Thursday, 19 February 2015

Collaboratory Tools - Working Remotely

My job involves quite a lot of interacting with people across multiple cities in multiple continents in multiple time-zones. This is really exciting, but it also means that sometimes traditional working tools just don't make the cut. Microsoft Word is great...until you're e-mailing the same document back and forth multiple times per day with multiple edits, trying to keep track of who changed what. So here's some suggestions on useful tools, websites and cloud-based applications that I use in order to ensure project success.
  • World Time Buddy - great for figuring out time-zone differences in order to schedule meetings at times that are appropriate for everyone (or almost everyone).
  • Smartsheet - think of project planning tools and you will most probably think of something clunky and difficult to use. Smartsheet is the complete opposite - easy to use and the ability to share it with colleagues anywhere. The plan is stored in one place, but can be edited (or just viewed) by multiple people at one time.
  • Google Docs - again, this is really useful for ensuring that there is only one copy of something, but with the ability for multiple editors (and/or viewers). The Google equivalent of MS Word and MS Excel.
  • Skype - great for clarifying something with a quick skype message or skype call. And if you have a good enough internet connection, it's lovely to be able to see the person you're talking to's face.
  • MS Lync - similar to Skype, which we have used for many of our meetings.
  • KeePass - a password management tool. You can have one file and use it to keep track of all your passwords. Or you can have different files for different "categories" or aspects of your personal or business life, that you need to keep track of.
  • Color-Hex - When specifying colours in coding, it's often difficult to know what a colour is, this is where this website comes in handy - it gives you "computer-readable" colour definitions so you can define which colours you want to use while you're programming.
Have you used any of these or do you have any other useful tools to add to this list?

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