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15 Best Online Collaboration Tools For Teams In 2022

15 Best Online Collaboration Tools At A Glance

These are the online collaboration tools we’ll be addressing in this article.

  1. Smartsheet

    Client approvals, comments, and team feedback made simple through Smartsheet proofs

  2. Bynder

    Real time collaboration tools around visual and creative asset creation and proofing

  3. Kintone

    Dedicated threads within each workspace to discuss specific topics

  4. monday.com

    External user collaboration using guest invites to a board

  5. Teamwork

    Company-wide chat feature with video call capability to improve communication

  6. Asana

    Dedicated space for conversations and discussions related to a project

  7. Nutcache

    Task progress sharing directly on the project Gantt chart

  8. Evernote

    Dedicated collaboration spaces with permissions so you decide who has access

  9. Pastel

    Focused collaboration on digital assets to fast track approvals

  10. Gain

    Team collaboration on marketing collateral to streamline content creation

  11. Milanote

    Visual collaboration through team built visual boards

  12. Creately

    Canvas collaboration with in-app video conferencing feature

  13. Redbooth

    AI-powered collaboration software with threaded conversations to prevent misunderstandings

  14. Podio

    Best collaboration tool for automating workflows

  15. Notion

    Best for simple, clean user interface

Below you’ll find an overview of each of the 15 best online collaboration tools, with screenshots, feature overviews, and pricing.

Online collaboration tools are becoming a vital element of the modern workplace.

And because the modern workplace often isn’t a place at all, we need to adopt a well-organized, central space where all of the project documentation and communication lives. Our clients may be located in New York, our developers in Bali, and our marketing team in London. But our documents, processes, deadlines, and schedules live under the same roof.

At least, they should.

Not convinced? Consider this: a McKinsey Global Institute report found that 61% of the workweek is spent on among these three tasks:

  • reading and answering emails
  • searching or gathering information
  • communicating and collaborating internally

The majority of our working hours are spent on collaboration and coordination of tasks. Project collaboration software removes some of the redundancy and confusion from collaboration tasks, so we can free up hours for more role-specific work.

Yes, many of us are scraping by with a not-so-slick combo of Google or Microsoft apps coordinated via a tangled web of emails. If this is you, stay tuned. There’s a much better way.

Project Collaboration Tools Selection Criteria

  1. User Interface – Project collaboration tools should be clean and intuitive to navigate. They should have easy access to different communication channels, search functions, private notes, private messaging, and history logs.
  2. Usability – Everyone on your team needs to be on board or else collaboration tools will always fail. Therefore, I look for something that is easy to learn, with plenty of training resources and robust customer support.
  3. Integration – Collaboration in today’s work environment requires communication and sharing across multiple platforms. Your integration needs are specific, but a good collaboration tool should include a few basic integrations with other team software: resource scheduling apps, documentation apps from Google and Microsoft, time-tracking tools, and any project management or task management tools you’re using.
  4. Price – Pricing will be the first yay or nay criteria for your adoption of a new tool. Keep in mind that the average price for collaboration tools hovers around $8/user/month.

Project Collaboration Tools Key Features

To be useful to you and your team, the best online collaboration tools will include a few essential components, outlined below.

  1. Project discussions – by nature, group collaboration tools need to involve the group. Discussion features include conversations, mentions, comments, group chat, and private 1-on-1 discussions. The more robust applications will also offer voice and video conferencing tools; perfect for a remote team.
  2. File upload and sharing – the tool needs to provide an organized infrastructure for file uploads as well as appropriate levels of permissions for sharing files with contractors, clients, partners, etc. Creative agencies will benefit from file co-creation features (such as real-time synchronous editing and shared virtual whiteboards). Agencies who share files with clients will benefit from a customizable client portal that provides easy client-facing access to shared files.
  3. To-do list and assigning tasks – tasks should be viewable in multiple layouts, with the ability to assign task priority and members. This should include a calendar and notification system for tracking timelines, updates, and deadlines. For agile collaboration tools, this means Kanban boards or Scrum boards as well.
  4. Events/project milestones – the tool should provide an overview of the project timeline with the ability to set and track milestones. This is a Gantt chart or similar report showing tasks, subtasks, start and end dates, dependencies, and assigned resources.

