Being one of the founders of an ecommerce startup in Ghana, has been a gap bridging experience for me so far. The founders team is made up of 5 young enterprising people and managing the operations of the business currently revolves around a lot of technological adaptations especially where productivity apps are concerned. Most start-ups always starts out as a small team which get together as often as they can especially where they have full time day jobs. This meeting can be productivity or not. This often is a challenge in terms of logistics and conflicts with other meetings. Having the right productivity apps solves this problem to ensure the team is still connected and able to track tasks and current projects.
We have used the following apps in diverse ways to manage the operations of the business and everyday activities for a smooth process flow. Small teams can come together for various reasons and not just for start-ups; a group in a church assigned with a particular project, a blogging team assigned for content creation etc.
This is an app we use to keep our documents in one place, nicely packed into color-coded folders. The documents have Word-like features for easy editing and reviewing by other members and of course there is also spreadsheets for managing of finances which is critical. Its easy to communicate amongst your team members with the Group Chat feature which are connected to a particular task or project to prevent you from going crazy as to what was said where. Cool huh? Every document edit by any member is also seen by the other members with highlights on the changes, so if you feel like asking, ‘What kind of crazy edit is this?’ all you do is to add a comment or say it in the group chat for further clarification by the editor.
Any document can be created and shared with clients with link to the document and anytime they open the document you get a notification. Think of proposals, business letters, etc. The app of course is integrated with other apps like Twitter which is really cool to track certain keywords which are pulled into the app for the team to analyse or assign. A very free app is available on iOS, Chrome and Android.
Its interesting how ‘slack’ in Ghanaian pidgin means missing out on a cool opportunity, ‘chale you slack oh!’ But in tech, this is an app for people who want to be less busy running from one tool to the other. It took me about a week or more to get onto the app after pitching tent in Quip. But after installing the app I realised the difference in the business model of this productivity genius. It was perfect for streamlined communications within the team. Channels are where conversations are grouped and highlighted depending on which channel is active. The app comes with web hooks which ‘hooks’ onto our website and based on the command we create we are able to know events such as orders, cancellations thanks to the monitoring which it does in the backend. Meetings can be organised with mentions of a particular team member with respect to follow ups. As a startup, you cant or shouldn’t be using Whatsapp like some of you are doing for work-related activities. Its absolutely nuts driving to come onto the platform after seeing 100 notifications only to realise the conversation was around a viral vimeo.
For informal communications and spammy videos, messages and photos..sure! Integrations to Asana and other apps ensures we are notified when a task is completed so we can comment as a team on it or just congratulate the member on the completion. This app is free and available on iOS, Android and Windows Linux.
This app has a name which sounds like Asaana which is a local drink in Ghana made from corn and served especially at funerals. Hehehe! The first time I downloaded the app after the team decided to add this, I looked at my screen and felt ill! I felt I was looking at too much info, so my first UX feeling wasn’t great. Maybe it was psychological as I had initially visualised the app as one specially for developers (weren’t all the developers using it anyway?) Anyway, great great app! I find it more useful for me currently than Evernote because I can apply a due date to each task I create in a project. That was one thing I just couldn’t do until now. One place for tasks, projects, deadlines, work chats on each task, etc. Its easy adding team members to a particular task and having a conversation around it without having to call them. That’s a cost-saving feature!
All this you can do without having to resort to email! That’s what I love about the app. We tend to forget to follow up on actions placed in email group lists. This app will make sure you never forget. Every project that you work on as a team is well positioned and shows the amount of work done so far. This free app is on all my iOS devices and of course can be found on Android too!
Like i mentioned earlier, this has been a gap bridging experience for me with respect to task and project management.
Every startup needs to be innovative on how to manage their tasks and projects beginning with having productivity apps. Move beyond emails and get creatively destructive with these apps!
If you are a member of a small team or are part of a startup, what productivity apps are you using to manage the crazy everyday life as a startup? Do share yours and lets discuss on how to improve!