Managing distributed teams has never been a cakewalk. A manager face scores of concern on a day-to-day basis to ensure uninterrupted operations. Be it communication, project management or CRM, distributed team management has been a challenge for all and always.
This Thanksgiving, we are sharing with you 50+ tools to help you manage your distributed teams. All these tools can facilitate team augmentation will let you focus on strategic concerns rather than operational ones. Celebrate Thanksgiving 2016 with the new toolbox at various stages of your workflow!
Start selecting tools by finding your challenges below:
Which tools can improve distributed team communication?
If you want all your communication at one place, Slack is the perfect option for you. It integrates seamlessly with 280 platforms and tools with a messaging and file-sharing add-on.
Who doesn’t know Skype?! We have all used it one time or another. We have loved it and hated it all our lives. Even then Skype is being used excessively at all levels of the organization for real-time communication. With multiple video chat & multiple screen share it is giving every other conferencing platform a run for their money.
3. Google Hangouts
If you are a Google Fanboy, you would love it because of its seamless integration with all the other awesome toolsets Google provides. Google Hangout offers instant messaging, video chat, SMS, and VOIP features. It enables you to easily communicate with your team. Even if you just want to hang out and chat with your team, go for Google Hangouts.
GoToMeeting makes it easy to connect with people any way you want. It is a free software for a meeting, with video conferencing, screen sharing and conference call features.
Increase your team’s efficiency by collaborating with colleagues, prospects, and clients on the same platform. Anymeeting can help you with this, it connects around 50 members in a team. You can share video, presentations, materials and record minutes of your meetings. You can also organize webinars covering 50 to 2000 attendees.
Yammer enables you to organize all your team communication in one place. It is the single destination for all your messages, files, and updates, where everyone has a view of what’s going on in the team. It is more like Slack minus the desktop version.
Chatter is very similar to Yammer tool, employees on this tool can join the company network without any knowledge or permission. It integrates with google docs, and gadgets and allows users to set up “customer account” and project pages as well as standard groups.
Jive connects your distributed team at one enterprise social platform. What differentiates it with Chatter and Yammer is they both have a limited amount of integration with internal systems as compared to Jive. Jive has acquired a company which enables you to integrate with your office suite of tools through which your employees can look at colleagues social activities on Facebook, Twitter etc.
VoxOx has the ability to include up to 20 people on a conference call and combines video messaging, voice calls, instant messages, SMS, and fax. Calls between VoxOx users are free and for non-users, it costs one cent per minute for U.S. and rates vary for other countries.
A video calling service which does not require any sign-up or installation. You can also run the messaging service on your private server with the option of Talky On-Premises. Participants can also share their screens with the rest of the groups.
It is desktop and mobile phone application, which offers free messaging service with phone calls, video calling, conference calls, instant messages, voice and text messages. Features like “Look Around” help you find other users through geo-location.
Viber is used on smartphones and tablets it enables calls, video chats, texts, image sharing. It supports group calling up to 40 participants. The service is free for Viber users, but Viber charges you for domestic and international lines outside the app.
Group communication has never been so easy to manage, because of Line’s grouping and group moderators. You can move your team to funny mode with the inbuilt Japanese animations.
Fleep is built on three core principles – first, open platform for any user on Fleep, second, to manage projects, third, it is email compatible – means if one is not active on Fleep will receive the mail of your message.
It is the app for desktop, mobile, and web which allow chat, inbox and team collaboration.
Hipchat enhances real-time communication with file sharing, screen sharing, and chat rooms. It is a hosted group chat and video chat platform for teams. File sharing feature is what defines Hipchat.
Keeping your long-term goals in the preview alongside the daily conversations, Jello keeps your team aligned with the bigger picture. One platform for your team members where you can share daily plans, accomplishments, challenges and long-term goals.
With stiff competition from GoToMeeting & AnyMeeting, Zoom has flourished with its latest updates to the platform. One easy-to-use platform Zoom unifies cloud video conferencing, cross-platform group chat and simple online meetings into one easy-to-use platform.
WebEx is great for online meetings and presentations, webinars, town halls, online courses and training, and online presentations.
Collaborate instantly with free screen sharing, unlimited audio, and simple video conferencing.
Which tools can help you manage projects for distributed staff?
We love the Kanban style here at RTCWeb and Trello has played an integral part in our success. Trello helps you manage your project on its user-friendly dashboard, you can create boards to manage your projects with different subtasks and thread within. You can keep check and record of the task assigned and completed by the teams. Leading giants, like Paypal, Adobe and Tumblr use Trello.
