Key Tools for Collaboration & Seamless Workflow

Whether you’re a Fortune 500 brand, a nonprofit, an agency yourself, or even a startup, having the tools for a seamless and collaborative workflow is vital to growth.

At Matchfire, collaboration is crucial to who we are and how we deliver to clients; it is what makes us the solid team we are. Having three offices across the nation effortlessly working together may render obstacles, but thanks to the following platforms and tools, collaboration has been ingrained into our team’s everyday routine.

Project Management and Administrative Tools

Cloud Storage

Like any business with multiple locations, cloud storage is integral to maintaining a smooth workflow. At Matchfire, all our files are saved in a shared online database and are easily accessible, no matter where you’re located – all you need is internet access. With cloud storage, the one rule is: make sure you actually save files to your cloud storage, not just on your desktop, which I think we’re all guilty of forgetting to do!

Basecamp

At the heart of our agency is Basecamp. This project management platform structures projects into tasks and to-do’s, keeping assignments and conversations between all teams in one place. With calendar functionality and the ability to tack due dates onto assignments, completing projects is a breeze.

And for all those organization nerds out there – Basecamp 3 offers color coding, additional categories to sort different project elements, updated scheduling functionality, as well as visual tracking capabilities to ensure you don’t miss a beat.

Trello

While Basecamp is our day-to-day detailed project management platform at Matchfire, Trello serves as a visual overview of all of our current and upcoming projects.

Instead of the boards representing stages of projects, we have two layouts within Trello – we arrange cards by client and by account lead for each project. This helps with prioritization and work balance among team members and provides an easy location to see all the items that are currently being worked on at the agency.

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 ahead of our weekly team meetings.

Teamweek

Alongside Trello, Matchfire’s design team uses Teamweek for visualizing and scheduling work. Teamweek allows our creative directors to look at our designers’ workload and easily shift around work, dependent on changing timelines or new projects that come up.

Teamweek breaks down projects into 15-minute increments and allows for easy editing and reorganizing of projects and timings, to ensure we remain nimble whilst still sticking to our deadlines!

Harvest

Tracking time, managing projects and formulating visual reports is what makes Harvest the favorite tool of Matchfire’s admin team. All team members are required to track their time daily to reflect the work they’re doing for each project.

All the information saved in Harvest then feeds into weekly, monthly and quarterly reports to ensure we’re sticking to project budgets and avoiding the dreaded scope creep.

Slack

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.”

Slack’s custom channel functionality is our cure for streamlined communication. With bountiful integrations with other platforms and tools, including Trello, Raven, and MailChimp, Slack will quickly become any company’s most utilized tool.

Speaking of Slack integrations, a new addition to Matchfire’s collaboration arsenal is Donut. Donut pairs up two team members across all offices, all teams and all seniority levels and encourages them to meet up for coffee, a phone call or a video call. Using Donut, we hope to build stronger inter-agency relationships, and ensure we have the opportunity to get to know all the people that keep the agency running!

Development Tools

CircleCI & Kubernetes

For our dev team, one tool they utilize is the automated code deployment environment of CircleCI. Continuous Integration is a development practice allowing our team to build, test and deploy applications easier and quicker on multiple platforms.

For server scalability, our development team uses Kubernetes, which allocates resources to containers and performs replication, scaling, failover, and other management tasks necessary to run enterprise applications reliably with efficient resource utilization.

In laymen’s terms, these tools allow our dev team to develop engaging and interactive websites in an efficient and timely manner!

Bugherd

This tool—like many of the others mentioned above—eliminates long chains of feedback emails and brings an easier way to ensure website feedback, questions and bugs are being addressed all in one place.

The Bugherd app sits to the right of your internet browser and allows you to pin comments directly onto the site – enabling developers to access feedback directly on the webpage. Bugherd allows you to assign tasks to team members, attach reference photos, add relevant commentary and flag the urgency of the issue. It is our one-stop shop for website feedback, and we use it both internally, as well as for client feedback and commentary.

Design Tools

Adobe Creative Cloud

Like most other agencies, our designers utilize a variety of Adobe CC applications to create amazing work. However, one of our newer weapons of choice is Adobe XD – this app combines three key stages of web design all in one place; wireframes, design, and prototyping.

XD saves our team several rounds of feedback, because we’re not creating wireframes, then designs, then prototyping as separate rounds of presentations.

XD brings design and website prototyping together to show the client not only how the site will look, but also how you will be able to interact with it. It is also great for collaboration and is easily accessible by team members and clients – with a simple link being sent out to let the relevant parties review and comment directly on the interactive designs.

Another key use for our designers with Adobe Creative Cloud is their libraries. It’s the most efficient and organized way for multiple designers to access, save, sync and manage a brand’s design assets without having to sift through folders on our whole agency’s cloud storage. Library files are live and accessible in every Adobe program and include any and all design assets for projects we’re working on, including color, graphics, typography, photography, vector art, iconography, etc

PixelSnap

PixelSnap is a handy little tool that does what it says in the name – it takes a snapshot of anything on your screen and provides you with how many pixels that element is. From measuring the space between design elements or the size of buttons and images on-screen – it’s a quick tool to ensure design elements are sitting where you want them to be within your digital design.

Instagram & Pinterest

And although this may seem like a no brainer, our design team uses Instagram and Pinterest extensively for sharing and organizing visual inspiration as a group to maintain collaboration. This also helps them stay across design trends and remain constantly stimulated and motivated by award-winning creative.

 

We credit many tools for the success of Matchfire. Incorporating the ones mentioned above into our team’s everyday routine has helped us fuel the collaboration sparks and ensures a seamless workflow across our offices. Nevertheless, let’s not discredit a simple phone call or video conference as an efficient way to communicate an idea across time zones!

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