Software provides remarkable potential for new abilities and for flexibility around nearly everything in our lives these days. In no sphere is that more true than in a collaborative team environment. Whether a team’s mission is to deliver value to customers through providing the highest quality products and services for the best prices or their mission is to ensure that their acting troupe pulls off a flawless live performance, software can enhance a team’s cohesiveness and can bring a higher level of execution.
Instant messaging is starting to rival email as a primary means of communication for a great number of people today. With a higher reliance on SMS text messaging and various other 1-to-1 messaging services, there is a great desire for being able to communicate immediately.
In a team environment, there are several software and services to facilitate team chat that allow for both 1-to-1 messaging as well as group messaging in team rooms or channels. These software range from hosted services like Slack, Stride, and Microsoft Teams (part of Office 365) to other options which can be free and sometimes self-hosted and self-supported such as RocketChat, MatterMost, and Discord.
Team chat software allows for rapid collaboration and feedback in near real time, potentially leading to hitting deadlines sooner and more effectively.
Sometimes text just isn’t enough, and sometimes you just can’t be in the same location as the rest of your team. For those times, it’s helpful to be able to see the rest of your team for visual collaboration and/or presentation.
For those times, teams can turn to video conferencing which will allow them to use webcams in addition to microphones and even embedded text chat to work together in an environment more akin to actually being together in person.
Several services exist to enable such video conferencing and most also provide the ability to share computer screens so a user can give a presentation or demonstrate a problem they’re having. Some options for video conferencing are GoToMeeting, Google Meet, and Skype.
Collaborative Document Editing
Documents are the lifeblood of most teams. They’re used as the go-to media for storing thoughts, ideas, and decisions regarding any sort of information that a team cares about. Traditionally, documents have been limited to that Word Doc file that everyone passes around, adding their edits, and updating the filename with their own “_v1.docx” or “_JaneChanges.docx.” This quickly becomes not only limiting but also risky in the event that someone’s changes aren’t persisted in the file or they are somehow overwritten unintentionally in later versions.
Enter collaborative document editing. With services like Google Docs and Microsoft Office 365, multiple team members can work on a document at the same time. These services also usually keep a revision history of documents so that any unintentional change can be undone. This sort of collaboration allows team documentation to more quickly become an accurate reflection of the ideas, systems, or information being documented.
We all have to-do lists. We probably have more than one. Now imagine those lists multiplied by the number of individuals on your team. The thought is likely overwhelming. This is where task or project management software can come to the rescue.
For many teams, their task management software is the single most important piece of software for their daily operation. Due to this, there are countless different options for task management systems ranging from something as simple as a system which gives you a focused way to organize task lists and track their progress from start to completion to something as complex as a full-blown Enterprise Resource Planning package which not only allows for task and project tracking and management but also ties in with other operational parts of your business such as procurement, inventory management, order management, and billing.
The better a team can record, plan, track, and execute on their tasks, the better results they will have. Task management software allows them to do just that.
The longer a team exists, the higher likelihood that individual members will come and go. It’s just a natural progression. However, sometimes these departures can have an impact that is hard to absorb when a member exits along with their deep knowledge of the team’s activities. On the other side of this equation, when a new team member joins, it is sometimes difficult to inform them of all the contextual knowledge they will need to be successful in their position on the team.
To address this issue, a team can turn to a knowledge documentation solution. One of the world’s largest knowledge documentation projects is Wikipedia which aims to be a completely thorough encyclopedia of human knowledge.
Wikipedia itself is a fantastic example of using a type of software called a wiki. A wiki can allow for all team members to add their own specific knowledge about the team’s mission, processes, and information into a place for the common reference of all other team members. If a team is diligent in their usage of their wiki, such departures or arrivals as described above can be navigated with much less turmoil.
Bringing It All Together
Traditionally, bringing teams together required them to physically come together in the same space. Today, such close-knit collaboration can be achieved with aid of various types of software. Once a team becomes adjusted to using all of their collaboration software as part of their daily routines, efficiency will begin to soar, and bumps in the road may become completely avoidable due to unified understanding among all of the team’s members.
Whether it’s your first step or next big leap into collaborative software, SandStorm IT is here to help! Just give us a call at (901) 475-0275 for more personalized recommendations or consultation.