The key tools to collaboration

 

Whether you’re a Fortune 500 brand, a nonprofit, an agency yourself, or even a startup, collaboration is vital to growth. Collaboration is one of those cultural elements that is so easily talked about, but often difficult to seamlessly incorporate.

At Matchfire, collaboration is crucial to who we are, how we deliver to clients, and the reason we are such a solid team. Having four offices across the nation effortlessly work together may render obstacles, but thanks to the following tools, collaboration has been ingrained into our team’s every day routine.

Basecamp

At the heart of our agency: Basecamp. This project management system structures tasks and to do’s, keeping assignments and conversations between all teams in one place. A common speedbump in the project management flow is the result of conversations getting stuck in the cyberspace of email. This issue is stifled like an ant under a magnifying glass.

With calendar functionality and the ability to tack due dates onto assignments, completing projects is a breeze.

Trello

Trello should really change its name to Collabo, because it serves as a visual representation of collaboration! Here at Matchfire, we actually use Trello in our own way. Instead of the boards representing stages of projects, each team member of our Account Team has their own board. Under each team member’s boards are cards representing each project and account we are contributing to.

This visual representation allows account leads to keep track of project progress without having to constantly check-in via email with project contributors. As any well-oiled machine would, we all update our project cards every Monday afternoon, often with additional updates throughout the week.

Invision

Nothing says collaboration more than cloud-based online programs that allow various contributions at once. Ever heard of such magic? Say hello to Invision. A graphic and UX designer’s dream, Invision allows for design files to be uploaded and commented on by multiple team members. The commenting allows a user to mark the area or feature of a prototype they want to comment on, leaving a note for the project owner. The project owner is notified via email and has the ability to respond back and resolve the comment.

While Invision is already clearly functional, we use the tool in an unconventional way. Instead of presenting website wireframes, we use Invision to showcase website comps in a realistic simulation manner.

A user can create hotspots on the prototype that allow viewers to click through the website, as if it were actually live. We show clients the functionality of drop down menus, animations, hover states and overall website flow. This feature alone bridges the gap between design, development and client.

Another notable feature is Invision’s liveshare option which allows us to walk clients through a design prototype in a controlled manner. At any point during the presentation, control of the walkthrough can be granted to any of the viewers. With live commenting and annotation functionality, this feature allows for immediate and efficient feedback.

Are you still reading? Well, good. We’ve saved the best for last.

Slack

Remember AIM Instant Messenger from the 90’s? Don’t you miss it? Cure your 90’s kid blues with the beloved Slack.

Literally AIM—but better—Slack is a team messaging system with private messaging, group chats, and custom channel capabilities. Need an answer that is deemed better for a quick message than an email? Who needs another email after all? Slack ‘em instead.

Across all our offices, “Slack me,” is the new “Google it.”

Working on a project that spans multiple offices in different locations? Slack’s custom channel functionality is the cure for streamlined communication. Appropriately name the channel by client name and invite all project contributors to it.

With bountiful integrations with other tools, including Trello, mention, Raven, and MailChimp, Slack will quickly become any company’s most utilized tool. It surely is at Matchfire!

 

We credit many tools to the success of Matchfire. While integrating unified collaboration is easier said than done, incorporating any of the above tools into your team’s every day routine will certainly fuel the collaboration spark. While Matchfire does function seamlessly and efficiently in credit to these technologies, they do not replace communication. Sometimes the most efficient way to communicate an idea across time zones is a simple phone call or video conference.

But in the day-to-day hustle and bustle of the digital marketing space, we love our tools.

What are some of your beloved tools? Tweet and tell us: @Matchfireco!