This Atlassian tool has come a long way since its inception, one of the better tools in the Atlassian arsenal, Jira helps software development teams plan, track and release software. Using Jira software you can create user stories, plan sprints, and distribute tasks across your software team. Its intuitive dashboard can help you improve real-time team performance, discuss and prioritize your teamwork.
With its latest addition of Kanban boards, Asana is planning a coup on Trello majority. Asana helps you track projects from start to finish. You can track your team’s work and get due results on time. You can cover the entire team progress in one tool.
Project Management in distributed teams never felt so transparent and Confluence has played a bit part in achieving transparency to project management. It gives your entire team access to the ideas, designs, customer insights, requirements and documentation needed to execute your project.
One of the least punishing Project Management tools when your team grows to a higher number. Just like Jason Fried, the user-interface of basecamp is simple & intuitive. Instant chat feature and forum-style messaging enable you to discuss projects and share files. You can share team tasks with to-do list features, and with every task, you can create to-do series and assign a task to every team member.
With its latest introduction of Project Management, Github has moved from one of the major version controls to a swiss-knife combination for project management. From project management perspective it has several workflow tracking components. It is mainly used for project and open source code management by the distributed development team. The development team can use this tool to discuss features, review each other’s code, and push updates on regular basis.
Redbooth is a project management tool as well as a real-time communication platform. There’s a global chat feature enabling long distance video and voice call recordings. The owner can create tasks and deadlines for the projects then augment staff and distribute projects.
28. Pivotal Tracker
Pivotal Tracker simplifies constructive communication, makes priorities clear, and allows the projects to adapt as the project evolves. It is specifically meant for the software projects with shifting priorities and automatically updating the team members.
With the advent of Github’s project management feature, Zenhub has lost its shine with people moving to Github. But with Github project management still buggy Zenhub has a chance to create a mark of its own and come out of Github’s shadow. ZenHub facilitates agile project management that also goes beyond GitHub issue management and is fueled by codebase. ZenHub is also powered by GitHub, where you can trust about always accurate data, providing total visibility into your projects.
Which tools can you use to improve your team’s file sharing?
30. Google Drive
Dropbox’s cousin but with stellar segmentation of products that the team can use. Google Drive is the most convenient option for file sharing with distributed teams. You can share up to 15GB free storage. Automatic saving makes it safe to use, with revision history visible to all users. It comes with four applications enabling live collaboration with more than 50 teammates. Its real-time collaboration feature is just an icing on top of all the feature Google Drive can provide.
In Google Docs, you can edit, create and access your docs from wherever you go, with any device. Each doc enables multiple user edits at the same time. Sprint meetings can be structured using Google Docs where each employee can include their portions beforehand. It can also be integrated with WordPress, exported as a Word Doc.
With its IMPORTXMLs,IMPORTRANGEs & the integration of App Scripts, it feels like Microsoft Excel on steroids. You can use it just the way you use spreadsheet whereinyou can create, edit and share spreadsheets online. It simplifies common spreadsheet tasks like pivot tables, and enable conditional formatting which cut down the user time. All for free. You can import and export between google sheets and excel.
No more font and bullet point exports to your client’s proposal. A hassle-free presentation platform for all your remote presentation needs. You can use google slides to upload your powerpoint docs and export them too!
When getting information from your teammates, there is a risk, everyone might not be on the same page and collecting and using that information has always been a pain. Google Forms easily integrate with other platforms that can help you organize the data collected from the surveys or feedback forms.. At times you can use them, as forms support something sheets can’t. It is the fantastic means for organizing and analyzing information from your teammates.
Aha! The true file sharing platform of all times. If you are thinking of file sharing, you are thinking Dropbox. Dropbox is a great way to share files and folders. Majority of companies prefer dropbox for sharing and storing files,with its awesome enterprise flexible plans. Big giants like News Corp, Yahoo and Under Armour use dropbox. It is considered as the most secured platform for file sharing and storing.
Box simplifies online file storage system it connects teams in the online workspace and replaces FTP. It is a paid tool used for file sharing services which focus more on security. They assure you for the encryption for documents and revoke user permissions at your discretion.
In the paperless world, creating project to-do list is easier with Evernote. It provides a reminder to jot down the information you are looking into. You can make a note for anything you want it to be with this tool. It is accessible wherever you go. You can share it with anyone in the team or the organization using the same tool.
34. One Hub
One Hub proudly declares themselves – “better way to securely store, sync, and share your business files”.
With this tool, one just need to drag and drop files directly into your browser and share multiple files. One Hub can be integrated with google drive this means you can create and edit your google files from inside One Hub, simultaneously collaborating with your teammates.
Which tools can manage CRM within the distributed team?
