17 February 2016

It’s not just BIM projects that encourage and benefit from greater collaboration. Whatever your profession, chances are your projects have taken on a more collaborative feel over the past few years.

Telephones and then the internet have helped make it possible to draw upon a larger range of contributors working from home or the four corners of the globe. However, with these new freedoms come new challenges – how to share ideas, files, communication and make sense of the chaos.

Just as the fax machine made way for email, increasingly email and messaging apps are making way for a new wave of online tools – some free, some paid for. Here we round up some worth taking for a spin. Why not try some out and see which might fit where to help improve your project process?


Trello is an online ‘card’-based to-do list that can be shared with any number of contributors in real-time. Each card provides opportunities for discussion and can allow text, photos and other files to be assembled in one place, ready for use. The tool offers the ability to create multiple checklists for each card that can be marked off when complete. By viewing only those cards you’re contributing to, Trello serves as a good way of keeping a watchful eye across all your collaborative tasks.


Yammer is a private social network for companies with access restricted to those with a verified company email address .The tool has become more closely integrated with both Office 365 and SharePoint following its acquisition by Microsoft back in 2012.


Slack aims to bring all your communication together in one place, offering real-time messaging, archive and a powerful search. With a range of powerful integrations and customisations (establishing alerts to trigger when keywords are used in conversation, for example) and an Emoji-rich messaging environment, Slack has won critical acclaim since its launch back in 2013.


If you like your software flexible and customisable, LiquidPlanner is probably not for you. Here’s a tool that wants you to manage your projects in a very specific way – the Liquid Approach. The payback is a powerful automated scheduling function, workload intelligence and an advanced analytics suite.


Basecamp has quite the pedigree – launching way back in  2004, offering interactive to-do lists, milestone management, messaging, file sharing and time tracking, and a range of integrations with other applications.


Podio is Citrix’s take on collaboration – offering a place for “all the stuff in your daily work life you wish could just go somewhere for your team to see”. Expect file sharing, the usual organisation and discussion and task management tools.


This online collaboration tool has a particular focus on online tutoring, offering live audio, chat, whiteboard, image and document sharing functionality.


An online workspace to get your thoughts down visually, pulling in multimedia elements to bring your ideas to life.


A web-based mindmapping tool that allows you to capture, develop and share ideas visually.


Designed with marketing and remote teams in mind, Conceptboard allows you to work on visual content and brainstorm ideas with anyone, from anywhere.


Developed for designers (and surrounding teams) to share, manage and approve their creative work.

Red Pen

Another tool with a visual focus offering a way to drag, drop and point to comment and collaborate with colleagues across a range of versioned files with the minimum of fuss.