Working with others online requires organization and good tools in order to be efficient. Having a good way of communicating, somewhere to share files and a way of managing tasks is essential for efficient work. These are some of the tools that work for best for me and I hope you enjoy them as well.
TLDR; Short version
To share files use Copy (20gb free) or Dropbox (2.5 gb free). For writing collaborative use PiratePad or LiveMinutes. To organize your team’s tasks use Trello. For communication use mail, Skype and Mumble.
The best way to share files is having a shared resource of them between the team. Putting them online in a cloud which syncs down changes and additions to your desktop is an efficient way of doing this. I used dropbox for a long time for this. It’s efficient and makes sure you can share folders easily with other team-mates. It also provides you with the security of always having a backup in case you hard-drive fails. Another better alternative I found recently is called “copy“, basically working the same way as dropbox but counting shared folder space divided by people sharing them instead of the way that Dropbox counts the same space as used for each person. Copy also gives 8x the amount of space that Dropbox does for new users!
One normal problem of working in a team is passing around the same file to different people to add text. The problem is often that you send it back and forth through e-mail and sometimes have trouble of keeping track of which file is the newest version or try and make changes to the file at the same time. A better solution to collaborative writing is being able to work together in the same document seeing the live updates as the other person types. Google developed a product called ‘etherpad’ before they closed it down. Fortunately they released the code for it so you can use it on your own server if you want or just google “etherpad clone” and you will find several options. I mostly use one called piratepad.net (hosted by the Swedish Pirate Party). Another option is to use a service called LiveMinutes that gives you more control over several documents instead of just one.
When you are working together you often need somewhere to keep track of all the small tasks that need to be completed and the progress with each one. Trello is an excellent tool for managing tasks, assigning persons, assigning due dates and everything else you need for keeping track of what needs to be done. Using trello will make your bigger projects much more manageable and easier to overview.
One of the most important part is communicating with your team. Mailing back and forth is important to a certain extent but you need more channels to be efficient. Skype works great for medium/larger teams for holding a permanent group chat where you can give small asynchronous updates about progress and sometimes get instant feedback. A good compliment to the longer mails. Skype is also a good option for smaller meeting calls to discuss your project. For larger teams you reach better stability and quality of call using a tool such as Mumble that is optimized for voice-calls.
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Picture: CC-BY, Chris Potter