Startups need to do more faster, it is essential to juggle a lot of things at the same time for success. Fortunately, our fellow entrepreneurs have created awesome tools that help us manage a lot of things efficiently. In this post, I am going to go over a few of these tools that have been recommended by a lot of entrepreneurs either online or during my meetings with them. I also have a personal stack that I can’t live without, but I will try not to be biased in this lineup of startup tools of the trade.
You might have a small team that do not need to use external software for collaboration, but if you entire team is not under one roof you should depend on a tool of your choice for collaboration. Even if your team is under one roof there are some tools that can still improve your productivity by simplifying the business process.
Dropbox is a great tool for managing files and folders across multiple devices. The files are stored online and thus are accessible over the Internet as well. You could also share these files with your colleagues very easily. I have a good use of Dropbox. You know how it is painful to update your CV on your website every time you have something to update? For instance, I published a lot of papers during the fourth year of my PhD. I had to change my CV to add that publication in it. What I did was, I created an iframe tag on my personal site, where the link to the pdf file of my CV was from my Dropbox folder. Now, every time I make changes to my local copy, it gets updated across all my devices as well as my website. No more logging in and uploading a new file manually to update just one piece of information.
Dropbox offers 2GB of free storage that could go up to 18GB if you refer people (500 MB per referral). If you need more space, you could go for either a $10 a month plan with up to 500 GB or have DropBox for business for space up to 1 TB for $795 per year for up to 5 users.
Since Microsoft bought Skype they have ruined the product a little. However, it is still a good software for online meetings. I also mentioned Lync as you never know when they decide to merge these two into one software. I am sure they will do it some day. Skype allows you to have video calls either one-on-one or in a group. The group calling feature of Skype is a premium feature, but Google hangout allows you to have a group video call for free.
Basecamp is a great tool for teams to communicate and collaborate. You will see this versatile tool appear again in this lineup. Basecamp allows you to create projects and organize discussions, to-d0 lists, and related files all on just one page.
There are a lot of other tools here and there, but nothing that got recommended heavily by people in my circle or even online. If you swear by a tool, not included here, please leave its name as a comment below.
Project management tools are important for all teams. Not only they let you track the real progress of your project, it could avoid communication gaps between the idea person and the developer.
This is my favorite tool for project management. We use Pivotal Tracker for Bookup, but it was not the first or only tool we tried to work with. There is a long list of tools that we used and finally settled on Pivotal Tracker. It lets you create projects and assign points to every task under those projects. The task gets assigned to a team member who can update the status of the task and finally delivers the task. The entire process lets you keep track of the project progress.
Basecamp is another good project management tool, it appears to be more popular then Pivotal Tracker for project management among my circles.
I cannot count how many times people have spoken about Trello as their favorite tool for project management. I need to try it out some time soon. If you are using Trello, let me know how is it different from Pivotal Tracker or Basecamp. The only difference that made sense to me was that Trello is more specific to stakeholders in a technical project lifecycle.
For code management there are very few leaders when you want to keep the privacy of the code. However, there is still enough competition to win your business.
Github is one of the popular (if not most popular) service for code management based on Git source code management system. We are using GitHub for Bookup, it helps us publish code to the repository and then post-push hooks help us deploy the code to our server on Windows Azure. Simply put, we test the code using a staging server and then push it to our Github repo to get it Live. This serves two purposes, it makes a record of changes and then it saves us the hassles of connecting to the FTP to update the website.
BitBucket is better for smaller companies. If you only have 5 or less users, you can opt for their free version. The primary difference between GitHub and BitBucket pricing is that BitBucket gives unlimited repos and charges you for user count while GitHub charges you for private repos but you can have unlimited collaborators.