If you’re already using a collaborative project management software, then you already have access to some type of team management software and probably a few tools for team communication as well. These days, all project management software offers a few features for collaborating online, such as task status updates, file sharing, and progress visualization charts.

However, tools that are designed specifically for online project collaboration may include additional features, such as video conferencing, live sharing on co-created documents, client-facing portals, and a team collaboration app that members can use to stay up to date while on the go.

collaboration tools logos list

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Overviews Of The Best Collaboration Tools

Here’s a list of project collaboration tools to get you started. We cover key differential of the software, followed by a look at its features and functions, and finally its integrations and pricing.

1

Smartsheet

Client approvals, comments, and team feedback made simple through Smartsheet proofs

Smartsheet has collaboration features that make it a fit for almost any team, but especially a creative, content, design, or marketing team that needs to collaborate on content.

For instance, you can use the “Forms” feature which offers the ability to create and customize forms to collect essentially any data from anyone in a structured format—you could use it for collecting information, including images and files, from clients in order to make briefs, for example.

Team collaboration features are great—members get notified of critical changes in real-time, and the tool provides shared views, detail history, activity logs, automated alerts, reminder, and status reports to keep everyone aligned and informed. There are content collaboration features like pinned feedback, approvals, and annotations that make it easier to collaborate on creative work. It doesn’t have a real-time activity stream on the kanban board, but it does display real-time project data in dashboards to keep your teams in sync.

For teams searching for lots of different files, Smartsheet offers searchable databases, multiple viewing options to see tasks, cards, files (etc). You’ll find version control, and proofing and approval workflows to help your team move work through the pipeline.

The tool is also easy to share, even with outside users. It has permission-based access which allows you to set permission levels to Owner, Admin, Editor, and Viewer. Similarly, you can create portals that give you customized views of your projects depending on what you want to track for each one.

Smartsheet integrations include Microsoft and Google apps, as well as development essentials like Jira, and useful business apps like Salesforce, servicenow, Slack, Box, and Tableau. The platform is extensible through a REST API and webhooks.

Smartsheet costs from $7/user/month, with a minimum of 3 users and a maximum of 25 users. They also offer a 30-day free trial.

30 days free trial

From $7/user/month

2

Bynder

Real time collaboration tools around visual and creative asset creation and proofing

Bynder is rooted in a digital asset management (DAM) platform for creative workflows that has evolved to encompass brand guidelines, digital templates, and asset analytics to keep projects moving smoothly. Bynder can help you manage assets like images and videos, scale and automate tedious creative processes, digitize and secure brand guidelines, create print-ready items, and integrate seamlessly with your current tech stack.

Bynder lets your entire team collaborate on visual and creative assets in real-time. Bynder’s tools allow you to standardize processes for creative project requests, approval and proofing workflows, and distribution strategies. Clients and stakeholders can log in and see pre-approved assets to use in their projects, be it an online store, special media page, or other space.

Bynder integrates with Salesforce Marketplace, SAP Commercial Cloud, Contentful, Drupal, Wrike, inriver, Adobe CC Connect, WordPress. Salesify, Getty Images, Stackla, Optimizely, Akeno, Figmage, Highspot, Microsoft Dynamics 365, Canva, Adobe products, Shutterstock, and other creative and workflow-oriented tools.

14-day free trial

3

Kintone

Dedicated threads within each workspace to discuss specific topics

Kintone is a customizable collaboration tool used by teams at Volvo Trucks North America, Japan Airlines, Shiseido, and over 23,000 organizations worldwide. Their unique platform allows you to build a wide variety of customizable “apps” either from scratch, using templates or from your existing spreadsheets, for data management, business processes, and workflows. Kintone apps are not only customizable but they allow you to communicate where the data lives so your team is always on the same page.

Kintone lets you build no-code project tracking apps by dragging and dropping elements that you want to see onto the page: rich text fields, date fields, drop-down menus, number fields with built-in calculations, spaces for attachments, user or group selection menus, related data from other apps, tables, and more.

Once you’ve built the app you want, you can use it to more easily manage whatever data and tasks you and your team need to track. And with custom notifications and reminders as well as detailed permissions settings, your collaboration tool can look and work however you want it to.

