Sunday, March 30, 2014

Guide to Online Collaborations

Useful Tips, Tools, and Apps for Online Collaborations 

The key to any team or collaboration, there is always going to be a need for cooperation and compromise between the members, but you need the right tools and ideologies to get your tasks or project complete. You first need to get everybody thinking on the same page and communicating their ideas efficiently, which requires strong leadership and the right platform for launching those creative endeavors. 


Get the Team Organized: Organization is a top priority, and each project may have a different style of organization, but you MUST have a clean method of sharing ideas and group-related topics together. 

  • Private Forums
    • Chat apps can be another solution, but it can be difficult to organize the information or even access the conversations at later dates. 
      • Discussion boards can be a good place to share these ideas--each of your team members can create new threads and reply to comments in real-time.
      • Other good tools would be Google Docs, where you can have a doc with the members' tasks, and comment and add to the discussion that way as well (see Google Web Apps below).  
  • Never forget the importance of an inclusive team that engages all of its members


      • Tools are suppose to ease your workflow; ensure that all team members have access to the tool(s) that you are going to be utilizing when working through this project 

  • Cloud StorageStoring your files into the Cloud has almost become a necessary modern day solution to file storage and file sharing--and there are many apps available! 
    • The purpose is to setup a single area where everybody can access important files at any time. DropboxCloudApp, and droplr are commons apps.
  • Google Drive  
    • Google web apps (Google Drive) are the pioneering products that have pushed the field of technology and placed tools in the hand of everyone! Google Drive allows you to create an unlimited number of word docs, spreadsheets, and presentations. You only need a Google account, and you will have a secure storage to your docs, etc. online.
      • The easy-to-use interface has made this sharing system ideal for all users. You can set the privacy (or "Share" button) to determine who is able to view/edit your docs/spreadsheets, etc.  
  • Pick a tool based on your project's needs and your teams capacities or preferences 
  • Help members set up the tool(s) your team has decided, and if needed, provide them with an into of the features that they will need to use 

  • Delegating Tasks: Organizing tasks, from content development to design and graphics, may be a roadblock that needs to be addressed early on. 
    • There are plenty of task/to-do apps, such as Wunderlist which is a great free task management system.
  • Each member has a different skills--delegate tasks based on people's strengths, and assign tasks/responsibilities accordingly 
  • Engage the team when it comes to execution--people should proofread other's work to cover all perspectives 
  • Let people write about what they are enthusiastic about--even if their writing isn't top notch. Their ideas may be brilliant, and you can always fix the writing style
  • Respect their idea, when you are editing someone's writing, make sure the idea they expressed is preserved
** COMMUNICATE frequently with your teammates. Update them on the overall progress, highlight gaps, and remind them of the responsibilities and deadlines. Praise individual efforts, and encourage members to share their progress, insights and challenges **

Overall, networking and collaboration can be difficult for teams, but with the apps and sites available today, it has become much easier completing tasks and projects in an organized, efficient manner. If you are able to coordinate and cooperate with fellow group members, you should be able to work online to effectively collaborate with your team members.  


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