Salesforce is also considered as the father of all CRMs with Salesforce’s aggressive buying strategy of other complementary platforms to make it “The One & Only”. Salesforce strives to deliver the best and the most complete set of tools for your CRM. A customer success platform that adds up to your office space. It is the revolutionary business app served from the cloud & enabling you to generate & manage leads, get new customers, close deals faster, and sell, service and market smarter. The pricing though is on the higher side, so if your sales team is moving in the bank, we wouldn’t recommend them.
It is the tool to build better customer relationships. Zendesk is a communication tool as well as can be the replacement for your CRM. You can have multiple services with Zendesk features – chat, message, support, help center, talk, connect and explore.
Talk to your customer in real-time with Olark. Olark works with the same software you use and superpowers your CRM. It also reveals who visited your website and what user did. You can copy, paste your chat with no attached text and history.
38. Agile CRM
It is all-in-one, affordable and next generation CRM, you can sell and market with it. It has multiple features which help you in multiple tasks like – Marketing Automation, Helpdesk, Social Media Integration, Web Engagement, Mobile Marketing, Telephony and Email Campaigns.
If you are looking to make your user or team member on-boarding intuitive, Intercom is the tool for you. An inexpensive way to do predictive communication with your users. Intercom helps you to make customer messaging products for sales, marketing, and support, connected on one platform.
This is the only CRM made for google apps. It is made with the vision to eliminate painful data entry and automate time-consuming tasks. It collaborates with all your distributed team and even keeps check on their tasks.
It is the CRM and pipeline management software. It is also one of the leading sales management tool used by small-scale teams. Its task-based methodology keeps the sales team focused on the things which can be controlled and all the actions and habits that drive consistent sales. Another aspect, proven sales methodology allows you to keep focus and check on the close deals.
Convert your Gmail Inbox to a powerful CRM. Streak has transformed from a simple email open tracking to one of the most versatile customer relationship management platform for Gmail. Streak shares contacts, email, files and anything else needed to get the job done. You can manage your deals, support queue inside Gmail and replace multiple external systems with the streak.
Which tools can manage time zone differences of your distributed team?
43. Every Time Zone
This tool gives you a cross section of 14 zones. It has a bar indicating local time which can be moved across the threshold of time zones to display corresponding times. Members of the team may get confused sometimes, but this tool simplifies complicated chart formats.
44. The Time Zone Converter
This tool enables you with one-to-one time conversions between cities. The 24-hour clock option saves time and a step when working with foreign nationals, who are very particular for military time.
45. The Time Now
You can figure out which times work for the scheduled meeting with this tool, by adding up to 5 locations by city. All the hours are indicated by different colors which show the date and time selected is current, or past, it is during working hours, non-working hours, sleeping hours etc.
46. World Time Buddy
This is the all in one package for those who have a lot of time issues with their remote or distributed team. It is the combination of a time zone converter and an online meeting scheduler.
47. 24 TimeZones
It is world time clock and map which checks current local time around the world.
Miranda is the tool based on iOS platform, which helps you to find time to schedule meetings across different time zones. It helps you to schedule meetings and share via email.
You can rewind time across selected cities using this tool. This is the most favorite tool for mac users. You can use this tool for last minute inquiries of task completion and employees work status – what’s, when and where.
Which tools can keep track of the time of your distributed team?
It is the combination of project management tool and software to track remote employees productivity. Employees can choose their project and task with the estimated time on the program, which in turn keeps automatically updating weekly time sheets, and take snapshots to check if the employees are truly on the same task.
This encourages proper time management and track time. This tool has unlimited project and client space, you can add as per your requirement. You can share time reports, form groups, add subgroups and color code each project you are working.
The primary vision of the tool is to manage multiple remote teams time but it has some project management features too. It helps employees to avoid going over budget with online/offline indicators, budgets and time limits used.
MyHours is convenient for agile team oversight. It enables free time tracking for your projects and tasks. You can start or stop the timer with a single click, if you want to switch timings between tasks in seconds or, just as important, pause for a coffee break you can use it.
This software is mainly to track team progress, everybody in the team checks in daily either via app or browser. It keeps track on what’s done, what’s getting done and what’s not completed. It is used by Reddit, Buffer, and TripAdvisor.
Leveraging technology for team management can help expand the vision and manage operations at a workplace. These tools can take transform the task of managing distributed employees to a constructive team building exercise.
This Thanksgiving reach out to those who are valued the most in your organization. Let your team know that you are sincerely thankful to them. After all, teams can make a huge difference to the business. I’m sure you’ll admit.
Yet to try the tools? Go ahead they’re worth it.