With the right project management software this inefficient way of doing things is no longer necessary. Project managers can easily assign tasks, see what their co-workers are doing, share files in one place, and give updates in a way that ensures nothing falls between the cracks.
Project management software can carry out a lot of functions, such as time and resource management, creating reports and analyses on project efficiency, and giving a bird’s eye view of how a single project or multiple projects fit together. However, no function is as important as those that aid team communication, transparency and collaboration, in which some project management tools excel more than others.
What Makes for Good Team Collaboration?
Not every team has the same needs, and a major factor in determining which project management software is best for you is simply how much you like the look and feel of the interface. This is why it’s strongly recommended to sign up for a free trial before committing to a particular tool. You may even want to try more than one app. That being said, it helps to know what to look for when judging which software has the best team collaboration tools. Here is a quick rundown of some key features you should look out for.
- Ease of Collaboration
An intuitive and easy-to-use tool is essential for getting your employees to change their existing work processes. It’s unlikely that employees are going to stop using email and switch to communicating through a project management tool overnight. The simpler the tool, the quicker they will be to make the transition, and in no time they’ll see how much more efficient collaboration can be. Email notifications is a key feature that can aid the transition process—by simply mentioning a co-worker with the @ symbol followed by their name, they will be notified by email that they have been assigned a task, or are relevant to a particular update.
When a new task comes up and you just know that you’ve dealt with something similar in the past, it’s worth it to look back and find it. The problem is that your email client has limited search capabilities and you can’t always find what you’re looking for. Therefore, the search capabilities in your project management system should be much better. Not only should you be able to search your past correspondence and files shared, but you can also see what the other people in your company have had to say on the subject. In this way, you’ll have access to all of your company’s organizational knowledge. Furthermore, you’ll likely want a tool that allows you to easily search entries by employee, due date, department, and a range of other parameters.
- Integrations with Existing Collaboration Tools
Implementing a project management software does not mean that you have to cease to use other team collaboration tools, such as Gmail, Google Drive, Google Calendar, Slack, Excel, Trello, Dropbox or Jira. Not all teams in an organization use the same tool.
If there is a department that communicates with you through Slack, for example, you’re going to want to be able to easily translate those Slack messages into actionable tasks on your project management platform. Or if you use Jira to report bugs, you want to be able to connect that information to your project management tool and make sure that if you make a change on one platform, it automatically gets updated on the other platform.
Not all of these integrations are relevant for every company, but a key integration that every business can benefit from is with the Google calendar or other calendar. Being able to see due dates from your project management platform on your calendar can help you stay super organized and on top of things.
- Live Chat Function
If your operation depends on instant feedback and quick solutions through free-flowing conversations, then a project management tool with a chat function should be a priority. Such chats can be one-on-one or in a group setting. This may be most suitable for teams located in geographically diverse locations that have to work together—though plenty of teams sitting in the same room use chat nonstop these days, too. You can use a seperate chat client, such as Google Hangouts, but having your conversations archived and searchable on your project management platform can be a major plus.
- Apps for Mobile Collaboration
Most top project management software include apps for both iPhone and Android. This is essential in today’s world of taking work outside of the office. Of course, the same expansive boards that are displayed in such a visually pleasing way on your desktop computer, cannot be displayed identically on your small cell phone screen. Still, if you tend to work on your phone a lot while abroad or in transit, you are going to want to know that you can communicate with your team comfortably on the project management app that you choose. It is strongly recommended to check out a software’s apps as well as its desktop view when you take it for a free trial spin.
Communicating with other team members is not the only component of team collaboration— the ability to share text, photo and video files is equally important in project management. How much storage space your project management software gives you should be a major consideration for you when you’re choosing a tool. Most of the top project management software gives you more storage space the higher the pricing tier you choose. Keep in mind that you’re likely to need more storage space if you tend to work with a lot of video files.
The Top 5 Project Management Tools for Team Collaboration:
- Best for dynamic and expanding companies
- Modern and sleek design
- 14-day free trial
Monday.com is a full-featured project management software that almost checks all of the boxes you're looking for in a team collaboration tool. The one downside is that it doesn't feature a live chat function, but it does integrate with Slack, which is a big plus for teams that already use that platform.
