Collaboration tools save you time and help you work more productively as a team – but which one is right for you? This blog post outlines 9 of the best tools to keep your team connected and your workflows flowing.
From messaging apps to project management tools, collaboration software brings teams together. According to a survey by Gartner, nearly 80% of workers are using collaboration tools for work in 2021. Why? Because better collaboration means better results.
So, which one do you choose? It’s rare that one tool will take care of all of your team’s collaboration needs. That’s why we’ve selected our top tools for a range of collaboration styles – so simply find the area you want to collaborate in, and go straight there!.
- Best Collaboration Tools for Task and Project Management
- Best Collaboration Tools for Documentation
- Best Collaboration Tools for Messaging
- Best Collaboration Tools for Brainstorming
Collaboration Tools for Task Management: How Do They Help?
To collaborate effectively, your team needs to know what is happening, when – as well as how their work fits into the bigger picture. They also need to be able to access, share and update the tasks they are working on in one place. A task management system makes this possible. With greater structure and transparency in their work, your team can move away from siloed working and collaborate successfully.
#1. Best Team Collaboration Software for Task and Project Management: MeisterTask
No team collaboration software will help you if no one uses it – so you need to keep things simple. MeisterTask is easy to use, which means everyone on your team can get started right away, then collaborate effectively into the long term.
How Does MeisterTask Help Your Team Collaborate?
The key benefit is clarity. With MeisterTask’s Kanban board structure, everyone knows who is working on what – without having to ask. For example, team members can see when a task is due, so they know when to expect work to be completed. This leads to smoother workflows and less “following up”.
MeisterTask works well in small and large teams. It’s easy to build task relations that show how work connects. Your team can recognize dependencies and identify roadblocks before they turn into problems. On a more granular level, mentions and notifications keep communication flowing and ensure everyone is on the same page. This means you can collaborate where the action happens, rather than in meetings and emails, where information gets lost.
Trello is a lightweight task management tool ideal for managing and collaborating on daily tasks. It’s accessible, easy to use and affordable – which makes it a popular choice for smaller teams.
How Does Trello Help Your Team Collaborate?
Trello users praise its simplicity, especially for collaboration. Like MeisterTask (and basically all task management tools), you can add assignees and deadlines to tasks so that everyone has an overview of what needs to be done, by who, and when. This keeps everyone on the same page, providing that your projects aren’t all that complex, and you don’t have that many of them.
That’s because Trello is missing functionalities needed for collaborating on larger projects. For example, the lack of task connections make it hard to see the bigger picture when collaborating with other teams. If it doesn’t bother you… go ahead and check out the pricing.
Asana has all the collaboration features you would expect from a task management tool – and then some. Many of these are designed for cross-departmental collaboration on more complex projects, which makes it a popular choice for large teams.
How Does Asana Help Your Team Collaborate?
Asana’s Workflow Builder takes a lot of stress out of team collaboration. Some actions are automated and responsibilities are clear. For teams that work to briefs, Asana’s custom request forms also help make working together more consistent, which reduces the need for meetings between teams and generally leads to a better end result.
Although there are benefits to using Asana for collaboration, the learning curve is steep. Keep this in mind if you want a tool your team can start using straight away.
Still searching? We’ve put together a list of the best task and project management tools based on your team size, budget, and the complexity of your projects.
Collaboration Tools for Documentation: How Do They Help?
Have you ever wasted a day working with the wrong information? Or had to explain the same thing 20 times to 20 different people. Both can be filed neatly in the drawer of “bad collaboration” – because they’re totally avoidable.
With a collaborative documentation tool, you can collect, organize and edit information centrally. This increases transparency and avoids confusion in your team. Better still, everyone saves a bit of time that can actually be used for productive work. A cloud-based tool can be accessed by your team at any time, from anywhere, which means your team can collaborate asynchronously, with nothing slowing them down.
#4. Best Team Collaboration Software for Documentation: MeisterNote
As we discovered in the section above…complexity makes collaboration tough. Actually being able to find information is probably the biggest reason to choose one documentation tool over another… so it pays to keep things simple. As well as making it easy to use in the long term, a focus on simplicity means onboarding to MeisterNote is minimal. Once information and communication is centralized in MeisterNote, your team spends less time searching through email chains or stuck in meetings. The result? Fast, easy collaboration.
How Does MeisterNote Help Your Team Collaborate?
Structure, structure, structure. A hierarchy of Notes and Pages make it easy for your team to find the information they need to collaborate smoothly. As such, they spend less time asking questions, and more time collaborating. You can also streamline communication in your team with discussion threads. Note watchers are updated whenever a comment is added, so everyone who needs to know, knows.
MeisterNote integrates with MeisterTask to connect projects and documentation. As such, collaboration is easier, because people can actually see the bigger picture to what they’re working on.
Smoother Workflows. Better Collaboration.
Discover the MeisterTask-MeisterNote Integration.Learn more
#5. Google Workspace
Google Workspace has long been the go-to software for collaborative working. Google Docs, which is part of Google Workspace, is an easy-to-use documentation tool.
How Does Google Workspace Help Your Team Collaborate?
Many businesses already use Workspace for tools like Gmail, Drive and Calendar. However, Docs is a useful tool in and of itself. You can propose suggestions in your Google Doc without editing or deleting information. This leaves room for discussion and healthy debate in the collaboration process. Once changes are made to a document, you can review or revert them in Version History. This means your team can collaborate freely without worrying about losing important information.
On the flip side, keeping documents organized in Google Drive requires effort. Folders can easily become cluttered and documents can end up in the wrong place. Make sure your team knows where to find what they need by establishing a folder structure everyone sticks to. A regular audit of your folders won’t hurt either.
