The top 3 Team Collaboration Tools to Replace Slack
Today more than ever, effective communication is important for businesses in all industries. The remote workforce is growing, tasks are becoming more complex, and expectations are higher.
To meet up with the ever-increasing demands, many organizations have turned to team communication tools like Slack. It can be a great communication hub and an entire ecosystem has sprung up around it which makes it even more versatile. Because of this, many teams have tried to hack it together as a project management solution.
Unfortunately, Slack isn’t the ideal tool for this. One of the key features of a project management tool is the ability to easily organize your projects. This includes dependencies, task assignments, file sharing, and more. While slack can do this at a surface level, it fails miserably when it comes to organization.
Anything you add today, depending on how active your team is, will be lost in a few days. Instead, it’s important to have a dedicated project management tool and, if you like, connect it to Slack. This article looks at a few of the best team collaboration tools to replace Slack while enhancing meaningful communication and productivity for your team.
What to look for in project management software
Project management and team collaboration tools come in many shapes and sizes. It would be impossible to tell you all the features to look for because your situation is unique. Instead, let’s look at a few of the baseline things the best project management software will have.
A team collaboration tool is incomplete without strong task management features. Any project management tool you choose should let you assign tasks to individuals or groups and set a due date. Once assigned, the person or group will get a notification and they can update their progress. Depending on the project management software, someone will be able to set different statuses such as pending, in progress, complete, etc.
Slack, though great for talking about projects and planning how you’ll go about it, isn’t able to manage tasks. The way chat messages are displayed would make it difficult to keep track of important information.
The best team collaboration software does more than provide another chat area to drop notes. It lets everyone on the team understand what needs to be done and how. To make this happen, project management tools use visual dashboards, timely notifications, calendars everyone can access, simple activity streams, and more. Taken together, it makes it possible for anyone to orient themselves around a project and dive in without having to ask a long list of questions.
Project planning is the last feature a true team collaboration tool should have. Knowing what to do is different from knowing when to do it and how it affects the entire project. Clear project planning allows you to break down large tasks into subtasks or steps, identify dependencies, set timelines or due dates for each item on the list, and even estimate the overall project budget. This is important because the average project goes over budget by 27%.
When something is late or over budget, you’ll know immediately. Organizing tasks like this makes it much easier to have an effective work breakdown structure. Though versatile, Slack wouldn’t be able to accomplish this no matter how many apps you connect to it. The following team collaboration tools have these essential features and more to help you run a more efficient organization.
Monday is one of the most popular project management and team communication tools available. Of course, it has the essential features mentioned in the last section but it also goes a step further. There’s an emphasis on visual workflows you can use to identify the status and completion percentage of each project.
With Monday, projects are organized into groups that can have any number of tasks and team members associated with it. You’re able to quickly invite employees, set the priority level of a task, and a due date. When you’re finished, all the tasks for the group are arranged on a timeline so you can get a bird’s eye view of the progress being made. If that’s not to your liking you can choose from other views such as Kanban boards, calendar, chart, or tables.
If you have standard procedures that are repeated often like creating a blog post or onboarding a new client, you can turn it into a template. This will cut down on the set up required for each new project. You can also choose from a template, change the fields, add custom items, and otherwise make it your own. Monday also has customizable dashboards that you can be applied to a variety of use cases such as reporting project progress. Monday is a powerful team collaboration tool that’ll help your organization stay on track and meet the most ambitious deadlines.
Freshbooks may not be at the top of your list of team collaboration tools because people tend to focus on its invoicing and accounting aspects. The truth is that it’s a powerful platform for client and team communication. It has the essential features of project management software but still goes a step further.
It has a clear emphasis on service-based businesses so when you’re inviting people to your Freshbooks account, you can choose whether they’re an employee, contractor, or client. Each type of user account has different permission levels within the software that you can further customize. Once you’ve invited the people you’ll work with, you can share files, chat about projects, and assign tasks.
As is expected, you can set due dates, get an overview of your project’s status, take advantage of the mobile app, and even assign a specific number of hours to each project. It also has time tracking capabilities built right into the application. You can track time for specific projects and clients, add notes for each entry, and even bill clients automatically.
Finally, Freshbooks has a robust expense tracking aspect that’ll help you keep project expenses in check. Whenever you make an expense, you can record it in the application. Once there, it can be marked as billable or assigned to specific projects. You can then see a breakdown of what you’re spending money on and whether you’re in line with the project’s budget.
Project manager is another great option for team collaboration and takes a slightly different approach from Monday and Freshbooks. It has a strong emphasis on the planning phase of project management because it determines everything else that comes after. You’re able to plan in sprints or take the waterfall planning approach. With either case, you can adjust timelines based on any developments that arise while working on the project.
It allows you to organize projects based on Kanban boards, Gantt charts, or simple task lists. You can also access a real-time reporting dashboard to see the progress of each task or project. It’s also possible to combine all dashboards into one view or drill down to see how individual projects are moving along. There’s a unique feature that visualizes your team workload and makes it easier to redistribute tasks accordingly.
The core task management makes it simple to upload files, communicate with team members, and update progress. You can share individual tasks with anyone whether they’re an employee or client and get timely feedback. If tasks are falling behind you’ll get an email that’ll help your team refocus on what’s important. Together, these features make it one of the best project management software tools available.
Slack is a great tool for team communication but it’s not the best team collaboration software for larger tasks. For effective project management, collaboration, task management, and project planning are essential pieces of the puzzle.
This article has gone through three robust project management tools that are easy to learn and have the essential features needed to make your initiatives a success. Each one has a different focus so it’s important to evaluate them based on your current needs. Take a look at our in-depth reviews to get a better idea of the pricing, features, and cons of each option.