Team collaboration tool reviews for Hands-Off Leadership

Yes, You Have Options!

For collaborative meetings and self-empowering Hands-Off Leadership™ cultures, we love Google Docs. Many reasons are listed in the previous lesson. But some IT departments don't agree with us.

That's OK. You can still run your Fast Flex Meetings and have a culture of shared knowledge and instant collaboration. Here's how.

Talk With Your Stakeholders

Discuss issues with stakeholders

As always, start by talking with your stakeholders (IT department, management, and any others who care). They have good reasons for their concerns. What are they? Listen and seek to understand, which opens minds and hearts. This is called "winning cooperation."

People don't resist change. They resist being changed. —Richard Teerlink

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​Then share your needs, Both sets of needs are valid, and a solution can be found that meets both concerns.

Requirements for Good Collaboration Tools

Choose a collaboration method that everyone can live with. In addition to the needs of the other stakeholders, these are the essential needs for a great NEVERBOSS/Hands-Off Leadership collaboration solution​:

  • Accessible. Anyone on the team can edit, 24/7, from anywhere reasonable.
  • Visible. Everyone can SEE each others edits.
  • Live. Everyone sees edits/notes AT THE SAME TIME (no back-and-forth).
  • ​Cheap. Free or low cost, so anyone can collaborate.
  • Easy. Must not be hard to use or learn.
  • Fast. No delays or barriers to getting started and actually using it.
  • Secure. People you don't want to edit it can't edit it
  • Persistent. You have a record of what was decided.
  • Searchable. Lets you easily search for documents and words.
  • Manageable. Lets you copy and group documents and make document templates.
  • History. (Optional) Everyone can see what changes were made in the past.

Current Options We've Analyzed

​Here are the collaborative document editing options we work with now. Share, discuss, and recommend others below. We'll update this list regularly.

Google Documents/Google Drive

Google Drive

www.google.com/docs
"Google Docs - create and edit documents online, for free."

Pros:
Rich work environment, many document types, free
Fully supported by Neverboss University
Documents are stored on secure Google servers
See previous lesson/page for more details
Free service allows collaboration with anyone

Cons:
Document management is sometimes clunky but quickly becoming more robust
Documents are stored on secure Google servers

Office 365/SharePoint

Microsoft Office 365 logo

products.office.com
"Collaborate how you want and manage changes in shared documents whether you’re working offline, online, or simultaneously with others."

Pros:
Familiar MS Office apps on nearly all platforms
SharePoint server option gives greater control over document security

Cons:
Not free, will cost $10/mo/person minimum
Complexity (due to full support of fonts/formatting) can focus you on wrong things
Cannot collaborate with non-Office users

iCloud Pages

iOS 9 Notes App
iCloud Pages

Edit a document with others at the same time on Mac, iOS devices, or iCloud.com via web browser.

Cons:
Fairly new offering, still developing
Interface feels clunky and harder to use

Quip

Quip Living documents... Work smarter, better, faster.

quip.com
"Living documents... Work smarter, better, faster."

Pros:
Rich work environment

Cons:
Not free, costly, $30/mo for 5 people, + $10/mo per person, annual commitment
Complex environment, learning curve

Interactive Whiteboards/SMART Boards

Interactive whiteboard

Pros:
Better for diagramming
May connect with Web resources

Cons:
May need to stand to write
May not work for virtual meetings
More complex learning/setup

Note: SMART Boards is a registered trademark of ​SmartTech, but there are other interactive whiteboard options.

Whiteboards/Chalkboards

Whiteboard and markers

Take pictures to keep record of decisions
Team whiteboards can be dedicated to certain meetings

Pros:
Better for diagramming

Cons:
May not be available 24/7
Need to stand to write
Not for virtual meetings
Records of decisions aren't searchable or manageable

Easel/Sticky Pads

Sticky notepad for easel or wall mount

Paper pads on easels (or sticky), write on with markers
Team easel pads can be dedicated to certain meetings

Pros:
Better for diagramming

Cons:
Smaller space
Need to stand to write
Not for virtual meetings
Records of decisions aren't searchable or manageable

Others We Are Looking At

Dossier

Dossier collaborative document management for Slack

trydossier.com
Slack-integrated documents

Pros:
Fully-integrated with Slack, for companies that love Slack for communication

Cons:
New platform, in beta as of this review (2/2017)
Documents are very simple and harder to manage (copy, clone)

Etherpad

Etherpad collaborative open source editor

etherpad.org
"Highly customizable Open Source online editor providing collaborative editing in really real-time."

Pros:
Open Source
Customizable
You maintain all documents on your own servers

Cons:
You must set up and maintain the platform
Limited, very specific functionality

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Kevin Crenshaw
 

Kevin, our approachable CEO, is the author of NEVERBOSS: Great Leadership by Letting Go. He's also a consultant, keynote speaker, Rapid Turnaround CEO, and creator of both Hands-Off Leadership™ and Total Relaxed™ Organization. He loves people, leadership, coaching, speaking, tackling tough problems, and physics, but not usually all at once.

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