Project and Collaboration Tools rundown – G Suite, Asana, Glip, Slack, and more

A friend and business coach, Bill Hart, asked the following question on Facebook:

Q: how do you manage your calendar, tasks and projects?

In the future I’ll write a bit more about how your responses to online questions or emails you send can be turned into content for your social media. This is one of those cases.

I responded to his question on Facebook but determined I could provide a little more context here on the blog. So, my modified response can be found below.

I’ve got a little experience in project management tools

I start with a snarky nod to my obvious experience in this are. 😉

I’ve given almost a dozen presentations on this topic for Project Management Institute over the past two or three years. So… listen to me on this. 😉

Seriously though.. one of my favorite topics. Couple of pieces of advice:

  • Where possible, use as few platforms as possible.
  • Try to use platforms that talk to each other in some way.
  • Avoid featureitis and being lured by stuff you don’t really need.
  • Finally, “THE SYSTEM” does not exist but “A SYSTEM” is critical.

My tools of choice

To the point of as few platforms/portals as possible, you will notice a distinct Google bias. The reason is simple. If a platform can host my email, calendar, long-form documents, and integrate with almost all other project or information sharing platforms, it simplifies the access and utilization of my toolkit. Also, I’m an Android guy, so Google is built in.

A note about other mail providers:

If you are using yahoo mail, hotmail, outlook.com, me (Apple) etc. account. HELP YOURSELF, GET A GOOGLE/GMAIL ACCOUNT!

Sorry. I didn’t mean to shout. But, the number of people who lose their contacts because they are saving them on their phone or cannot get them easily from the Apple or other email provider account, is sad and remarkable. Even if you are using an iPHone, add the gmail app and store all your contacts in that account. This allows you to update them and move them regardless of the phone you are using. So, when you finally grow up to be a big boy or girl – and ditch your iPhone in favor of an Android phone (he he he), you’ll have all your contacts.

Okay… my primary tools of choice.

Calendar:

Google Calendar – I maintain a few calendars under the same account because some are shared and 2 flow events to my website.

Personal tasks and projects:

Google Keep for personal tasks and information. (same Google account and nicely integrated on my phone). Simpler than Evernote ever was and flows nicely into Google Docs as needed.

Business tasks and projects:

Asana for project management. Most require a simple list and many PM systems overly complicate the process. Asana is fast and easy for those I share with. Almost no learning curve.

Project communication:

Glip (though I also use Slack because a primary client does). Glip kills email, which is a good thing. Email is a horrible communication tool for real-time or streamed collaboration.

Long form project and other documentation:

Google Drive / G Suite. Same Google Account – far superior for file sharing than DropBox. Also, great for collaborating on long-form documents, spreadsheets, and other Google Tools. If you have not/are not using shared Google Docs and Sheets for team collaboration, please check it out.

When I provide workshops on the tools available, I always say, “Google is abysmal at being amazing!” I say this because so many people using Gmail have these tools available to them but never use them.

Microsoft’s shared and clould-based applications are confusing to use and share and almost impossible to signup for. Don’t get me wrong, I program using Microsoft tools – Access, SQL Server, ASP.NET, VBA in Excel and Word. Amazingly powerful for streamlining operations, reporting, and other business functions.

But from a cloud-infrastructure and team sharing standpoint, Microsoft’s not even in the game yet.

Conclusion – start with 1

New to cloud-based team/task management, my advice, sign-up for Gmail and look at Google Drive. It really isn’t that complicated. Just poke around a bit.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll add some additional tutorials or details on how I use each of these tools. In the meantime, if you have a question, just ask.

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