Kintone’s built-in communication features also allow teams to discuss projects directly in the app and in topic or project-based threads. Dedicated “spaces” organize everything your team needs for your project, including task-tracking apps and searchable conversation threads.

There are so many ways to customize Kintone it can be hard to know where to start. Read the starter blog “What Can You Build with Kintone?” or watch Creating an App from Scratch for a quick look at how the drag-and-drop builder works.

Kintone lets you expand its capabilities with both free native plugins built by the Kintone team as well as integrations with other tools like Slack, Gmail, Google Calendar, Outlook, Tableau, Dropbox, Salesforce, HubSpot, Eventbrite, WordPress, QuickBooks, MailChimp, and many more through a paid plan with Zapier or via API integrations.

Kintone costs $24/user/month with a minimum requirement of 5 users. They offer a 30-day free trial (no credit card required) and discounted prices for nonprofits and educators. Kintone’s team also offers a free custom app build as part of the free trial process.

30 days free trial

From $24/user/month

4

monday.com

External user collaboration using guest invites to a board

monday.com is a collaboration and task management software that won the 2019 Webby Award for productivity platform. Its simplistic design and user-friendly features make collaborating within, and between, teams easy.

monday.com’s features include task management boards for resource planning, timeline views to manage deadlines and projects, and updates and comments to give feedback or define next-steps in order to keep everyone aligned. Teams can use monday.com to share and organize files, centralize communication, plan out resources, and easily @mention any person or team to keep them in the loop. Because it’s so flexible, any team can customize monday.com to fit their unique needs.

monday.com’s integrations include apps like Slack, Google Drive, Gmail, Google Calendar, Jira, GitHub, Trello, Dropbox, Zoom, Typeform, and many more, accessible via Zapier.

monday.com costs from $6/user/month and comes with a free 14-day trial. They offer a free plan for up to 2 users.

14 days free trial

From $6/user/month

5

Asana

Dedicated space for conversations and discussions related to a project

Asana is visually simple and intuitive; the task management interface uses kanban-style cards to visually organize tasks, statuses, and deadlines. Lightweight and clutter-free, learning to use Asana is a very straightforward process, making it a great choice for users who haven’t worked with any online collaboration tools before. Asana is also good for small, growing teams who work closely together and who don’t need a ton of project or resource management functions upfront.

In addition to collaboration features like messaging and file sharing, Asana offers a customizable dashboard, basic automation features like automatic status updates, and the ability to workflows with task dependencies. It’s not a feature factory, but the features included in Asana make it more than your basic collaboration tool.

With unlimited projects and basic dashboard features for up to 15 users, Asana’s free version delivers above-average value among the free online collaboration tools. As your requirements expand, you can add from Asana’s app directory, providing 100+ integrations for time-tracking, reporting, and other business functions. Asana also has a mobile app for iOS and Android.

Asana costs from $9.99/user/month.

Free version

From 9.99/user/month

6

Teamwork

Company-wide chat feature with video call capability to improve communication

Teamwork is a collaboration tool that makes it easier for everyone to see what projects they’re working on, communicate with their team, and plan ahead. Teamwork contains a full-suite of tools: project management, helpdesk, team chat, CRM, and content collaboration (called “Spaces”).

Teamwork’s Chat app builds communication into your workflow across your organization, no matter what team or department you’re working with, so you can get quick answers to your queries. The tool provides one central place for teams to share ideas and look for feedback, which means teams can reach a consensus and make collaborative decisions faster. Collaborative conversations can be transformed into actionable items using Teamwork’s tasks features.

Teamwork caters to users of all skill levels and provides support through additional materials, such as their blog, ebooks and guides, webinars, and 24/7 customer support. You can lean on email, live chat, or phone to get your questions answered fast.

Teamwork integrates with Gmail, HubSpot, Slack, Float, KingswaySoft, Databox, Numerics, Automate.io, Easy Insights, Integromat, Chatify, Zapier, and Import2.

Teamwork has a freemium plan for up to 3 projects and 5 users. Their paid plan starts at $10/user/month, requiring 5 users or more.

