Types of tools
There are two types of tools used for collaboration; text-based and graphical. These tools differ by the type of content they allow. Text-based tools allow for typing in an open space and sharing the work with multiple collaborators. Graphical tools are similar to word processing software that generates a document with content that can be shared over the web. Some of these collaboration tools are as follows:
-Web conferencing: Web conferencing can be done either through a website or through an application. This allows participants to join a session on the web and have their work shared online with others. [See 1st figure below]
-Desktop sharing: Desktop sharing allows users to share screen content from their Windows PC with others. [See 2nd figure below]
-File transfer tool: File transfer tools allow users to upload files directly from computer to computer, without going through a website. [See 3rd figure below]
-Slide sharing: Slide sharing allows users to show a slide presentation with images and text in a web browser. [See 4th figure below]
-Email: Email is one of the most popular ways to collaborate as it allows for plain text emails that can be sent to one or more recipients. [See 5th figure below]
-Online documentation tools: Online documentation tools allow users to create and maintain documentation on their websites. [See 6th figure below]
-Synchronous chat: Synchronous chat allows for text-based communication between users in real time. This is useful especially for brainstorming sessions. [See 7th figure below]
-Whiteboard: A whiteboard is similar to a dry erase board and allows users to share their input on a project or idea as they write on the whiteboard. [See 8th figure below]
How to choose the right tool for your team
When deciding on which tool to use, you will have to consider the needs of your team. If you are trying to assign new tasks, then a task management tool is most likely what you need. A task management tool is used for keeping track of all your team member’s tasks and deadlines and providing them feedback about their progress. However, if the assignment is more for collaboration and sharing than maintaining order, then a text-based collaboration tool is likely what you need. This type of tool works best when team members are working individually and separately. Let’s take a look at some text-based collaboration tools:
Huddle : a whiteboard-based collaboration tool, perfect for gathering ideas and sharing them. This tool lets you communicate easily with everyone on your team without pulling everyone away from their work.
Expensify : a document management tool that allows you to organize all of your files into certain folders according to the type of task (document, expense report, etc.) that the file was created for. This enables you to keep your files organized in one place.
Basecamp : a project management tool that allows you to create different categories for all of your projects, so that all of the tasks for a certain project are kept in one place. This makes it easy for team members to see the progress of their assigned task in the progress column and see how much of the task has been completed within each category.
Pros and cons of each tool
There are pros and cons of each tool. The following are the pros and cons regarding each tool: Google Docs
PROS: Google Docs can be synced with other devices. It is completely free if you are a college student or professor, and the paper size can be changed easily. It allows for people to work on the document at the same time without having to request changes and wait. Documents can also be input into Language Translator in order to make it easier for other languages to read what is being said in English.
When implementing collaboration tools, it is important to consider how they will be used. The tools that are currently being used should be analyzed to decide if they are meeting the needs of your team. An analysis of the work process can help you determine if a change is needed and what changes need to be made. Make sure you choose collaboration tools that are easy to use and will provide additional benefits to your company. Many collaboration tools can be overwhelming if they are misused. There is not a good reason why these tools should not be making the work process more efficient, so there may need to be training and incentives for user adoption. The products chosen should fit within existing business processes.
Best practices for collaboration
There are many different kinds of team collaboration techniques, and it can be confusing which technique to use. One of the best practices for collaborating is to create a positive work environment using methods such as clear guidelines, good communication and feedback. Employees should be encouraged to share their ideas in an open forum where they can listen to one another’s concerns and then decide what action needs to be taken. By encouraging collaboration, employees will have more work-life balance and a greater sense of team spirit.
Team collaboration techniques
The following are some examples of team collaboration techniques:
• Brainstorming. Employees can meet with one another to discuss possible solutions to problems or potential ideas for a new product. This technique is best for groups of five or fewer.
the various kinds of brainstorming are remote, open-brainstorming, closed-brainstorming, competitive brainstorming and brainwriting. Remote brainstorming is about encouraging the employees by giving them feedback on their ideas by email or telephone. Open-brainstorming is about encouraging employees to share their ideas by having them talk together. Closed-brainstorming is about encouraging employees to share their ideas through meetings in a controlled and confined space. Competitive brainstorming is about encouraging employees to compete with one another. Brainwriting involves writing down each person’s ideas on paper and then discussing them with the group as a whole. The idea is for the group as a whole to select the best answers for action plans.