The tools and tricks we use for top-notch teamwork

Published on September 19, 2017

We aren’t all born time managing geniuses or Zen masters of productivity but we become them with the help of the tools around us. Exactly the same goes for working as a team; seamless teamwork does not happen overnight. It requires the right know-how and tools. As a digital agency that works with different freelancers, remote and at the office, we have tried and tested different tools to ingrain (see what we did there) a positive workflow into our team.

It’s one thing to do it together, it’s another to do it well.

Ngrane Slack logo
Ngrane slack

What

We don’t slack on slack. We get things done (even if it’s a competition on who has the funniest GIF). Slack is like a super-powered version of a messenger app that can be used across multiple devices and platforms. It lets us chat one-on-one to our peers but also in groups across different channels. Yes, including a more relaxed channel, because GIF’s are basically modern-day bonding.

Why

Asking for feedback on UX? Questions about the latest blog post? Deciding on what time Happy Hour should start? Slack has us covered. Slack truly brings our team together, allowing us to split projects or themes in different channels, with only the appropriate members. What’s more, it easily connects with our other favorite apps, adding integrated context to our conversations and creating one passage of information instead of five, or ten. You can also upload files seamlessly, so in essence everything is in one place – possibly the best part.

Everything before Slack is like a blur of inconvenience. I’d had to work my way through a maze of emails, WhatsApp groups, Imessages and never really end up finding what I was looking for.

Annabel van Eijk

Ngrane Invision
Ngrane Invision

What

Pure high-fidelity goodness: Invision is a presentation tool that lets you seamlessly create interactive mockups for your design ideas. When your genius idea is all mocked up and ready to go, you can share it with your teams and/or clients.

Why

We’re creative people, if we may say so ourselves, and this app is clearly made with our kind in mind. It looks damn good for starters and makes our ideas look just as good as we dreamt them up. It’s also super easy to use and can really bring your ideas to life. You’ve got a comment on that slider? No problem, you can have the discussion right in the app instead of starting another trail of dreadful emails/WhatsApp messages/unwanted phone calls. All that saving time means we’ve got hours left on our hands to actually work on implementing the feedback in our projects, instead of just receiving it.

As a designer, I’m all about the visuals. Invision is perfect because it lets me visualize each phase of the project and split boards up in different units: making the process a breeze to follow.

Jeffrey Goodett

Ngrane Trello
Ngrane Trello Scrum

What

Trello is like the Beyonce of to-do lists or the Pinterest of planning. Glamorous yet approachable; it is a visual way to manage your projects effectively and become a boss in being organized. It uses a cloud-based software that lets you dissect your projects into different boards with multiple people.

Why

To-do lists are tedious and uninspiring by nature, unless you’re one of those bullet journaling sharpie-loving types. We like things digital and this app lets you move around boards as though they are old-school sticky notes with all the online convenience; digitally shareable, searchable and come with handy reminders. In just one quick glance you can see who’s working on what, what has been finished and when something is in process.

Trello works perfect with today’s agile methodology. The only thing I need to know is what are we doing the coming 2 weeks, what is in progress, what is ready to be reviewed and what is done. That’s it.

David van Delden

Ngrane whiteboard

A whiteboard and marker

Ah, those good old days. Sometimes it’s not a bad idea to switch off anything that buzzes or receives emails and get back into brainstorming. All you need is your team, anything big to write on and a marker. All those digital tools are super-efficient but it’s good to balance it out with some human-to-human contact. Yep, actual talking instead of typing.

Our stand-ups are also unmissable for effective teamwork, in which actual standing is a must. In 15 minutes, we all say what we’re doing that week and what we have done. No discussing, just the pure bliss of clarity.

A deeper emotional connection simply can’t be sparked through apps, no matter how great they are. That’s why I find it important, no crucial, to switch off our phones and come together in ‘real life’. It builds trust and gives spirit to collaboration, using all our senses to communicate. It’s not about time management, it’s about energy management.

Stephen Garcia

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About the author

Annabel van Eijk
Annabel van Eijk

Copywriter and Content Advisor, Annabel has got engaging stories at her fingertips. She is a digital native with a flair for fashion and lifestyle brands, blending branding expertise with a creative panache. Having travelled and lived around the world, she’s always gathering diverse inspiration to help her fuel unique brand voices.


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