6 tools to help startups collaborate remotely on a budget

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We all know about Slack, but what are other tools that can make a significant difference in collaboration when you're on a budget? We built a shortlist of apps and platforms that we love, along with the use case we have for them.

Our criteria:

  • It has to be dead simple to use.
  • It needs to be built for rapid, open collaboration.
  • It should be free to get started.

Tandem: audio chat and screen sharing

When you're on a remote team you often have to jump on a screen share to clarify a point. Zoom is great but still requires a few steps to start a session and invite people. The privacy options can also get in the way of rapid collaboration—we've all done the "can you give me permission to share?" dance.

With Tandem, it only takes one click to start a call with your colleagues. It feels like having everyone on (respectful) speed dial, and the screen sharing features are just amazing. You can see where everyone's cursor is, and even take control of their keyboard remotely if needed. It may sound scary, but it's really practical for pairing sessions.

Confluence: long-form writing

Every team needs a place to take notes, write specs and discuss strategy. Notion is a popular option, but it doesn't fit our budget criteria as there are no free plans for small teams.

Our pick for content is Confluence. It's an incredibly versatile and flexible platform that allows you to capture and discuss notes, and it is one of the best editor experience that exists. There are macros and integrations for almost everything and it's super easy to create and manage tables (if you know, you know).

Miro: online whiteboarding

How do you brainstorm ideas when you're sitting thousands of kms from each other? You use an online whiteboard. Miro has mastered the art of remote idea generation by making it dead simple to have multiple people contributing live.

I personally love how easy it is to see everyone's focus and how much freedom there is to organize thoughts. It can become messy at times, but there are many templates to help you start with a structure, and it's also why we use Confluence mentioned above. Miro for exploration, Confluence to capture the summary.

Tability: OKRs and accountability

All teams need a sense of direction, but this is even more critical for remote teams. You can add OKRs in a spreadsheet, but they'll quickly get forgotten and there's little opportunity for feedback. Tability turns what's generally seen as a boring chore into a dynamic collaboration process to keep everyone engaged with the strategy.

We use Tability internally to visualize progress on our goals and keep ourselves accountable. It's the first thing that we look at every week, and it helps us make better decisions about our roadmap. The great thing about the platform is that it provides many insights out of the box—no need to spend hours linking OKRs or creating reports.

Loom: async demos and feedback

Last but not least on our list, there's Loom. There are times when it's hard to give proper feedback with just text, especially when it's about UX or complex projects.

What makes a huge difference is the ability to start capturing your screen within seconds, and then get a shareable link as soon as you finish recording. No need to wait for the data to upload, no need to add a title or description.

Bordio: task management

Managing duties, both personal and team-based, may become daunting in today's fast-paced environment. Traditional task organizers are either extremely simple or overly complex, resulting in bloated lists and lost opportunities. Bordio changes this process by providing a free, all-encompassing platform for all of your task management requirements.

We use Bordio internally to streamline our daily schedules, collaborate on team initiatives, and guarantee we never lose sight of innovative ideas. Bordio is our go-to each morning, providing a glimpse of our day and assisting us in allocating resources appropriately. Its user-friendly design does more than just list activities; it breathes life into them, transforming burdensome tasks into attainable milestones. No more juggling several tools; Bordio has you covered right out of the box.

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Sten Pittet

Co-founder and CEO, Tability

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