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5 Best Collaboration Tools That Will Improve Your Workflow

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A team leader’s role is to take a group of people who have diverse yet complementary skills, and variable degrees of experience, and mold them into a cohesive team.  And make them work together toward a common objective.

These same skills that can do so much when given proper direction can just as easily undermine the chances of a project’s success. If that direction is not there.

A good choice of project management and collaboration tools can play an important, and even a key role.

The right tools can make workflow proceed smoothly. Make the design process as a whole more transparent, and encourage collaboration among team members.

Freelancers can also benefit by having the right project or task management tools on hand.

Even the best tools can’t do everything. Team leaders need to get their teams working together with a common purpose in mind. Following these guidelines will help make that happen.

1) Constantly clarify team member roles. A lack of clarity or overlapping roles can only lead to confusion, oversights, and a duplication of effort.

2) Explicitly state responsibilities. Making the entire team, or even a small group, responsible for an action seldom works. Define and assign responsibilities at the individual level.

3) Identify who handles each decision. This can be done at an individual or on a group basis. In the latter case, how a decision is to be reached must be made clear.

4) Constantly review team and project goals. Doing so ensures everyone will stay focused.

5) Assign specific tools for specific functions. Don’t mix them up.

The following tools were selected because they will meet almost any team’s or individual’s specific need or needs.




Sharing ideas without interrupting your workflow should not be complicated. This is where Wake shines. An example: Capture ideas or information in your notebook or on your whiteboard with Wake’s iPhone app, and share it with others. Instantly. The iPhone app also allows you to stay up-to-date on project happenings when you’re away from the office or on the go.

You can also upload and share screenshots, sketches, etc., without having to interrupt or leave your Illustrator, Sketch, or Photoshop session. If you want to share animations or videos of your prototypes –  it’s no problem.

Wake makes the design process more transparent for all parties concerned. You can share information publicly, or share it privately to a selected few. You can use Wake to show everyone what everyone is working on.

Sign up for a free 30-day trial and see if Wake is the right solution for you or for your team. Several plans are available, ranging from a $22/month starter plan, to a Pro Custom plan for heavy users.




InVision’s prototyping, collaboration, and workflow capabilities are integrated within a single platform. This design-driven project management platform makes it possible for design teams and freelancers alike to prototype, share, review and modify, and user test their mobile and web products.

With InVision, you can upload a design file, and add animations, gestures, and transformations to create a high-fidelity, interactive prototype within 5 minutes. InVision also simplifies your feedback process by allowing team members and stakeholders to seamlessly comment on your designs in real time.

You can manage project screens and statuses from a single location, and notify team members when changes in status have occurred.

2 million designers have used InVision, ranging from freelancers and small design agencies, to large companies like General Motors, Nike, and Apple. Ask for the free trial that allows you to work with a single prototype, while you learn more about InVision’s features and functions.


Active Collab


If your team uses separate apps for task management, time tracking, and invoicing, or communicates and reports status via email, you should consider trying Active Collab. It’s a simple, yet powerful project management tool that lets you do all these activities from a single platform, while managing your team’s collaboration activities as well.

Like most browser apps, Active Collab runs on the cloud. All you need to do is subscribe. No setup is required on your part.

Active Collab currently has a huge user base. More than 200,000 designers and project managers use it on a regular basis. You can try this powerful app for free for 30-days, which gives you plenty of time to check out its features, functions, and pricing plans.




Paymo is designed to make project management easy. You can add or change tasks quickly, organize tasks into task lists, and reorder them whenever necessary with drag and drop.

Paymo’s visual Kanban boards and Gantt chart allow you to create your workflows by organizing tasks in sequential and logical steps.

This project management tool is well suited for teams working for small to medium-size companies. iOS and Android apps come with the package, as does a real-time collaboration capability. A 15-day unlimited free trial offers an opportunity for you to see if Paymo is the right solution for your team.




If you can pin notes to a board, you can use Pinnery, and this customizable project management tool will do a much better job of keeping everything organized than you could ever accomplish pinning notes to a board. Pinnery allows everything to be shared with everyone. Based on simplicity, this tool provides a perfect overview of the status of your project’s status.

Pinnery also encourages team collaboration. No installation is required, and you can start for free.



There’s a solution here for everyone. Whether you’re looking for a single multi-capability platform, or a project management and collaboration tool that is focused on task management.

Most of these tools function as browser apps. One features a private server option, and several packages include mobile apps than allow project managers to check status or provide input while away from the office. Each of these tools has a reputation for ease of use, so teams or individual designers will never be faced with having to deal with steep learning curves.

Each of these tools offers a free trial, or in some instances, free use.


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