I recently started a new project working with some volunteers, and I’m not sure how it would be possible to run that ship without a few hand-picked (and critically important) apps. These apps are ideal for the remote work situation we find ourselves in right now.
Why do they work so well? Mostly, it’s because they are easy to use. As we deal with the pandemic and all of the related stress, using these apps makes our work a bit easier. There is almost no learning curve to them and yet there is underlying power. They provide all of the basics of aiding communication, tracking tasks, and keeping you focused.
The Trello app helps me manage everything. I use the app in my browser and it has a bright and colorful interface. I’m using it to manage multiple projects using “boards” for each one.
There’s something about how the app helps with momentum.
The interface looks a bit like you are moving playing cards around. You can attach photos of team members to each card, add a photo or graphic related to the task to make them stand out, and apply colored labels that give your whole board some pizazz and punch.
I love using this product. I’m not a particularly organized person — I prefer vision-casting, generating new ideas, brainstorming, and coming up with creative solutions to problems — but that’s why I need an app like this. It’s a way to keep things organized for people who do not like organizing. It’s almost like playing a video game (but not quite).
I like to mention Trello and Slack together. They go hand-in-hand. I am not sure how people can manage a team without a collaborative messaging app like Slack. It puts all of the important communication into channels that everyone can see. With a volunteer team, one “lead” is in charge of each channel and only has to worry about tasks for that channel.
Here’s how we use it. In Slack, we discuss projects and ideas. When a project becomes a “real” thing, we add a card for it in Trello. It’s super easy because everyone knows they don’t really have to keep up on every conversation. We use Trello for that type of organization.
A few tricks we use. One is that we tag everything like crazy. You might already use Slack, but it’s easy to forget how important this is. By tagging people you are letting them know it is an important topic and they receive a notification about it. We also keep our channels as simple as possible — there are only five of them right now. It helps streamline communication.
So much has been said about the video chat app Zoom recently, but in the age of corona, it is indispensable now. The reason Zoom works so well for so many is that the app switches to the person talking automatically — and it works. Meetings are easier to follow. It’s also powerful in that you have so many options. You can quickly share your screen with everyone else to demonstrate how an app works. The options to mute your microphone and start your video are easy to find. New users find everything they need quickly, even if they have never really done a videoconference before. The app works in a browser and on phones.
What I’ve really discovered is so helpful about Zoom is that the app just works. With other video chat apps, there are glitches that come up or people are not able to login. My meetings always run smoother even with people who have never used Zoom before for managing projects.