8 Critical Tools for Managing Distributed Teams Remarkably Well
Tools to make your teams thrive.
As distributed teams become more prevalent and effective in the business community, communication among team members has never been so important. With the help of a variety of SaaS tools, it also has never been easier either. After talking with our staff here at QAT Global, we have compiled a list of essential tools that make it possible for our distributed team members to not only function but thrive. We hope you enjoy some of our favorite tools that help our technical and marketing teams manage their work and stay connected!
Skype connects us. In addition to having excellent free and business functionality, it helps remote members of distributed teams stay connected easily one-on-one or in groups. With Skype’s clear audio calls, messaging, and screen sharing capabilities, team members, both internal and external, can conveniently and efficiently work together no matter the distance between them. Skype brings us together helping us get the job done as quickly as possible.
The most common document creation platform used among businesses and their clients is the Microsoft Office suite. Consistency with Microsoft Office’s programs from version to version, web-based and installed editions, and easy conversion of files to PDF makes sharing a breeze. OneDrive, SharePoint, and several other programs in the suite also make sharing documents and collaborating with internal and external team members simple. From presentations to proposals to contracts and training programs, Office keeps our team members from the US, Brazil, and Costa Rica in sync and files backed up seamlessly.
As is true with all of these tools, Trello makes life easier. Trello is an organizational tool most effectively used for project management organization and productivity. This tool helps distributed team members collaborate, delegate, organize, and manage projects of any scale. An excellent option for Agile teams, the web-based tool enables each team member to access the information they need and keep everyone updated no matter where they are.
GoToMeeting is a business meeting solution for remote team members and clients. With clear audio, HD visuals, and screen sharing capabilities, GoToMeeting is an all accessible platform for everyone to meet, collaborate, and carry out important business discussions in a professional and time-effective manner.
A favorite of our distributed marketing team, Freedcamp is packed with features that help team members stay well connected and organized when working on multiple detailed projects. From creating and assigning new tasks and projects, tracking completions, setting milestones, managing and sharing passwords, and discussing ideas and project progress – Freedcamp delivers the needed functionality in a user-friendly interface. At QAT Global we have found Freedcamp to be extremely effective for managing the onboarding of new interns, creating and executing campaigns, and managing projects for multiple clients in a single, user–friendly hub. Freedcamp allows us to assign tasks to specific individuals, set deadlines and priority levels for each task, and track the progress status of the task.
pCloud, another favorite of our marketing team, is a secure cloud storage service that allows for easy file sharing and collaboration. It is very easy to use and offers up to 10GB of storage for free, as well as lifetime plans of up to 2TB. pCloud is accessible on any device, so your files are always accessible to you, plus they offer an installed app that keeps everything synced between devices and users you share with. You can share single files or full folders with view-only or edit capabilities, making collaboration easy. Once a folder is shared, collaborators can easily add to it, remove files, and edit files in it. We find it invaluable as a temporary storage site for large video, photo, audio, and graphics files that we need to share during the ideation and design phases. It’s a brilliant tool to use when the team’s creative juices are flowing as the wait time between sharing files and gaining access to them is virtually eliminated enabling the team to work together seamlessly wherever they are located.
Dropbox, a popular alternative to PCloud, makes it easy for team members to share and edit large files freely. Any member can edit a file at their convenience, making work together in different time zones effortlessly. The amount of time needed to edit documents is also drastically decreased with this application as wait time between sharing files and gaining access to them is virtually eliminated, thereby, increasing productivity.
While not a SaaS tool itself, it’s proven to be an essential tool for distributed team members on the go when loaded with some of these other applications. Smartphones give team members easy access to virtually all of the same tools they would have at the office no matter where they are. They can also serve as a security blanket for communication if VOIP applications like Skype or GoToMeeting fail, due to any unforeseen technical difficulties. Team members can have access to each other and clients with a couple of taps of the screen if all else fails.
Putting it into action
Companies of all types and sizes are catching up with technology and opening their minds to the growing popularity of managing distributed teams with remote members. Though teams may be hundreds or thousands of miles apart, these essential SaaS tools can keep everyone connected, organized, and productive, just like us here at QAT Global.
Want to add to the discussion on managing distributed teams? Comment on your favorite tool and tell us how it makes your life easier. See a tool we left out? Tell us about it!
As always, don’t forget to share our article with your friends, colleagues, and network!