Collaboration Tools for Messaging: How Do They Help?
Communication is the key to collaboration. Although most businesses still rely on emails and meetings to discuss topics, a messaging tool is ideal for dealing with short questions and chats in a familiar, instant-chat-style format. Although it takes work to do it correctly, they can make collaboration fast, simple and fun.
Messaging tools generally integrate with the other software you use to keep notifications in a central place – as well as to facilitate discussions in your team. This helps team collaboration on both fronts: both in maintaining an overview and easing communication stress. There are only two serious contenders in this category, and you probably already know them:
#6. Best Team Collaboration Tool for Messaging: Slack
For quick and easy team communication, Slack takes the crown. Its workspaces house channels for every project, topic, or team to keep collaboration organized, focused and transparent.
How Does Slack Help Your Team Collaborate?
Slack provides a central location for sharing messages, making calls and sharing files – all of which makes collaboration faster and smoother. Overload can be an issue in Slack, so If message notifications get distracting, simply pause them or set up a custom notification schedule.
With the MeisterTask-Slack integration, you can receive Slack notifications for task updates, send Slack channel messages when new tasks are completed, and more. Learn how to set it up.
However, there is a down-side. Important information tends to get lost in Slack, and it’s tough to keep an overview of every conversation. This is why you shouldn’t rely entirely on Slack for team communication. Keep project-related conversations in your project management tool, and share strategic information via your collaborative documentation tool instead.
#7. Microsoft Teams
Microsoft Teams is popular with big teams due its integrated collaboration features and customizability.
How Does MS Teams Help Your Team Collaborate?
A lot of teams like how MS Teams supports multiple ways of collaborating. With integrated Office 365 applications, information sharing is connected and streamlined within one tool. Teams can chat, call, edit documents and create presentations in real-time for faster, easier collaboration.
The MS Teams chat function is easy to navigate so conversations can flow freely, and features like private teams and channels let you share sensitive information securely. You can also set permissions on a channel-level to control who can start new posts and reply to them.
With the MeisterTask-Microsoft Teams integration, you can display and manage project boards without ever leaving Microsoft Teams. Find out more.
Collaboration Tools for Brainstorming: How Do They Help?
Very few business-changing ideas ever come from one person alone. Ideation is a group process, and collaborative brainstorming is a tried and trusted way to generate ideas, explore new perspectives, and build team engagement. Mind mapping and whiteboarding tools are both geared to help you collaborate visually, which is why most have features with this in mind.
#8. Best Team Collaboration Software for Brainstorming: MindMeister
If you want to brainstorm using mind maps, MindMeister is your new best friend. By harnessing the power of mind maps in an easy, colorful interface, your team could get a whole lot more creative in their collaborative ideation sessions.
How Does MindMeister Help Your Team Collaborate?
Brainstorms can get messy, so you’ll need a tool that makes you look like a professional designer… even if you aren’t. MindMeister is perfect for teams who aren’t used to working with visual tools, which opens up the collaboration process to everyone. Ready-to-use templates make it even easier to structure and explore ideas visually.
In MindMeister, everyone can contribute their ideas simultaneously, wherever they are – so you don’t actually need a big “brainstorm meeting” to spark collaboration (although you can if you like). When it comes to refining the ideas in your brainstorms, the collaborative features in MindMeister make it easy to share feedback and suggestions in a structured and centralized way.
Miro is known for its whiteboard features, but you can use it for mind mapping too. Instead of a mind map structure, a whiteboard is a more free-form way to explore ideas with a team.
How Does Miro Help Your Team Collaborate?
Brainstorming in Miro is much the same as MindMeister, just with a whiteboard instead of a mind map. Your team can collaborate in real time on shared boards to develop and discuss ideas.
When it comes to collaborating, Miro’s Movable Sticky Notes make it easy for your team to comment on each other’s work. These Notes can then be sorted into clusters for a structured overview of feedback. Ideas can also be prioritized easily with Miro’s voting tool, so everyone on the team gets a say. As a result, decision making is more inclusive and collaborative.
One down side to Miro is that it’s crowded with features, which can make it harder for less tech-savvy teams to use.
Ready. Set. Collaborate!
Collaboration can include a range of processes, from planning to ideation to daily communication. All the tools listed here can make it easier, faster, and more productive. Hopefully you’ve now got a good idea which ones will work best for you and your team. Why not mix and match your tools to suit your needs and take your teamwork to the next level? When you have the right collaboration tools in place, you’re one step closer to achieving great results.
What Should I Look for When Choosing Team Collaboration Software?
The tools you choose will depend on the needs of your team, but as a general rule, you want your collaboration tools to be:
- Safe and secure
- Easy to use
- Easily accessible for the whole team from anywhere, at any time.
Which Team Collaboration Tools Are Best for Task and Project Management?
When deciding which project or task management tool you use, consider the size of your team and the complexity of your projects. If your workflows involve multiple steps and stakeholders, you might need advanced project management software. However, for daily task management, simple is better. With MeisterTask, you can:
- See and manage tasks with ease.
- Work more transparently as a team.
- Get more done with less effort.
Which Team Collaboration Tools Are Best for Brainstorming?
MindMeister has everything you need for brainstorming as a team. Collaborate on mind maps in real time or asynchronously to generate innovative ideas, find solutions, and plan your next steps. You can:
- Format your map to bring structure to your thoughts and display them visually.
- Add new topics to your map and build connections between your ideas.
- Discuss ideas, ask questions and gather feedback from your team using comments and mentions.
- Quickly and easily present your team’s ideas to other stakeholders or management using MindMeister presentations.