Our Favourite Apps for Workflow & Productivity
Here at DBD there are a number of apps we use on a daily basis that have become essential tools for helping with workflow and overall productivity within the studio. We’ve outlined a couple below that we find the most useful. Arguably the most important of these is our all-encompassing project management tool, Teamwork Projects.
“I’m not sure how we ever managed without Teamwork. As our team and workload have grown it has become an integral part to help us run Design By Day. Most importantly it works for all staff, on all levels, from simply checking daily tasks, through to managing whole projects and their deadlines.”
– Sami France, Project Manager
Teamwork Projects is an intuitive and easy to use online app with a spritely interface and an abundance of useful features. As a creative agency, having a great project management system is essential to our business. So much of what we do can only be achieved with concise project management. Teamwork Projects is a really useful browser based project management application that allows us to track time and progress, set reminders, set work timelines and milestones, adjust privacy options, attach files, manage projects and even interact with clients and collaborators. It is a hub for sharing project materials, messages and recording hours.
Due to the importance of finding a project management app that met all our requirements, it naturally took us a little bit of time and some trial and error to find the right application to suit our needs. We tried a couple of other apps such as Basecamp and Harvest (both great apps in their own right but neither having all of the specific features we were looking for) before finally settling on Teamwork Projects.
The only drawbacks we have encountered are when you add a task, for example starting Monday and due for Friday, it only shows in the calendar on the day its due (as opposed to all the days before it). There is also a lack of a solid on board chat option. However that brings me on to our next app…
“Atrocious language from one so young!”
– Slackbot, Personal Assistant and helpful Bot
Teamwork Projects really hit the mark for all our project management needs, however there was still a gap in our workflow. Not all of our team members are based in the studio 100% of the time, which occasionally led to breakdowns in communication or projects stalling via internal emails. Internal emailing can be clunky when discussing a project, sometimes a real-time chat solution is what’s called for. Slack was the answer to our problem!
Slack streamlines communication between team members using areas called channels. It doesn’t replace email, but it does help cut down large bloated internal email threads. Each project can have its own channel; a space for team conversation, sharing files or asking questions. Most importantly, you can contact each member of the team publicly or privately in real time.
Something lacking in Slack that we would really appreciate as a team would be the ability to share screens during video / audio chat. Because of this we find ourselves hopping over to Skype for any screen sharing needs.
“Xero is easy to use and helps us spend less time on financial tasks and more time on our client’s projects – our accountants specialise in Xero which really helps keep the whole process painless!”
– Angela Roche, Creative Director
Like any business, keeping track of finances is important! Our app of choice is Xero; online accounting software with small businesses in mind. We favour Xero for a number of reasons. Firstly, the dashboard is really easy to navigate. This makes a huge difference when deciding between applications. Xero also connects to our online banking so we can view the bank balance in one place.
The summary of sales section is particularly useful, as we can quickly see what is overdue, what is due to come in, and who owes what. Along with thorough records and transaction forms, all sales are recorded in a history within each invoice. So this means we can see who has been invoiced, when they were reminded (and how many times) and when they were paid.
Perhaps our favourite feature is the ability to email invoices and reminders through Xero directly, keeping everything all in one place.
“Being able to see a screenshot and notes of a bug that needs fixing rather than having to decipher a word document is great!”
– Stuart Grierson, Web Developer
As a digital agency we design and develop a lot of websites. A big part of the web design process is refining a build through iterations. One of the handiest apps we use to bridge the gap between design and development, and all the amends that entail, is BugHerd.
BugHerd is a browser based application for reporting issues with websites aimed at designers and developers. It allows clients and ourselves to add pinpoint feedback as tasks with accompanying screenshots of the issue. Using a browser extension you can use BugHerd’s in-page feedback feature to report issues directly from the site itself. Clients can click and comment directly onto the troublesome area, which is then added to the task list.
It also has a smart task board area which displays task lists and scheduled tasks for all project members. Tasks can be assigned and scheduled with a simple and easy to use drag-and-drop interface.
Much like Slack, BugHerd allows us to streamline a once convoluted and tiresome process. BugHerd enables us to bypass lengthy or complicated explanations of amends via email.
BugHerd is a simple yet powerful tool. However it can, from time to time, be a little bit buggy (the irony!). Still, for the most part its a great app that has streamlined our entire web building process.
Liked this post?
Be the first to receive new craft & code news, hints & tips!