is never ending. There must be dozens of them being launched every week. This is a just a sampling of some popular ones.

Meetings
Password management - how many do you have?
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As well as remembering the, or managing them, have you thought about what happens when you cark it?

Called "Emergency Access," the new system allows you to designate certain trusted email addresses that can request access to your passwords. If any of those email addresses requests access, LastPass will contact the user and begin the pre-set waiting period. If the user doesn't respond by the end of the waiting period, the passwords are turned over and the trusted friend is given full access to the account.

Google has a wonderful service called - Inactive Account Manager - where you can write a letter that can get sent to the people (email addresses) you designate to receive it. It gets sent to them after 3 months - the shortest period.

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I've set this up with a loving letter, to people I would want to give access to all my accounts, so they can deal with closing them down. In my case I have it set to a techy friend I trust, so he can help my less techy wife. :-)

Note taking / Brainstorming
  • Workflowy — a deceptively simple and elegant note and list making tool, with some powerful features. The ultimate bullet point brainstorming tool. Can't add attachments or images.
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  • Evernote — allows users to create a "note" which can be a piece of formatted text, a full webpage or webpage excerpt, a photograph, a voice memo, or a handwritten "ink" note. Notes can also have file attachments.
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    See Scannable on the Personal page

Notion

An editing window that blends real-time documents, wiki-like organisation, and lightweight tasks into a single tool that can handle elegantly, your core knowledge and collaboration needs.

Pros: Amazing user experience. It's easy to structure any kind of document as thoughts flow through your brain, and it does that beautifully. Collaboration is simple out of the box, and can be upgraded with Slack.

Cons: Search engine needs some love. You don't get notified when collaborators update documents.

notion.so - (#Demo: open in incognito window and go through login process)

On Product Hunt - september 2017

Show image as Full Screen (and more) - hover in top right and click

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On YouTube: A series of 12 very short videos to show how to use it (click to watch)

On iPhone at the Appstore

Slack

An interesting name for a tool that keeps everyone alert . . . It's a clean and reasonably easy to organise discussion tool, for instant messages.

This is a tool for larger teams with multiple departments and projects.

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Dashboards

Looker is just one example of a bunch of tools in this space. Shane Bradley and Casey Eden started Neighbourly, that has since been bought by Fairfax media. I saw their big screen dashboards when I visited their offices in 2014.

While Dashboards can help everyone in the team have access to fresh, reliable data, they are most relevant to the leadership and management. A good dashboard tool should allow users to drill deeper, ask questions, and share the data easily.

Scoreboards

As we talked about in

, scoreboards are for the teams. They should be designed and updated by those teams to show data on lead measures they have decided to track, to show at a glance, if they are winning or not.

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Photos

Google Photos - www.photos.google.com

I've looked at all sorts of ways to manage photos. My goal has been to get photos online and shareable and Google have come up with a tool that is hard to go past, with full integration across all your devices.

Albums, Places, Face recognition, Search by anything...

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Photoscan by Google - Android - Apple

Create enhanced digital scans, wherever your photos are – get glare-free scans with an easy step-by-step capture flow – Automatic cropping based on edge detection – Straight, rectangular scans with perspective correction – Smart rotation, so your photos stay right-side-up no matter which way you scan them.

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Asana - project planning and Tasks - asana.com

It might be just the bees knees for an active organisation with clear understanding of their shared purpose, and a team culture with collaboration at the core.

It does what a lot of different tools do, in terms of project and task management, and as Andrew Watterson says in this Quora article:

Asana's main use case is task management, mainly for general, time-boxed projects. I'd argue, though, that it's substantially more effective (compared to the status quo) at socializing information and decision-making across an organization.

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Loomio - for projects and decision making

Aimed at teams who are dealing with too many emails and tedious meetings. Loomio can let you make decisions without meetings, keeping all the discussion relating to each project or sprint, in one place.

With an engaged staff, happy in their work, and sharing a common purpose, Loomio can be helpful when the team is spread around and Loomio can provide the framework for meaningful discussion, proposals and voting.

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View this page if you're interested

Time tracking

If tracking can be simple and easy to do, the resulting data can be revealing. Here are a couple of my favourites.

  • officetime.net - I've used this for years, and the reason I chose it over all the others was the ease with which I can quickly, accurately and easily capture a note about how I am using my time.
  • In the menu bar I can confirm I'm tracking time for the project I'm active on. In this case I've been crafting content for the OnProductivity workshop, and have been on it a total of 2h:39m in the current day or session.
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  • timelyapp.com
  • There's no suggestion that we should measure every minute of our time, but as a way of reflecting on where our time is spent, tools like this can be very revealing.
G-Suite for business teams (or Office 365)

Google Docs/Drive (Oct 2006) and Office 365 (June 2011) are competing in the same space of hosting your documents in the cloud where multiple users can collaborate, while having differing levels of access.

Google looked at existing business software and approached it with a fresh and realistic view, bringing UX expertise to the conversation. No more bloated, feature-rich complexity that's rarely used.

Want to research the differences to see which might suit you best..

I chose the google tools in 2006

Documents, SpreadSheets, Presentation Slides, Survey Forms, Drawing

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How deep shall we go

I usually offer an introduction to G-Suite over six hours. So we can go as deep or as shallow as we have time for.

I need some numbers - to see where people are at with G-Suite, Email, Calendars, Docs, Sheets, Slides, Forms, Photos, Drawing. https://goo.gl/rEWYsa

How to good looks docs

5 Ways to Make Professional Looking Google Documents Google Docs templates — my favourites are the Project Plan, Report and Meeting Notes

Airtable - collaborative databases

Build your own database, that runs equally well on the web or on mobile (an app) and can capture data from the field or make it available there.

https://blockchainjob.co shows how an airtable database can be embedded and displayed in a web page.

I've built several Airtable bases and they are super quick to develop, once the needs are clear. And if there's existing data it can be imported in a flash.

Here's a sample base for managing a publication, which shows some of its features. It's embedded below, and you can browse, filter records, group and sort them, etc.

This link is set so you can see (but not edit) the database below in a larger view.

A video overview of Airtable

Calendar and appointment Management
LiveChat on website
Bufferapp - for scheduling social media posts
  • buffer.com/app/
  • Schedule your social media posts in advance (saving time and distraction) and post them across several networks at once to maximise distribution.
  • You can add Buffer as a web clip to your Chrome browser and pick up articles and images from across the web to store.
Active Campaign - for marketing

Newly added since the workshop

Front

Centralise communication in one place. Work as a team to manage all your communication channels — email addresses, SMS, social media, live chat, and voice.

Thanks to Christine from The Bridge Street Collective for this tip.

Appear In - video calls

Proposal: Try this as a way to maintain flows of information, emotion, inspiration and mutual support across your work tribe.

While there are dozens of options out there for video conferencing - Skype, Facetime, Facebook, it's worth spending some time to trial this tool, while you begin developing a habit of checking in more frequently.

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www.appear.in

Why appear.in

It's quick to join, it's another window/tab in your browser, so you can bookmark it.

Send a quick instant message, whatever your preferred medium is for getting each other's attention quickly - txt, messenger, whatsapp . . .

With the link in the message, the other party simply clicks and within seconds appear in the shared room at appear.in

You can send messages (eg links and other references), in the chat window

Or share one person's screen to show something across the video call.

Time to learn

Watch these intro videos - 1m 20secs

And now the 12 min summary and How-To