Providing the right collaborative visualization tools for your team can make all the difference when it comes to maintaining alignment, boosting team engagement and driving business growth. But as you look for the appropriate tools, the amount of options at your fingertips can feel overwhelming.
In today’s business environment, teams are not necessarily required to work in a single location. Rather, many of them are scattered all over the world. This modern working environment has impacted corporate activities, for better and for worse.
On the one hand, employees are trusted with sharing responsibilities and making decisions across different locations. On the other hand, one such activity which managers find increasingly difficult to manage is collaborative projects.
All employees, whether working remotely or in the office, must work cohesively towards a common goal, and this calls for the introduction of collaborative work management tools.
These solutions used advanced communication and management technologies to enhance team collaboration inside and outside the organization. In most cases, these products are considered key to innovation, productivity, accountability and excellent customer service.
Whether you are collaborating on a single project with a small group of individuals, or scheduling a full roster of collaborative projects, you can always find affordable off-the-shelf solutions that meet your needs while also keeping your project on track.
Look for software that enables collaboration among your team without creating additional work in the process. When it comes to choosing your tech stack, prioritize quality over quantity.
You are better off having fewer tools and using them to their full potential, than using too many tools for the sake of it. The first option will also save you money in the long run.
Why do you need collaborative tools?
Think of collaborative digital tools as a digital home for all of your team’s work, from which you can manage and track projects and tasks, communicate in one place and streamline all relevant processes.
Technology will not solve your team’s problems single-handedly. The key is to choose and implement productive collaboration tools which meet a need. Once you know how to do this, you and your team will enjoy the following benefits:
- Centralized communication: consolidate everything, from status updates to questions, in one place, instead of scattered across endless conversations via email, instant messages, meeting summaries and other formats;
- Greater transparency: once conversations and project work are centralized, the entire team can get the information they need right away;
- Greater accountability: in general, collaboration tools include task assignments, deadlines, and even notifications about upcoming due dates, which promotes a greater sense of accountability;
- Easy access: as hybrid working models become more prevalent, collaborative tools allows team members to get the information and materials they need from wherever they are, without having to email files to each other or ask their colleagues for help;
- Better productivity: all of the benefits listed above lead to better results and efficiency. Outdated technology has a negative impact on productivity, and the right communication and collaboration tools will empower your team to work as productively as possible.
The top collaborative visualization tools
There are many collaborative work management tools available; we’ve compiled the top five below, for your perusal:
1 – Flowchart Maker: you may wish to make a flowchart to simplify your workflows and daily routines, checking off the essential steps in each process in a visually intuitive fashion. You can develop a visual guide to any process, with different symbols and shapes to describe each step;
2 – Mind Map Maker: collaborative mind mapping gives structure to your team’s ideas and shares them with coworkers. It is a quick and easy way to capture, organize and map out collaborative ideas and suggestions;
3 – Team Meeting Agenda: this tool lets you add a schedule and structure to your allocated time when you need to share information and collaborate with your team, keep your team meetings on track and on-topic, make decisions, align on priorities and more;
4 – Idea Funnel Backlog: this tool can help you to prioritize a list of features, bugs, technical work and knowledge building with your team, making your service more functional and less complicated. It allows you to convert the ideas of your team into a product backlog, informing planned feature implementations;
5 – User flow template: this step-by-step visual mapping process outlines what a user needs to do to finish a task or complete a goal. As a visual tool, it can help to interpret the quality or experience of the path chosen by its users;
6 – Strategy Diamond: this tool compiles the five elements forming a coherent business strategy, and helps you their elements in a helpful framework;
7 – Strategy Map Template: this tool visualizes the way in which multiple elements work together, including customer, financial, internal and growth perspectives. It helps you communicate your business goals to better align teams and managers;
8 – Decision Tree Diagram: this tool acts as a flowchart for walking through all possible choices and their outcomes, before committing to a decision. Symbols represent the choices available for each decision.
What to look for when choosing the collaborative visualization tools
Finding the right collaborative tool for your team can result in all kinds of benefits. But what exactly makes it the “right” tool? Make sure to look for the following items when assessing your options, to pick an online collaboration tool that makes your team’s work easier, rather than more frustrating.
1 – Personalization
Each team has its own way of working, which means that there is no solution that will work perfectly for everyone. That’s why it is important to look for a collaboration tool that is customizable—not just for the team as a whole, but for individual team members.
For example, one employee might prefer to see tasks in a calendar view, while another team member works best with spreadsheets. Maybe you need different access levels for different team members.
Look for a tool that is highly customizable so that the team can use it in the way that works best for them. Heightened customization will help you get the most out of the solution and avoid confusion.
2 – Automations
In an ideal world, your team would dedicate most of its time and energy to problem solving, brainstorming ideas and exceeding goals. In reality, however, meaningless tasks often monopolize our working hours.
The good news is that collaboration tools with workflow automations can eliminate these repetitive tasks.
From creating a project schedule as soon as someone fills out a form, to triggering a team email once a task is crossed off the list, these actions cut down on repetitive work, reduce the potential for mistakes, and keep the entire team moving forwards.
3 – Security
Security should be at the top of the list of essential features, especially in industries that frequently handle sensitive information. Even if that’s not the case for your team, you want to be sure that your goals, projects, and future plans won’t get hacked, compromised, or leaked into the wrong hands.
Do your research, read reviews and ask questions about the security measures in place. While no collaborative tool is completely bulletproof, due diligence will help you find a system that provides a little confidence and peace of mind.
4 – Ease of use
If you really want your employees to embrace collaborative tools, they must be easy to use. All new software requires a learning curve, but you can ease this burden by looking for tools that are as intuitive and easy to use as possible.
Having the right technology at your disposal can increase transparency, centralize communication and make collaboration much easier.
We know that working remotely can be a challenge for any team – and collaborating remotely can be even more of a challenge. However, with the right collaborative visualization tools and processes in place, you should be able to foster better communication and teamwork throughout your organization, regardless of location.