30 days free trial

From $10/user/month

7

Nutcache

Task progress sharing directly on the project Gantt chart

Nutcache is a collaboration tool designed to plan, track, and manage all aspects of your project with features such as color-coded schedules, task organization queues, and data reporting.

The tool includes a Gantt chart to plan, track, and visually organize your tasks with drag-and-drop editing. You’ll also find time logging tools, which are useful for any remote workforce; users can log, track, and invoice time and expenses, so that project managers can keep track of where project money is going.

Nutcache makes it easy to create, customize, and manage unlimited invoices with a credit card and online payments. PMs will appreciate being able to control project costs by reviewing, approving, or rejecting timesheets and expenses on a daily or weekly basis.

Nutcache is easy to adopt. An intuitive, colorful interface makes for easy discussions around the project with other team members. Uploading files to Nutcache and attaching them to projects is a convenient way to keep all of your project data in one place, and also to share information with everyone involved in the project.

Integrations include Dynacom Accounting, PayPal, 2Checkout, Stripe, Authorized.Net, QuickBooks Online, Google Sign In, Google Drive, GitHub, Slack, and hundreds of other apps through Zapier.

Nutcache costs from $6/user/month with a “Pro” plan that requires 5 users.

14 days free trial

From $6/user/month

8

Evernote

Dedicated collaboration spaces with permissions so you decide who has access

Evernote provides a place to store everything from personal moments to business projects. This notes and tasks app has a dedicated collaboration tool called “Spaces” that acts as a central source of information, a data-sharing hub, and a messaging/communication space.

Evernote auto-syncs across all your devices, including desktop, smartphone, and tablet. Your ideas, photos, and clipped pages are always available, no matter where your team is located physically. Every member of a space has access to everything kept there, so information is accessible for all.

Their virtual bulletin board is another cool feature, allowing users to make announcements across the whole team. You can also create your own custom templates, save emails to Evernote, link Google Drive files, annotate PDFs, and scan and digitize business cards.

Evernote for Mac and Windows supports up to 5 different accounts of any type (at least one must be Premium or Business); Evernote for iOS and Android supports one personal account and one business account.

The tool integrates with Google Drive, Outlook, Salesforce, Slack, and Microsoft Teams.

Evernote’s basic plan is free and allows 60 MB of new uploads/month and syncing across 2 devices. Their premium plan starts at $9.99/month and they offer a discount for students on annual subscriptions.

Free trial

From $9.99/month

9

Pastel

Focused collaboration on digital assets to fast track approvals

Pastel is a collaboration tool specifically designed for website design and feedback. Type in a website URL and share a link with anyone to invite them to comment on elements of the website. Every comment is pinned to a specific element and records information like screen resolution and browser type to solve UI/UX issues faster.

You can toggle between commenting and browsing to navigate your website projects and absorb all suggestions and feedback. Another cool feature is Pastel’s ability to pull in the latest version of the site any time changes are made to it.

In addition to live websites, you can upload wireframes and mockups to get design feedback from clients and teammates. You can also make your conversations more actionable by exporting comments, screen size, browser type, and screenshots to enrich each task.

Pastel integrations include export options for Trello, Asana, Monday, and Jira, as well as additional export possibilities to a webhook or Zapier.

Pastel is free to use for 1 user with unlimited canvases. Paid plans start at $49/month.

14 days free trial

From $49/month

10

Gain

Team collaboration on marketing collateral to streamline content creation

Gain brings content producers and clients together to facilitate a seamless workflow with feedback loops and collaboration prompts. This ensures product approvals can move faster and that no notes are missed.

With this tool, you can share your content with your clients no matter what program it was built in originally. Whether it’s a JPEG, a PDF, a Photoshop file, a PowerPoint, or even a Google spreadsheet, Gain will create previews for your approvers and team members to review.

Communication in this tool is easy: share feedback, tag team members, assign tasks, and keep a complete record of every activity as you track progress.

Gain integrates easily with Canva. No additional integrations are listed.

Gain costs from $99/month. If you pay for a full year upfront, you can get 2 months free.

30 days free trial

From $99/month

11

Milanote

Visual collaboration through team built visual boards

Milanote is an easy tool to organize your ideas and projects into visual boards. It’s designed for the early stages of projects – for mapping out ideas, writing project briefs, and planning the steps in a project – before moving into a robust project management tool for executing and assigning tasks.

