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7 Productivity Tools for Teams That You’ve Never Heard Of

Productivity Tools for Teams

I can’t be the only one who thinks that with better productivity tools for teams, we’d be more… productive. I want to spend more time doing what matters, and that means less time worrying about tools to do the work.

Today I present to you 7 productivity tools for teams that you’ve never heard of (maybe – there are two on the list that you might have come across, but I couldn’t leave them out).

These are all suitable for professional teams and will help you get more organised, stay focused and do more of the tasks that make a difference.

Want a get a free guide to help you choose the best project management software for your team? Scroll to the bottom and enter your email to receive the guide.

1. Process Street

Process Street is brilliant. It’s a way of systemising repetitive tasks. If you have procedures to do regularly (and you will if you’re in a PMO or you’re managing change requests, or doing pretty much anything to do with projects) or have checklists, then Process Street will help. Plus, it’s free. There is a paid plan if you need more workflows, but you can decide on that once you’ve tested it out.

Basically, you create your checklist, share with the team, and then you can reuse the same list of tasks over and over again. You can track progress and collaborate with your team. Which is an excellent way of making sure people follow the project management processes you have set out, and checking they are actually using them.

Soon I will do a tutorial on how to use Process Street because I think it has the potential to be game-changing for small teams.

Get a free Process Street account

2. MindManager

These days I’m doing a lot less technical project management and a lot more business-led project management and change management. So we spend a fair amount of time working out solutions to problems, process re-engineering and all that.

I used to think mindmapping was just for creating my study notes for exams, but in the workplace I’ve discovered it’s far more feature-rich than that.

 

As well as the ‘classic’ brain dump, you can plot out flow diagrams, create work breakdown structures, process maps and more.

MindManager 2018 is easy to use. It even does lists, so brains like mine that don’t work very well with pictures can take advantage of it too. It’s a fast way to collaborate in workshops as it acts like a whiteboard for note capture, plus you can save time writing up the meeting afterwards! The Enterprise version integrates with Microsoft Project and lets your team work together for better productivity.

Get a free 30-day trial of MindManager 2018.

3. Doodle

Doodle logoHow hard is it for you to set up meetings? I waste so much time calling round everyone (or their PAs) and finding out who can do what time. When I found Doodle it suddenly became easier to set meetings up. I have even used it for social gatherings, because then everyone can click what night they are free for dinner.

Doodle integrates with your calendar, has a mobile app and it’s free. There is a paid plan if you want to make it look a bit more professional, but it’s not expensive if you think of the time savings you’ll make from not having to make so many chase calls. Frankly, my time is worth it.

Get a free Doodle account.

4. MinuteDock

If your team tracks time for clients, it’s worth checking out MinuteDock. It uses natural language input so you don’t have to search for a particular task. I particularly like that it doesn’t force you to assign work to a client or project. It has always frustrated me that when I do things like help out a colleague in the PMO, attend a project managers’ meeting or prepare for my end of year review, timesheet packages try to get me to book that time to a project. Or I have to create a project called ‘Admin’ which is silly.

The less time you spend on time tracking, the more productive you are. Plus, if you bill clients for your project work, it can integrate with your invoicing system.

Get a free 14-day trial of MinuteDock.

5. Focuster

I met with a mentoring client recently and one of her main issues was spending so much time in meetings that she didn’t have enough time to do her actual work.

I know what that is like, and my solution, when it was really bad for me, was to block time in my diary to do work.

Focuster does that for you, based on what’s on your To Do list. It automatically blocks time in your diary to do your tasks. This would be great for teams where you know that as a group you struggle to focus on your priorities because of ALL THE THINGS. Get everyone using this and I can see that you’d up your productivity.

What I really love about it is the prompt you get when you’ve overloaded your schedule, so that you can reorganise your day. Not that I ever do that, of course 🙂

Get a free 14-day trial of Focuster.

6. Yanado

Yanado is a Chrome extension. It’s a gmail add-on that lets you turn emails into tasks and manage your To Do list from your gmail inbox. I know not every business user has a gmail account, but with small businesses it seems to be getting more common that the backend email system is gmail through G Suite – so your email address is me@mycompany.com but it’s powered by gmail.

