5 Powerful Workflow and Collaboration Tools for Designers

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Design teams consist of diverse individuals possessing diverse sets of skills. This diversity of people and skills, which can contribute to a team’s strength, can just as easily undermine the chances of a team’s success.

A team leader’s job is to harness the talents of these diverse individuals. And, recognizing that a good team is greater than the sum of its parts, get everyone on the same page and working toward a common aim.

Another challenge team leaders face is to encourage collaboration within the team. Individual team members often lack collaboration skills. This is one area in which the judicious choice of a project management tool can be most helpful.

Even when excellent tools are readily available, team leaders need to adhere to the following to ensure success:

1)    Role clarification. Team member’s roles must constantly be clarified to avoid confusion, oversights, and duplication of effort.

2)    Team member responsibilities.  Responsibilities must be explicitly stated, an should be assigned to individuals; assigning responsibilities to groups or to the entire team will seldom work.

3)    Decision-making responsibilities – Identify which individuals are responsible for making which decisions. When groups are involved, the mechanism for reaching a decision needs to be spelled out.

4)    Reviewing project goals – Goals and objectives must constantly be reviewed and reinforced. If this is not done, teams and team members will tend to lose focus.

5)    Using the right tools. Using specific tools to carry out specific functions is the the most efficient, effective, and productive approach.

These 5 tools provide solutions for a range of project planning and project management tasks. And each supports and encourages team collaboration.

Wake

1

            Wake, is a tool that allows designers to share their work without interrupting the workflow. You can share sketches, screenshots, or other assets with team members or clients and get feedback on the spot.

If you have designs in your notebook or on your whiteboard you want to publish, Wake’s iPhone app lets you snap a photo and send it off in seconds. The app allows you to stay up-to-date on project happenings and provide quick feedback from anywhere.

This ability to share information without interrupting workflow makes the entire design process more transparent for your entire team, even those outside of design. With Wake, information can be shared publicly, so everyone knows what everyone is working on; or shared privately with selected individuals or stakeholders.

To see if Wake offers the solution you’re looking for, simply sign up for a 30-day free trial.

InVision

2

Assigning different tools to manage different tasks sometimes makes sense. Managing several project-related tasks from a single platform, as is the case with InVision, makes even more sense, and is a much more efficient approach.

You can easily manage your prototyping, project management, and collaboration activities from the same platform. This will have a positive effect on your team’s productivity. InVision makes prototyping quick and easy. Select and upload a static design file, add animation, gestures, etc., and in about 5 minutes you’ll have a high-fidelity, interactive prototype ready for user testing or for sharing with others.

PayPal, Sony, Cisco, LinkedIn, and other large companies are among InVision’s 2 million-plus customers, along with startups, design agencies, and freelancers. Sign up for a free trial today. By doing so, you can work with a single prototype as long as you wish, while you check out this powerful tool’s capabilities.

Active Collab

3

If you spend too much time on project administration, Active Collab is the perfect solution for you. With this project management tool, you can quickly review everything you’re working on, track project status, schedule tasks and milestones, and prepare invoices and estimates.

Active Collab lets you organize your to-dos, collaborate with your team, and keep your business running smoothly. This app runs on the cloud so you can sign-up and be up and running within a couple of minutes, no setup required. For a one-time fee, you can also host Active Collab on your own server. Either way, first create a free 30-day trial and then decide what option works best for you.

Over 200,000 people use Active Collab, ranging from freelancers and startups to design agencies and major corporations.

Paymo

4

            Paymo offers just the solution you’ve been looking for if you need a tool that makes project management as easy as can be. Paymo is designed for teams working for small to mid-size businesses. Its visual Kanban boards and Gantt charts, which can be customized to fit your workflow, helps you schedule your tasks in logical, sequential steps.

The Paymo app’s dashboard provides a snapshot of your workflows and project status, of the time spent with on your work and with your clients, along with project financial information. You’ll also find Paymo’s real-time collaboration feature to be a huge time saver.

Pinnery

5

            Pinnery addresses the first step necessary to successfully complete a project; project planning activity. Using this app is a little like pinning notes on a board. You start by placing ideas in one color-coded column. When an idea is worth pursuing, it is placed in the next column, and so on, until you have an ordered list of project tasks.

Pinnery keeps everything organized, and shares everything with all parties involved; while facilitating collaboration among team members. No installation is needed on your part, and you can start using Pinnery for free.

Conclusion

Whether you’re in need of an app like InVision that manages multiple project tasks from a single platform. An app like Wake,that allows you to share information without disrupting a design session. Or one that specializes in task management or project planning, you’ll find it here. Each of these five tools facilitates and encourages team collaboration.

Most of, although not all these tools, are suitable for use by individual designers as well as project managers or design teams. Each offers a free trial period. The best way to determine if your pick has all the features and functions you’re looking for. These apps have all the advantages of being online, and each is worth a close look.

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