The drag and drop interface lets you put your work side by side on an infinite virtual pinboard. It handles notes, links, images and files. It also has a library of templates to make it easier to start new projects faster – project briefs, roadmaps, user journey maps, etc.

You can also collaborate in real-time, making it perfect for brainstorming workshops with remote teams. There are three different ways of sharing boards with team members – edit mode, comments only, or read only.

Overall it’s an easy to use tool to organize all the important information about your project in one place.

Milanote’s free version lets you add 100 notes, images or links (with no time limit.) Milanote PRO gives you unlimited storage from $9.99/month per person.

From $9.99/user/month

12

Creately

Canvas collaboration with in-app video conferencing feature

Creately is an online canvas that teams can use to collaborate on planning, strategizing, brainstorming, analyzing, or designing anything in real-time, using different formats like diagrams, visuals, text, symbols, and more.

Multiple collaborators can be added to a Creately document, and all changes will be synchronized across all devices in real-time. Movement across the canvas can be monitored with live mouse tracking. Using the in-app video conferencing feature, you can communicate with teammates as you draw and collaborate on the canvas together.

Creately’s comments feature comes in handy for maintaining threaded discussions, listing to-dos, and even annotating screenshots. Users can share Creately documents with other team members, stakeholders, or clients, and change its access settings to view only or edit for the reviewers.

It integrates seamlessly with other team collaboration and management apps such as Slack, Confluence, Google Drive, and Google Docs, allowing you to streamline cross-functional team workflows as well.

Creately’s team plan for 3 users starts at $18 per month with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

From $18/month with a 30-day money back guarantee

13

Redbooth

AI-powered collaboration software with threaded conversations to prevent misunderstandings

Redbooth is a well-rounded and flexible collaboration tool that can be adapted for use in small and mid-sized teams as well as enterprise. Something unique about Redbooth is that they rolled out an AI component in early 2018: “Smart Redbooth”. It uses a prediction algorithm for various aspects of task assignment, such as selecting the best member for the task or predicting the amount of time needed to complete the task.

Redbooth features include multiple task management views (timeline, list, and board views), dashboards, and reports, whose intuitive graphic visualizations are above average. Right now, their communication tools include comments and HD video meetings (available in the Pro plan at $9/user/month), and a group chat feature is on their roadmap. Redbooth also provides higher-level project management tools such as Gantt charts and the ability to turn work processes into templates.

Redbooth integrations include dozens of apps: Box, Slack, Zapier, WebEx, Evernote, Clockify, Dropbox, Google Drive, and several others. It also integrates with Gmail and Outlook in order to quickly convert emails into tasks in Redbooth. They offer a mobile app for both iOS and Android.

Redbooth costs from $9/user/month.

14 days free trial

From $9/user/month

14

Podio

Best collaboration tool for automating workflows

Podio covers a range of project management functions such as task management, file sharing, and project communication, but its main emphasis is on workflow automation. For teams whose collaboration requires clearly defined roles and process workflows, Podio is a good choice.

Podio’s collaboration tools include essentials like file sharing (including with clients), chat, and an activity stream that provides an overview of progress. And although you’d need an extension to make a Gantt chart, the scheduling tool does allow you to manage milestones and deadlines. Something unique about Podio is that it enables you to quickly create customized “apps”, which in this case are built with a drag-and-drop tool and use to build custom workflows.

Podio also comes with a number of useful out-of-the-box integrations like Dropbox, Evernote, and GoToMeeting (among others), and if that doesn’t fit your requirements, their open API can be used to connect to additional services. Additionally, they offer a library of extensions built by third-party developers, which can add functionality for time-tracking, resource scheduling, CRM, and more. Podio also has a mobile app for Android and iOS.

Podio costs from $7.20/user/month.

Summary of Podio:

  1. Project discussions: Pass
  2. File upload and sharing: Pass
  3. To-do list and assigning tasks: Pass
  4. Events/project milestones: Pass
  5. Integration (with other types of tools): Pass

From $7.20/user/month

15

Notion

Best for simple, clean user interface

Notion is a lightweight collaboration tool with a clean, simple interface. The tool has 4 main functional areas: documentation, knowledge base (wiki), task and project management, and spreadsheets/databases. This tool is well-suited to teams or individuals who use a combination of tools like Google Sheets, Airtable, Trello, and Evernote because this tool combines the capability of all of these management tools into one application.