If that sounds like you, this could work well for decreasing the amount of tools you need. The interface is very similar to gmail, so you don’t have to learn a new tool. If you can overlook the imperfect English on the website (the team is Bulgarian) this is a solid solution for managing straightforward tasks and projects.

You need the Startup plan for team collaboration, but you can get a feel for what it is like with a free account.

7. Dropbox

Dropbox used to fly under the radar but I think most people have heard of it now. It was a crucial for many companies dealing with GDPR in 2018, because (last time I checked) the personal account didn’t give you the protection required for GDPR compliance. The paid plans provide more assurances, and for once I was grateful to be paying money for something.

I use Dropbox every day. If you haven’t switched to it for your business use, it’s a great time to do so. It’s so much more intuitive than Google Drive in my opinion.

I don’t know where I would be without Dropbox.

Actually, I do know – having a nightmare time trying to use Google Docs, which I am having to use for a client at the moment and let’s just say it’s not my idea of fun.

If your team need secure storage, easy access to shared files and something that is natively easy to use, then Dropbox is perfect. I also love that it lets me work offline so even when the internet is flaky I can still access my files.

Get 500Mb of bonus space when you sign up.

How Do I Choose A Productivity Tool for Teams?

So many tools! How do you choose? Here are a few questions to ask yourself to get the right tool for your team.

Where is it hosted?

Cloud tools are good if your team is virtual or travels a lot, but you might want to consider the information security requirements, especially if you plan to share confidential information. No one expects their data to be hacked, but if that would present a serious business risk to you, on-premise solutions like MindManager may be more suited to your environment.

What features will I use?

It doesn’t make sense to pay for features that you aren’t going to use – although if the tool is stellar and you can definitely see the benefit, that could be a trade-off you are prepared to make.

What does it integrate with?

MindManager integrates with Dropbox, SharePoint and more. MinuteDock integrates with Xero, Freshbooks and others. If you have lots of other tools in your business, make sure that you are choosing something that will work with the rest of your tech stack.

Need more advice about choosing the right tool for your team? Here are some real-life tips for choosing collaboration tools and here’s my 5-step Guide to Choosing Collaboration Tools.

This post was made possible with the collaboration of MindManager.

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7 best productivity tools for teams to help you get more done and stay organised

About Elizabeth Harrin

Elizabeth HarrinElizabeth Harrin FAPM is a professional project manager and award-winning blogger behind A Girl's Guide To Project Management. She's passionate about demystifying project management and making tools and techniques work in the real world. She's also the author of several books including the PMI bestseller, Collaboration Tools for Project Managers.
Elizabeth lives in the UK with her family. She uses her organisation and project management skills at home, and also to help other bloggers at Totally Organised Blogging.

Comments

  1. Kyle says

    12 November, 2018 at 12:18 am

    Thank you for a very informative article. Anyway, have heard about Proggio? It’s a great project management tool and it’s very easy to use.

  2. Nika says

    7 November, 2017 at 10:11 am

    First of all, thanks for the interesting list. Also I bet you’ve never heard of a tool called Deskun., though I’d suggest taking a look. It’s working entirely within Gmail, is super simple and helps to organize email workflow, manage tasks, create to-do lists and so on. Check out https://deskun.com

  3. Niall Sullivan says

    26 October, 2017 at 10:20 am

    “Cloud tools are good if your team is virtual or travels a lot, but you might want to consider the information security requirements, especially if you plan to share confidential information. No one expects their data to be hacked, but if that would present a serious business risk to you, on-premise solutions like MindManager may be more suited to your environment.”

    I have to disagree with this statement. Unfortunately, there are still negative connotations around cloud security.

    Lots of cloud-hosted tools have rigorous processes in place to ensure that their software is secure.

    If they’re working with government organisations in particular, they will be required to meet the 14 Cloud Security Principles as defined by the National Cyber Security Centre (https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/guidance/implementing-cloud-security-principles)

    In order to meet these principles and to ensure a high level of security, a number of processes are put in place which includes:

    • ISO 27001 processes being inspected on an annual basis by an auditor from a UKAS accredited organisation.
    • Annual IT Health Checks by a CHECK accredited testing partner.
    • Cyber security being tested via the Cyber Essentials Plus scheme, to prevent Internet-originated attacks against IT systems.

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