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Summary:

Startups, in particular, need tools that don’t get in the way of the big project the team may be focused on. They often have a need for a simple tool that will keep the team on track while still allowing for flexibility as the project evolves.

Every organization has its own needs when it comes to picking out collaboration tools. Startups, in particular, need tools that don’t get in the way of the big project the team may be focused on. They often have a need for a simple tool that will keep the team on track while still allowing for flexibility as the project evolves.

With that need in mind, I asked the teams behind several startups what tools they use to collaborate. There was a definite split between the tools teams use for rolling out a specific product or project, and the tools startups use when they’ve got a longer development plan ahead of them. These are the tools that fit with specific projects or products.

  1. Ta-da List: Veribook uses Ta-da List. Keith Chung says, “We’re a small two person start-up that works separately probably 99 percent of the time. However, we work incredibly closely developing our website using Ta-da List almost exclusively. By having a series of sortable to-do lists that we share, we’ve been able to develop dozens of features, debug hundreds of bugs, and fulfill numerous business requirements. While we understand that there are better and more robust tools out there, we find a simple, easy-to-use, and fast app such as Ta-da List great for a small company such as us.”
  2. Notable: ClickEquations used Notable for a recent website redesign. Alex Cohen says, “I found Notable through Techcrunch. It stuck with me, because I used to send design feedback either by writing long emails with bullet points or marking up drafts and scanning them. Obviously, that’s incredibly inefficient and not a process that works during a website redesign with multiple stakeholders. I took to Notable, because it’s easy-to-use, simple to refer back to my notes and I could share my feedback with the designers, my CEO and coders all at once. All that for a pretty low price and no contract made it a no-brainer.”
  3. Pivotal Tracker: Future Simple uses Pivotal Tracker. Uzi Shmilovici says, “For us, as we continuously build and improve PipeJump — our simple CRM for small businesses — Pivotal Tracker has been tremendous. To start with, it helps us organize the roadmap for the product and stay on top of the next tasks that need to be performed. That is super valuable by itself and helps bring a lot of order to our day to day development process. The really great thing about Pivotal though, is that every task is measured by points. The points not only reflect the complexity of the task but most importantly the amount of value we create for our customers. Every task (or story, as they are called in Pivotal) is written from a user-centric point of view. So for instance, a story can be: ‘As a user, I want to receive a weekly PDF report about our won deals to my inbox.’ That not only helps the developer understand what the task on hand is, but also helps him understand how valuable and important is this task for our users. At the end of the week you can look at the number of points achieved as a measure for the progress in the product.”

What collaboration tools do you use in your startup?

Photo by Flickr user Hotel Casavelas, licensed under CC 2.0.

Related GigaOM Pro content (sub. req.): Report: The Real-Time Enterprise

  1. we work from 4 different continents and a team of 5. we use skype and the screen sharing option is great – Students Circle Network – http://studentscircle.net/

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  2. Notables sounds pretty great. Might have to check that one out.

    I use a ridiculous amount of Google Docs. I know it’s not everyone’s favorite, but it’s free, and it’s easy to share within one e-mail domain for everyone in my company.

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