Published: 6 years ago

8 collaboration tools for remote teams

Since both 39 and Fifth Layer (the company behind SyncPad) are completely distributed, I’ve been dealing with remote collaboration for the past few years. Heck, SyncPad itself was born out of the need of a better tool to visually collaborate remotely. Here’s a list of some of the tools I found helpful when dealing with remote teams:

SyncPad (link →)
I know, I know, it’s a shameless plug but I do use it almost every day when collaborating with the rest of the team. Sure, it will never truly reproduce the experience of a real meeting room whiteboard, but at the same time it has some features that its real life equivalent doesn’t have. For those who don’t know SyncPad, it’s a whiteboard application that allows you to share and collaborate with drawings, images and PDFs and works on iOS, Android and browsers.

HipChat (link →)
We tried several group chats in the past few years, including 37 Signals’ Campfire, but HipChat ended up being the winner. They just released a native app for Mac OS to replace the old Air application. Big win. Their mobile clients still suck but we hope Atlassian–they recently acquired HipChat–will make some improvements on that front as well.

Skype (link →)
I don’t think I need to introduce Skype to anyone. It’s still the quickest way to get a call started from my Mac. It has plenty of bugs I could complain about (like switching the audio input every time I plug my headphones) but it’s still better than any other alternative. HipChat has a video conference  feature but it feels buggy and everyone already has Skype installed anyway.

Asana (link →)
While we tried for a while both Pivotal Tracker and Trello, we settled on Asana because of its flexibility. It won’t give you the classic kanban view, but it suited better our way to work and it’s a better choice when it comes to use it for regular tasks. You really need to feel comfortable with the tool you use to manage your tasks, since this will be most likely the center of your operations.

Idonethis (link →)
One thing I often do when I connect in the morning is to check with everyone all the progresses made the day before. It’s very hard to keep the pulse on what everyone is working on, especially when working at very different hours through out the day. Idonethis is a very simple tool that allow everyone to email every evening a list of all the accomplishments of the day and you’ll get a digest that shows you the team’s accomplishments from the day before.

Dropbox (link →)
Simply the best way to share files within the team. We just have a common folder where we save files and assets we need to share.

GitHub (link →)
If you have anything to do with software development and don’t know about Github, shame on you. GitHub is a web-based hosting service for projects that use the Git revision control system. Lately I’ve been using Bitbucket as well for some other projects, definitely a solid alternative (it’s also cheaper).

Hackpad (link →)
While we often still use Google Docs, I’d like to give this spot to Hackpad. I personally like it better, also because it allows to easily connect other documents and mentions (a-la Twitter) other users. I’m also getting tired of Google everything, so alternatives are always welcome.

  • sarcilav

    Davide what about screenhero?

    • Davide Di Cillo

      Good pick as well. I just never had a chance to use it yet but it looks very neat. Only limitation is that often we have more than two people working together.

      • sarcilav

        that is true, actually I’m using screenhero for remote pairing and for helping my relatives remotely

  • X

    Thanks David. I did not know aboutmSyncPad or Asana, appreciate it

  • djjose

    Have you tried Yammer? If so, DM me because I’d love to hear your feedback. If not, dude you’re missing out.

    • Davide Di Cillo

      Yes, I did. It just didn’t fit our needs. On the other end, it will be integrated in the new version of SyncPad :)

      • djjose

        sweet! lmk if you need any help with the api.

  • Dan

    I would recommend checking out Gtdagenda for an online GTD manager.

    You can use it to manage your goals, projects and tasks, set next actions and contexts, use checklists, and a calendar.
    Syncs with Evernote, and also comes with mobile-web version, and Android and iPhone apps.

  • Alexander Komarov

    Guys check out our new app for remote team collaboration:

    Timing: a world clock reimagined around remote teams.

  • Andrea Francis

    How about – it’s a newcomer but as a Gigaom reviewer said “one to watch”!

  • Christine

    I’m moderating a panel discussion in April. The topic is working with a team that consists of team members located in different offices throughout the US and some globally. May I use your “8 collaboration tools for remote teams” as a handout for the audience?

  • Kylli

    How about also Weekdone (, it is a really simple weekly reporting tool that automatically compiles the team member’s reports and gives a nice informative visual report by the end of the week. So, it lets the leader and the whole team know what anyone has been up to. You can also keep track of the achievements, problems and tasks at real time.

  • Leesa Dercyke

    Have you tried ? It is web based collaboration and project management tool to collaborate remotely. Has group chat, to-do’s, notes, subtasks, file sharing, discussions and much more

  • johntremn

    We used as an alternative for iDoneThis. Their reports look way better :).

  • Michael

    I’ve had a teacher try to use SyncPad but it is no longer sending out the email confirmation after registration. We had students sign up also and they also never received an email. Is it still up and running? When you click support, it takes you take a broken page.

  • Roger Simon

    Great list but I think proofhub should also be there on your list. Its a great management and collaboration tool, helps is getting remote teams together.

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