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.
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.
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.
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.
How 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.
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.
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 🙂
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 email@example.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.
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.
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.
This post was made possible with the collaboration of MindManager.
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