REVIEWS: Alternatives to Google Docs - Neverboss
Team collaboration tool reviews for Hands-Off Leadership

Yes, You Have Options!

For collaborative meetings and cultures of highly empowering leadership, 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.
  • Transparency. Everyone can SEE who edited what.
  • Live. Everyone sees edits AS THEY HAPPEN (no sending docs back and forth).
  • Fast. No delays or barriers to getting started and actually using it.
  • Easy. Must not be hard to use or learn.
  • Searchable. Lets you search for documents and words.
  • Persistent. You have a record of what was decided.
  • Affordable. Free or low cost, so anyone can collaborate.
  • Secure. People you don't want to edit it can't edit it, if it matters to you.
  • Manageable. Lets you copy and group documents and make document templates.
  • History. (Recommended) 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
"Google Docs - create and edit documents online, for free."

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

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

Office 365/SharePoint

Microsoft Office 365 logo
"Collaborate how you want and manage changes in shared documents whether you’re working offline, online, or simultaneously with others."

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

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 via web browser.

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


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

Rich work environment

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

Interactive Whiteboards/SMART Boards

Interactive whiteboard

Better for diagramming
May connect with Web resources

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.


Whiteboard and markers

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

Better for diagramming

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

Better for diagramming

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 collaborative document management for Slack
Slack-integrated documents

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

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


Etherpad collaborative open source editor
"Highly customizable Open Source online editor providing collaborative editing in really real-time."

Open Source
You maintain all documents on your own servers

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

Kevin Crenshaw

Kevin is The Instant COO™ and CEO of Priacta / Neverboss. He is the author of NEVERBOSS: Great Leadership by Letting Go. He's also a speaker, rapid empowerment consultant, and creator of Total Relaxed™ Organization. He loves people, leadership, coaching, speaking, tackling tough problems, and physics, but not usually all at once. :)

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