The Best Online Collaboration Tools For Distributed Teams

As companies around the world suddenly find themselves implementing new “work from home” policies, maintaining a collaborative work environment can be a challenge. But it doesn’t have to be. Online collaboration tools have come a long way in recent years and teams are no longer only limited to conference calls and whiteboards. As a company whose entire business model depends on remote collaboration, we’ve put together a suite of tools that are reliable, efficient, and quick to implement.

Jira is an indispensable bug tracking tool for distributed Agile software teams. Not only has it been around for approaching two decades but it’s customizable around how your team works and integrates with over 3,000 other software tools. It offers great reporting and tracking capabilities.

Features

  • Scrum and Kanban boards
  • Project roadmaps
  • Agile reporting
  • Connect issues directly to code
  • Automation
  • Customizable dashboards, filters, and workflows

Price

  • Free up to ten users
  • Standard — $7/month per user up to 5,000 users
  • Premium — $14/month per user up to 5,000 users

Trello is a slick collaboration tool that organizes projects into boards. From the dashboard, you can see what’s being worked on, who’s assigned to what, and how close something is to being done.

Features

  • Checklist with progress meter
  • Attach files to project board
  • Customizable labels and filters
  • Works on iPhone and Android
  • Developer API

Price

  • Free — 10 MB attachment max, most features included
  • Business Class — $9.99/month per user
  • Enterprise — Sliding scale starting at $20.83/month per user

Jenkins is an online application that monitors repeated jobs, such as software building projects. It is mainly used as a continuous integration system, as in building and testing software projects continuously. Jenkins is changing the way companies look at build management.

Features

  • Easy configuration
  • ChangeSet support
  • RSS/e-mail/IM integration
  • Distributed builds
  • Plugin support

Price

  • Free: Jenkins is open-source
  • Contact for enterprise pricing, varies based on size and configuration

Dropbox is a file storage cloud. You are able to access your files anywhere, anytime. Even while offline you are still able to view them. Dropbox has great sharing features and works across every major platform.

Features

  • Cloud file storage
  • Syncing between devices
  • Share files securely
  • Works while offline
  • Revision history for one month

Price

  • Standard — $12.50/month per user: 5 TB storage
  • Advanced — $20/month per user: unlimited storage
  • Enterprise — Contact for pricing

Google G Suite includes Gmail, Google Drive, Docs, Calendar, Hangouts, and Meet, all optimized for teams. Everything integrates together and collaboration across all products is seamless for everyone in your organization. From video conferencing to file sharing, these applications make it easy for everyone in your company to stay connected and productive when meeting in person isn’t an option.

Features

  • Shared calendars
  • Real-time collaboration
  • Share files securely
  • Create and store files
  • Business email address
  • 24/7 Support

Price

  • Basic — $6/month per user, 30 GB storage, 100 participants per Hangouts call
  • Business — $12/month per user, unlimited storage, 150 participants per Hangouts call
  • Enterprise — $25/month per user, unlimited storage, 250 participants per Hangouts call

GitHub is a web-based hosting service for code and projects. It offers paid plans for private repositories and free plans for open-source projects. Integrated issue tracking is another nice feature that allows anyone to report issues on public projects.

Features

  • Tools for any project
  • Secure, private repositories
  • Code review
  • HTML page hosting
  • Social integration

Price

  • Free — Unlimited repositories, 3 collaborators/private repository
  • Pro — $7/month, unlimited repositories, unlimited collaborators
  • Team — $9/month per user, unlimited repositories, unlimited collaborators, team access controls
  • Enterprise and GitHub One — Contact sales for pricing

As an online brainstorming tool, Mural allows designers to remotely collaborate during the early stages of a project. Its speed and ease of use make it a great addition to design thinking and Agile methodologies. Plus, it efficiently facilitates workshops and team meetings.

Features

  • Remote workshops and collaboration
  • Design templates
  • Integration with Slack, Teams, and enterprise collaboration software
  • Self-service and email support
  • Education programs
  • State-of-the-art security practices

Price

  • Mural For Teams: Starter — $12 per member, per month
  • Mural For Teams: Plus — $20 per member, per month
  • Mural For Enterprise — Cost is adaptive to your business needs

Basecamp is a real-time project management tool that keeps teams on track and organized with features like to-do lists, schedules, messaging, and file storage. While it’s not ideal for traditional project management tasks like resource planning and long-term scheduling, its robust feature set makes it a great addition to your suite of collaboration tools.

Features

  • Asynchronous communication
  • Real-time chat
  • Project management
  • To-do lists
  • Scheduling tools
  • File storage

Price

  • $99 per month, a flat rate for an entire team

Depending on your business, the entire Adobe Creative Cloud is useful in remote collaboration. For UX and UI teams designing websites, mobile apps, voice interfaces, and video games, however, Adobe XD puts collaboration at the forefront. From wireframes to prototypes to finished designs, XD enables designers throughout the entire design process. And since it’s part of the Adobe Creative Cloud, it interfaces with all other relevant Adobe products like Photoshop, Illustrator, After Effects and Fonts.

Features

  • Coediting — allows multiple designers to simultaneously work in a file
  • Multiple sharing options including private invitations
  • Content-aware layout
  • Vector drawing tools
  • Integration with Sketch, Photoshop, Illustrator, and Adobe Fonts

Price

  • XD Starter Plan — Free
  • XD — $9.99/month per user
  • XD For Teams — $22.99/month per user

This list is by no means definitive and there are plenty of other tools available. However, the ones outlined above have proven critical in keeping the collaboration between our distributed teams flowing.

Original post can be found here.

Authored by Joel Swenson:

Joel’s writing career has its roots in his childhood. Growing up, if he didn’t have his nose in a book, he could be found penning short stories and bootleg comics for friends. Joel joined MentorMate after nearly a decade in the bicycle industry where he worked as a Copywriter across multiple brand teams. He brings a wealth of experience crafting brand voices, writing blogs, and producing video content. When he’s not writing, you’ll likely find him biking, attempting to make the perfect ravioli, and/or scheming camping trips to remote places around the world.

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
MentorMate

Trusted guidance, global expertise, secure integration. We design and develop custom software solutions that deliver digital transformation at scale.