Since the LooseKeys team is often located in different places, it’s really important to have tools that make working together easier. Especially this week while Jake’s off working in an RV in New Hampshire and I’ve got a couple other people lending a hand from their home offices or wherever they feel most comfortable working. There are a lot of tools that help to make working remotely easy; such as Google Talk, Skype, email and LogMeIn. I thought I’d share a few of the favorites we use and how they help us work better.
First and foremost, its important to have everyone working out of the same folder and for us, nothing does that better than Dropbox. Many people can access the same assets and project files at the same time, as if we were sitting in the same office together working off a server. With Dropbox we can make changes to files and have those changes update automatically to other people’s computers. Dropbox allows us to work well together while not having to be in the same place. There are other companies that have similar services but we really like Dropbox. We’ve played around with Google Drive and it’s great for sharing folders or files, it just hasn’t worked into the everyday work flow. I was also using dropbox long before Google Drive came out and switching everything over at this point would be a big undertaking.
Second is Basecamp, an excellent project management tool. All of the LooseKeys projects are housed there even if clients refuse to use it. When the clients don’t use it we still keep the calendars updated and post files, just in case someone on the project might need it. When the clients do use Basecamp with us, it just makes the job run so much smoother. They are able to see dates there and we don’t have to be answering emails when they can see it all on Basecamp. We’re also able to keep all the conversations with the clients organized, which is extremely helpful. Dropbox is a must for us but Basecamp just makes life easier.
Another tool Jake and I have been using a lot is SpringPad. It helps keep track of ideas or if we come across interesting new businesses we’d like to work with we can share them on a list with each other. SpringPad has a lot of uses but for us its sort of a virtual scrapbook and to do list that we both have access to. We’re able to add notes or tasks about internal projects or ideas and then comment on them while keeping track of the status. If Google Wave had taken off or was still around I have a feeling we’d be using that instead of SpringPad. Being able to have folders or notebooks with different subjects allows us to prioritize things and stay up to date on future ideas. It sure beats having a Google Doc we both just keep updating. Believe me we tried that and it gets messy and confusing fast.
Finally something we use everyday without fail is CloudApp. When you work in an office and you’re sitting right next to the person, it’s easy to have them just walk over and check out your screen. But when you’re miles apart, that just isn’t something that happens. With CloudApp we’re able to take a quick screen shot of our screen and it’s automatically uploaded. Then you just send the link over chat and you can get quick feedback. That way we don’t need to be in the same room with one another just to get a peak at the screen. With the free account you get 10 uploads a day, which depending on what we’re working on, we can hit our limit pretty fast.