Savvy Speaks: Collaboration Tools That Rock

Savvy Speaks: Collaboration Tools That Rock
Savvy Sisters - Wed Jan 12, 2011 @ 08:00AM
Comments: 10

Whether you call us remote, dispersed, home-based, or just plain "savvy," those of us who work in a virtual office space that puts the entire world at our fingertips absolutely rely on collaboration tools to make it all click. The same goes for basically anyone doing business today - from SMBs to multi-national conglomerates.

Anyone who's tried to collaborate across time zones or even across town knows that all collaboration tools are not created equal. This week the Savvy Sisters Speak up about the collaboration tools that keep them dialed in, tuned up and in the loop at all times and from all places. 




I am going to harken back to the stone age and assert that email is still a great, inexpensive (and likely still the most-used) collaboration tool. The key is to get everyone on the same page with conventions so that, for example, all emails relating to a certain project have the same title beginning so that they can be easily searched and sorted. If you approach it with the same discipline you use for file naming conventions, you will get a lot out of it.

For more in-depth tracking, reporting and collaborating needs, I have used a product called Basecamp ( with great success. It allows you to create, assign and track milestones, upload files to a central repository, and, of course, it's web based so the team can access it from anywhere.


I echo Kate's sentiment that simpler is better. Although I have also used Basecamp, often managing the system can become a job in itself. (I speak as an ex Web dev project manager whose job it ws to keep all the data up-to-date.)

By far, my favorite collaboration tool is Google docs. It's simple. It's easily accessible. It creates "living" documents - meaning that the live version is always the most current, so you have no issues with version control. Google docs are limited in terms of functionality and file types, but - as we said - usually simple is best.

For a slightly more robust, but still super-simple tool, creating a wiki site can be just the thing. Wikispaces is a free tool for individuals and groups that allows you to create a collaborative work space with a broader range of content and additional messaging and tracking features.

Happy collaborating!

What are your favorite tips and tools for collaborating?

Tags: Writing tips
Comments: 10


1. Sarah Mitchell  |  my website   |   Thu Jan 13, 2011 @ 12:13AM

I really like Dropbox ( for collaboration. It's a great way to share any type of file. I'm one of those strange people without an iPhone but I hear the app for Dropbox is fantastic, too.

I use Dropbox to share Word docs, spreadsheets and images. It allows you to grant access at the folder level allowing a nice granularity. I have Dropbox files set up for every client and project. We can share files without having to mail them to each other.

2. Carla  |  my website   |   Thu Jan 13, 2011 @ 08:58AM

I like to use a really easy screensharing tool like Glance ( to collaborate with someone who's not in the office with me. Ok, I'll admit, I work for the company, but I'm such a believer that even my middle school kids use it to work on projects with their friends, each sitting at home, on their own computers (gotta love that!). I can no longer imagine remote meetings without a tool like Glance.

3. Michele Linn   |   Fri Jan 14, 2011 @ 11:12AM

Well, I was late to add my two cents to this post, but I'll include it in the comments.

The two tools I love are Dropbox and Skype.

Like Sarah, I have multiple Dropbox folders set up for all sorts of client projects. I have a Droid, and I can view docs from my phone easily.

Of course Skype is great for free calls internationally, but I have also started using it for its screen sharing ability. It's much easier to use than than be asking, "What exactly are you seeing on your screen?" And although there are a lot of instant messaging tools out there, I have Skype for this as well.

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