Work Smarter, Not Harder With These Tech Tools

technology Associations Now November/December 2014 By: Layla Masri

Do you dream of seamless workflow and painless project management? Here's a list of tried-and-true technology solutions to keep your office and teams running more efficiently and effectively.

No matter what size office you have or what role you play, efficiency is vital to effective teamwork. But putting together the right combination of tools that play nicely together and help you work smoothly can pose a challenge. Here are a few that I consider essential for any busy office:

Basecamp. This web and mobile project-management software streamlines project communications, scheduling, milestone tracking, asset sharing, and workflow from an easy-to-use interface. Whether you're trying to stay on top of conference planning or launching a new member benefit, Basecamp will help you define and delegate work across teams. The dashboard lets you review and set deadlines, track progress, assign tasks, share resources, and consolidate conversations in threaded discussions.

Google apps. Google's workplace apps for communication, calendars, document creation, and storage are timesavers for both interoffice and external constituent work. With web, mobile, and app access as well as centralized cloud storage, your team can streamline communications and maximize productivity in real time. A few of my favorites:

  • Google Drive lets you share a single, collaborative document in the cloud for quick editing, recall, and sharing.
  • Google Docs allow you to create, copy, and share documents—handy for those files you use again and again.
  • Google Hangouts provide instant messaging and video communication on your desktop, tablet, or phone. You can share your screen, give presentations, and chat as you work.

JIRA. Tracking issues or bugs across a team can be challenging. JIRA allows you to create tickets describing the issue (you can upload screenshots and videos too) and assign the resolution to a staffer. The system can document corrections, fixes, and comments as the task moves toward completion. It also documents a status change once finalized.

Dropbox. This now almost ubiquitous tool makes sharing photos, documents, and videos easy. You can organize folders with different users and permissions and share those across internal and external teams via the cloud—ideal for convenience and security.

Pen and paper. Tech tools are great, but I'd be remiss if I didn't give a shout-out to the good old pen-and-paper list. No matter how many tools, tips, tricks, and techniques I have for organizing my tasks online, I would be lost without my weekly paper to-do list sitting next to me.

Layla Masri

Layla Masri is president of Bean Creative in Alexandria, Virginia.