Notion’s features include a drag-and-drop task management interface, complete with Kanban board, calendar, task notifications, and workflow templates. Overall, it’s a practical collaboration tool that’s easy to learn to use. However, this tool does offer less in terms of project management, lacking some of the progress reporting and milestone features available in other collaboration tools.

Notion currently integrates with common tools like Figma, Invision, Framer, Latex, Twitter, Github Gist, and improvements like integration with Zapier and APIs are on the app’s roadmap.

Notion costs from $4/month for a single user.

Summary of Notion:

  • Project discussions: Pass
  • File upload and sharing: Pass
  • To-do list and assigning tasks: Pass
  • Events/project milestones: Pass
  • Integration (with other types of tools): Pass

From $4/user/month

Need expert help selecting the right Project Collaboration Software?

We’ve joined up with the software comparison platform Crozdesk.com to assist you in finding the right software. Crozdesk’s Project Collaboration Software advisors can create a personalized shortlist of software solutions for you. Their unbiased recommendations will help you identify the solutions that best suit your business’s needs. Through our partnership you get free access to their bespoke software selection advice, removing both time and hassle from the research process.

It only takes a minute to submit your requirements and they will give you a quick call at no cost or commitment. Based on your needs you’ll receive customized software shortlists listing the best-fitting solutions from their team of software advisors (via phone or email). They can even connect you with your selected vendor choices along with community negotiated discounts. To get started, please complete the form below:

Collaboration Tools Summary Chart

Tool Free Option Price
1
Smartsheet

Client approvals, comments, and team feedback made simple through Smartsheet proofs

30 days free trial

From $7/user/month Check out Smartsheet
2
Bynder

Real time collaboration tools around visual and creative asset creation and proofing

14-day free trial

Check out Bynder
3
Kintone

Dedicated threads within each workspace to discuss specific topics

30 days free trial

From $24/user/month Check out Kintone
4
monday.com

External user collaboration using guest invites to a board

14 days free trial

From $6/user/month Check out monday.com
5
Asana

Dedicated space for conversations and discussions related to a project

Free version

From 9.99/user/month Check out Asana
6
Teamwork

Company-wide chat feature with video call capability to improve communication

Freemium version

30 days free trial

From $10/user/month Check out Teamwork
7
Nutcache

Task progress sharing directly on the project Gantt chart

14 days free trial

From $6/user/month Check out Nutcache
8
Evernote

Dedicated collaboration spaces with permissions so you decide who has access

Free trial

From $9.99/month Check out Evernote
9
Pastel

Focused collaboration on digital assets to fast track approvals

14 days free trial

From $49/month Check out Pastel
10
Gain

Team collaboration on marketing collateral to streamline content creation

30 days free trial

From $99/month Check out Gain
11
Milanote

Visual collaboration through team built visual boards

Freemium version

From $9.99/user/month Check out Milanote
12
Redbooth

AI-powered collaboration software with threaded conversations to prevent misunderstandings

14 days free trial

From $9/user/month Check out Redbooth
13
Creately

Canvas collaboration with in-app video conferencing feature

Freemium version

From $18/month with a 30-day money back guarantee Check out Creately
14
Podio

Best collaboration tool for automating workflows

Freemium version

From $7.20/user/month Check out Podio
15
Notion

Best for simple, clean user interface

Freemium version

From $4/user/month Check out Notion

Other Online Collaboration Tools

Although we haven’t included these in the review, there are some other collaboration tools that we haven’t had the chance to dive into fully yet. Below is a list of a few additional collaboration tool options for your agency or studio:

  1. Basecamp

    Best collaboration tool for scaling teams

  2. Gmelius

    Best collaboration tool for Gmail

  3. Huddle

    Best document collaboration tool

  4. Todoist

    Best user experience

  5. Moovia

    Best collaboration tool for beginners

  6. Samepage

    Best real-time collaboration tool

  7. ClickUp

    Doc collaboration with live cursor and collaboration detection to prevent overlap

What Are Collaboration Tools?

