Collaboration Tools for your projects
In the last months I worked with people from abroad or with big physical distances. The first time I thought, yeah that is not a problem. Everybody has got an internet connection and that is all what we need. In my old company the Liip AG - who I worked for - their whole project management and file management systems were almost accessible over an internet connection. For this reason I could work from everywhere I want. I thought, that would not change in my future time, because the internet has solutions for everything. Yeah, I have to say that is true. But it was not easy to find the right tools and services for exchanging ideas, files, time schedules and other stuff for free. My projects are not so big that it makes sense to implement this infrastructures by my own. I found some free or at least some cheap services which you can use for working together with friends or other small projects.
Idea Development and Sharing
Creating and developing ideas with people, who are not physical available, is not very easy. Maintaining and extending are also two not very minor problems. In the last time I found a very good workflow for me and my friends. We do a telephone conference via skype and in the same time we use the service Mindmeister (Online Mindmapping Tool) and the tool Balsamiq MockUp. At the moment our solution works good and it is totally free with some limitations. A more professional solution for idea development and exchange may be the Service ProtoShare. Unfortunately, there is no real free pricing model available, therefore I never tested this service.
Planning and Schedules Services
Sometimes you and your project members have to make choices or just finding the best time for an appointment. The services Doodle and WhenIsGood solve this problem very easily. I like the service doodle very much, because you can use it without any registration and you can make different kind of choices (timebased or any other).
Project Management Services
To arrange meetings is not everything. In most and even in small projects you have a rough imagination of a time schedule. This time schedule should be accessible for every project member in technical and visual form. Additional to this time schedule every project has got some documentation papers and project member information. All this information should be managed by a project management tool. A couple of project managment services are available on the internet. I am using huddle at the moment and I am quite satisfied with it. It has one free pricing model and the features are good enough for small projects. The project management services Basecamp and activeCollab are looking more professional and delivers some useful extensions (e.g. a Mobile Client Software). Unfortunately, there is no free pricing model available, only a fix testing period.
Coding and design file Hosting
In my case, we did many visual coding projects. For this reason we are using Version Management for Coding and even a Version Managment for Adobe Photoshop files. Richard Davey wrote a small blog post about it. I think the very well known free services are Google Code, GitHub and SourceForge.net. Using the SVN service Beanstalk in relation with the PixelNovel (Adobe Photoshop Version Management service) is a very powerful and simple tool, I guess...
(Short) temporal data storage
Sometimes you have to exchange some data files. That could be a file transfer from your university computer to your home computer or sending huge files to other friends (or project members). For private purposes, the service Dropbox seems to be nice. For data, which should be only available for a short time and the data is not top secret for other people, I recommend to use the common upload file services (thx Hugo and Anca for the links):
- http://www.filebox.com - 100 Gb
- http://megashares.com - 10 Gb
- http://www.filesavr.com - 10 Gb
- http://www.filezzz.com - 10 Gb
- http://www.yourfilelink.com - 5 Gb
- http://gettyfile.ru - 4.7 Gb
- http://qshare.com - 4 Gb
- http://depositfiles.com - 2 Gb
- http://www.2shared.com - 2 Gb
- http://shareua.com - 2 Gb
- http://uploadbox.com - 2 Gb
- http://www.flyupload.com - 2 Gb
- http://fileshare.in.ua - 2 Gb
- http://www.badongo.com - 2 Gb
- http://rapidshare.ru - 1.5 Gb
- http://getfile.biz - 1 Gb
- http://www.megaupload.com - 1 Gb
- http://www.transferbigfiles.com - 1 Gb
- http://usershare.net - 1 Gb
- http://www.filesave.me - 1 Gb
- http://www.storage.to - 1 Gb
- http://www.sharingmatrix.com - 1 Gb
- http://dataup.to - 1 Gb
- http://www.uploadline.com - 1 Gb
- http://dl.free.fr - 1 Gb
- http://www.mystream.to - 1 Gb
- http://filez.bz - 1 Gb?
- http://filebase.to - 1 Gb
- http://www.savefile.com - unknown
I hope you liked my short list of collaboration tools and services. If anything missing for you, check these two articles Work Together: 60+ Collaborative Tools for Groups and 10 Free SVN & Project Hosting Services, and a very good mindmap, or check my links for collaboration and project management. And of course, feel free to add a comment. 🙂