Monday is highly intuitive and easy to implement, with an attractive interface that is as simple to update and customize as an Excel spreadsheet. In addition to the Slack integration, it also integrates with most of your Google suite, as well as Dropbox. Monday.com is ideal for assigning tasks, sharing files, making sure key stakeholders are emailed about project developments, and getting an overview of workload and project status.
- Best for teams with ongoing tasks
- Highly customizable
- Basic free version for individuals and small teams
Asana does not have the array of project management features that Monday.com boasts, but it is great for task management and team collaboration. It features a free version for small teams that need simple workflow management, as well as more advanced premium plans. Asana’s plans do not have a total maximum file storage amount, but it does have a per file limit of 100MB. This means that you have limitless abilities to share documents and photo files, but you may have an issue if you want to share heavy video files. Like Monday, Asana does not have its own built-in chat function, but it does integrate with Slack, as well as dozens of other integrations.
Asana is highly customizable, which can be a major plus in the long run, but can make implementing the software difficult for those who have no experience with project management tools. In addition, it doesn’t give you the bird’s eye view of a full-featured project management tool. However, the free version is a winner if what you’re interested in is task management, and many people will really appreciate the ability to customize the tool to their exact specifications.
- Best for small businesses
- Request/grant approval on projects
- 14-day free trial
Easy Projects doesn’t have a low-cost pricing tier for smaller businesses, catering instead to mid-size and large companies. The software is not as intuitive as some of its competitors, but its plans do include free group training sessions. This tool gives a good overview of all of a company's projects and will be well-appreciated by seasoned project managers who want to keep their fingers on the pulse and allocate resources properly.
Unfortunately, Easy Projects does not have a chat function either, but its integration with Gmail allows you to both receive updates to your email account, and respond to messages in Gmail that will then automatically be posted to Easy Projects. The software also features easy-to-use mobile apps, with a notification feed, the ability to add projects, and use Easy Projects time-saving approval workflows that enable you to approve, reject, or request approval of a task in an instant. Easy Projects has a steeper learning curve than some other project management tools, but it offers top notch support and features that are ideal for a larger company with many moving parts.
- Best for freelancers and midsize businesses
- Advanced time tracking and invoicing
- 15-day free trial
Paymo is ideal for companies seeking to keep track of the time and resources that go into each project, particularly for the purposes of client billing. The free version is only suitable for individual freelancers who work alone, so if you’re a team looking to collaborate on projects then you’ll have to opt for one of the paid plans, so you’ll be paying about $10 per month for each user, which places it right in the middle price range compared to its competitors.
As far as its team collaboration features go, Paymo has some pluses and some minuses. It does feature real-time chat, unlike many of its competitors, however, its mobile apps are not great for collaboration, and focus mainly on time tracking. Overall, Paymo is best described as a great time tracking app, with solid project management and team collaboration functions. If your team requires advanced time tracking functions, but still wants effective collaboration on projects, it’s worth the money.
- Best for managing large scale projects
- Integrates with Zoho and Google products
- Free 10-day trial
Zoho Projects is an affordable and full-featured project management software that has excellent team collaboration tools. It’s unique in that it doesn’t charge you per user, but rather has a flat fee structure. It’s important to note that the free plan only gives you one project, and is actually more of a free trial.
Zoho Projects is easy to use and implement, and it integrates with Zoho’s CRM, invoicing tools and other business tools, as well as with the Google suite of products. It has an excellent live chat function, with users able to open chat rooms for different topics and invite whomever they wish, with the transcript being saved on the platform for future reference. Zoho’s mobile apps offer decent functionality, however there is no option to work offline and sync your changes when you reconnect to the internet. Zoho might be the best project management app for those on a budget, although it lacks the clear interface and level of support you get from Monday.com.
Start Collaborating More Efficiently
All of the project management tools listed above can help teams improve collaboration and work more effectively toward shared goals. Making the right choice for you depends on your budget, your level of comfort with the interface, and which features you can’t live without.
For example, monday.com is our favorite overall project management tool, but if you are adamant about having a built-in live chat function, then you may be better off choosing Zoho Projects. Whatever the case may be, we recommend taking advantage of a free trial offer to see which software can best fit your company’s unique needs. You have nothing to lose, and only efficiency to gain.
See our in-depth reviews of the top project management software for more information.