A lot of people use their email inbox as their to-do list. As Zak Mensah (Head of Transformation at Bristol Museum) says, this is "like letters mostly from total strangers who are allowed to interrupt you all day". Email is actually a really wonderful system: there's nothing quite so free, decentralised, and reliable. However, by itself email is not necessarily the best way to work collaboratively and productively. We need something else.
Thankfully, there's a few platforms and software tools out there worth exploring. They all connect to email, which means those currently shackled to their inbox can gradually dial down the number of notifications they get. Once they're comfortable, they can go all-in. Below are some services that I've used and/or were recommended by my Twitter network when I asked for recommendations. Each has different affordances so are useful for slightly different purposes/contexts. I'll update this with more information as time goes on.
Got a recommendation? Tweet @dajbelshaw!
"Collaboration software that helps your team get work done."
"Basecamp helps you wrangle people with different roles, responsibilities, and objectives toward a common goal: Finishing a project together."
"Your Company. United."
Crunchbase profile: https://www.crunchbase.com/organization/bitrix24-com
- "Bitrix24 is excellent and free. Picture Slack+Basecamp+Dropbox+GoogleApps in one." (@JoshDeax)
"Be The Best Manager You Ever Met."
"Powerful collaboration, code review, and code management for open source and private projects."
"Gridle offers effortless real-time collaboration for your teams & enterprises."
"Igloo is an intranet you'll actually like."
Crunchbase profile: https://www.crunchbase.com/organization/igloo-software
"ProofHub helps from 'XS' teams to 'XXXL' enterprises better collaborate & manage projects of all sizes :)"
- "To get rid of messy email threads and for effective comms between team or clients, I think you should give @proofhub a try." (@bhumika)
- "I think you must try your hands on @proofhub. Very useful tool for managing projects." (@colvinwarner)
"Work with people, not files."
- "Slicker than Google docs, with sidebar chat, plus messaging." (@davidwilcox)
"Slack is a platform for team communication: everything in one place, instantly searchable, available wherever you go."
Crunchbase profile: https://www.crunchbase.com/organization/tiny-speck
- "Depends on team size, but we found @SlackHQ's tip to resist creating channels at start was good advice https://slack.com/getting-started" (@jeffhgima)
- "@slack set up channels, show that you can get apps on any platform and get email notifications etc to check" (@vickytnz)
- "Use channels for whole organisation stuff and groups for smaller working teams. Slack mobile app v. good" (@ClassrmMonitor)
- "Best things: LOW-FRICTION + fun community-bldng aspects" (@jeffhgima)
- "set up channels, show that you can get apps on any platform and get email notifications etc to check" (@vickytnz)
- "Pin notices in channels to save losing important stuff in the feed" (@ClassrmMonitor)
- "Untick "Display message text in desktop notifications" in preferences if you use any screen sharing etc!" (@ClassrmMonitor)
- "We agreed to go all in for 2 weeks - and had a slack channel for disk. pros&cons. And it links up nicely with our shared gdocs" (@anetqedu)
"Accomplish more of your goals with a smarter focus on your tasks that matter most."
"A Better Way To Run Your Business"
Crunchbase profile: https://www.crunchbase.com/organization/teamwork-project-manager
"Trello is the free, flexible, and visual way to organize anything with anyone."
- "We're using @trello collaboratively for workload planning + as an editorial calendar for blog. Working well so far" (@ekcragg) --> follow-up blog post
- "It worked coz we talked through the changes as well as putting in Trello. Try this @zakmensah: http://www.labs.bristolmuseums.org.uk/using-trello/" (@hopkinsdavid)
- "I would say - create an organization would be the 1st & assign ETAs to tasks ( a commitment would be needed from all)" (@ioana_cis)
- "we're successfully using Trello with 50 people and then have 1 board for all 200 as a notice board" (@zakmensah)
- "we found it's worked for us in @NTUDigital particularly working on cross departments projects." (@elaines)
- "Had lists relevant to our team, and joint lists for working with other teams. All visible." (@elaines)
"Yammer is a private social network that helps employees collaborate across departments, locations, and business apps."