As a team leader, I’m always looking for new ways to help my team improve their work and soar to new levels of productivity. The truth is that productive teams are happy teams. And for teams to become productive, they need tools that match their process and preferences in their toolkit.
Here are five types of battle-tested tools that I find especially valuable for my team in boosting their collaboration, communication, and transparency.
1. Project management software
Nothing helps to improve the quality of a team’s work than an excellent system for organizing tasks in projects. Small teams can get away with an Excel spreadsheet, but only if their duties are simple and straightforward. For tasks that require multiple steps or work that passes through various stages, teams need proper project management software.
There are many different options available on the market, but Jira has it all to serve both development and business teams. On top of functionalities such as personalized workflows, understandable Kanban boards, and user-friendly interface, Jira is a very flexible tool that can be easily extended with the help of various apps from the Atlassian Marketplace.
For example, teams that perform repetitive tasks and don’t want to waste time on logging all of them in the system can take advantage of Issue Templates, an app that allows creating templates of Jira issues to reduce time dedicated to issue creation and eliminate errors for optimal productivity.
2. Knowledge base tool
Another tool that helps teams collaborate is Confluence. It allows organizations to create a knowledge base for teams.
In one of my previous articles, I talked about why having a single source of truth is so important in modern organizations. Creating a repository of knowledge that acts as a point of reference for everyone involved in a project is a smart move.
An organization-wide knowledge base allows different teams to collaborate and gain visibility into projects in progress. That type of repository ensures that everyone is on the same page regarding the project requirements, essential documents, and other information.
Instead of sending emails to team leaders with information requests, individual team members, organization employees, and other stakeholders can access this source of knowledge without the involvement of anyone.
3. Instant messaging app
In my experience as a team leader, setting up rules for communication and offering team members different communication tools is essential. Sometimes communicating inside project management software or over email is too time-consuming or redundant. That’s where instant messaging apps come in.
An example of such an app is HipChat. This team communication tool is easy to use and includes everything an organization needs: customized data retention, control functionalities for integration governance and guest access, flexible user management, and comfortable single sign-on. Thanks to HipChat, team members can work from anywhere using any type of platform as it works for Mac, Windows, iOS, and Android.
Using HipChat to centralize team communication was one of the best decisions I made for my team. By creating a separate channel for each project, I was able to offer my team a well-organized environment for knowledge exchange.
4. Video-conferencing tool
Sometimes written communication in the form of emails or chat messages is just not enough. Sharing knowledge and discussing a project with the help of video-conferencing tool helps in team bonding and often makes communication far more efficient. Sometimes it’s just easier to say and show something instead of writing a long email.
HipChat includes a feature that allows my team to share screens with up to 20 people and work through a project as a group. Teams can synchronize faster using a simple group video chat. I use it for weekly catch up meetings where each member of my team shares progress on their tasks and sees how their work contributes to the overall goals of the team and organization.
5. Collaboration in creating documents
Documentation is an integral part of every development team’s work, but that doesn’t mean business teams can’t use a piece of software that helps to create project documents. In fact, one of the best tools around that much that purpose is the tool I mentioned earlier, Confluence.
In Confluence, users can efficiently collaborate on documents in real time – editing, commenting, and adding their own content to create a unique repository of project knowledge. Instead of working on individual files and sending them back and forth to one another, team members have a single workspace where everyone can collaborate and knows whose contributions they are looking at. That’s not something cloud-based tools like Google Drive enable easily.
Would you like to learn more about using the Atlassian suite of tools to boost team management at your organization, be it development, operations, or business teams?
Reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org – I help organizations to implement agile approaches and tools that increase team collaboration.