An online collaboration tool enables a more coordinated workflow. How? by providing a unified collaborative platform for team discussion, file sharing, online storage for documentation, task assignments, and real-time project collaboration. At their heart, collaboration tools are all about aligning people.

Collaboration software comes in many forms. You’re probably familiar with Slack, a common collaboration online tool with a focus on group instant messaging. And you’re undoubtedly familiar with widely-used Google collaboration tools (Drive, Docs, Sheets, Hangouts) or perhaps Microsoft collaboration tools (SharePoint, One Drive).

Yes, collaboration online tools can be basic as the familiar Skype (one of MS collaboration tools) or even your good old email account. Modern collaboration apps take collaboration a step further by unifying all of these work interactions within a single online collaborative tool.

What Are The Benefits Of Collaboration Software?

When all project communication, files, and progress are centralized in one place, your team benefits from a clearer exchange of information that will help you avoid miscommunication. If you’ve ever made the mistake of sending an outdated version of a shared document to a client, you’ll understand why collaboration is important.

The benefits of collaboration tools go far beyond improvements in communication, however—with everything accessible in one place, your process becomes more efficient, and you’ll gain a more accurate insight into your project’s progress.

How To Pick The Best Online Collaboration Tool For Your Team?

Before choosing a project collaboration tool, narrow down your choices by considering these questions:

What Do You Need It For?

Make a list of your requirements, and prioritize them. For example, some team collaboration tools are designed with creative teams in mind, with virtual whiteboards and interactive idea mapping tools, while others are suited to teams who require a structured, automated workflow to manage complex task dependencies. Some tools are more suited to client-facing environments than others—if you’re in close collaboration with partners and clients, make sure your collaboration tool facilitates this with multiple levels of permissions for sharing project communication, updates, and files.

Related Read: 10 Best Workflow Diagram Software To Help Chart People & Processes [2022]

What’s The Size Of Your Team?

How many people will use the software—and where are they? Just because your team is small doesn’t mean you’ll be able to get by with something lightweight. For example, a small team that’s entirely remote will likely require one of the more robust group collaboration tools, in contrast with a team who shares an office. If you work with a large number of contractors, you need a tool that allows you to collaborate with third parties. If you’ve got a large team of developers, having a team wiki, along with plenty of storage for documentation, is going to be an important consideration.

How Would That Fit Into Your Workflow?

Is your team always online, or would you need something that works offline? How well does it fit into the landscape with all of you other tools? The right collaboration platforms can be used to replace a combination of existing tools, performing the functions of file sharing apps and communication apps all in one.

How Long To Set It Up?

Is it easy to implement? Does it import data from the tools you’re currently using? Does the app offer technical support (and will you need it)? Finally, check to see whether the solution is hosted or if you’ll be maintaining the infrastructure behind it. Most of the time, collaborative tools are hosted online, but it’s good to check just in case.

What’s The Learning Curve?

How easy will it be to onboard team members? Most tools for online project collaboration are relatively easy to learn, but if your team has only worked with email, then using a new collaboration system will be difficult at first.

How Much Does It Cost?

The majority of collaborative project management tools charge per user, per month. If you plan to grow your team, how will the price increase affect your budget? Likewise, will you need to extend the capabilities of the, paying for additional functionality as your business expands?

What Do You Think?

This is only a small list of the many collaboration tools out there. What do you think are the best collaboration tools? How do you decide what works best for your project and team?

Comment below, or become a member to access the DPM community forum where you can swap tool recommendations and share best practices with 100s of digital project professionals. Hope to see you there!

Related Read:

Related List of Tools: monday.com Competitors And Alternatives

By Ben Aston

I’m Ben Aston, a digital project manager and founder of thedpm.com. I've been in the industry for more than 15 years working in the UK at London’s top digital agencies including Dare, Wunderman, Lowe and DDB. I’ve delivered everything from film to CMS', games to advertising and eCRM to eCommerce sites. I’ve been fortunate enough to work across a wide range of great clients; automotive brands including Land Rover, Volkswagen and Honda; Utility brands including BT, British Gas and Exxon, FMCG brands such as Unilever, and consumer electronics brands including Sony.

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