If you have been outsourcing on any of your projects, you can certainly agree that managing tasks and sharing files can be a daunting task at times. As someone who routinely works with outsourcers, as I have built my own team of programmers and task assistants, I have been using several tools that have made management of my projects and team a snap. Today, I would like to share these with you.
The first tool I would like to share with you is DropBox. You may already know about this cloud based solution that syncs your files and allows folder sharing, but for those of you who don’t, you will want to get an account after I tell you what it does. DropBox not only helps you store your files off site, but also makes sharing your files with your outsourcer or outsource team a snap! Let’s say that you are working with a programmer that is doing layout and design for one of your sites and he or she is dependent upon you to share images, high res files – illustrator or photoshop, written directives, copy, etc. When you use DropBox you can set up share folders between you and your outsourcer or team and when someone within your group updates a file, or uploads new docs, etc for discussion or approval, it automagically syncs to your account.
No more attaching emails and countless threads with forwards and replys. No more uploading to servers via FTP. No more
This will make life and sharing of files so much easier. And, everyone likes easy.
When you initially garner your DropBox account, you can get it for free! In fact, if you install DropBox on your computer and go through the steps required you can boost your free storage. In addition, you can share you link with your friends, family or if you have a community based site – you can share your link and upgrade your account all the way to 8 GB of storage! How rad is that? Now, should you choose to upgrade your account to create a larger cloud for your business, you can pay for additional space. Also worthy of noting is DropBox’s app that you can place on your smartphone, thereby allowing you to see and share your files no matter
where you are.
Get your FREE DropBox account
The next tool I would like to talk about is JING by Techsmith – makers of Camtasia. JING is by far one of my favorite management tools. JING has made it possible to quicky take a photo of your desktop or video your desktop where you can give feedback on any files, designs, coding, website behaviors, etc. Anything that you want to leave remarks on via snapshot or via walkthrough video,
JING will help you do that. For instance, I recenlty created my own datafeed software that was built on the Cake platform. I successfully used JING to create screencast videos that explicity showed myoutsourcer what I wanted the software to do on my website. There were times that I would speak about site behaviors, navigation behaviors, cron jobs, and more.
Example: Navigation adjustments -
I fired up JING and selected my desktop to record and would say something like – Hey team, I see that you implemented the newly designed buttons into the navigation but I am not happy with the way the dropdowns menus look. (I would then navigate my website and show them exactly what I didn’t like about the behavior and the design) I would continue – You see the way the drop downs are dark grey and the font is a medium grey, that is hard on the eyes. is there anyway that we can change those colors quickly so that I can test?
Here is the awesome part that I haven’t disclosed yet. Whenever I would finish my screencast, I would then upload to JING servers and then I would get my very own screencast url that I could share with my team over our Skype group OR share with my team across another management platform that I will talk about in a subsequent post. This means that while talking with my team on skype we could fire up the screencast link at the same time and watch the video together and I could offer feedback over skype!! This saved me so much time. Can you imagine typing all of that stuff out without visuals in hopes that someone will understand what I am saying in the context of my language? Me neither – it would just eat up too much time.
While JING PRO isn’t free, it is well worth the cost.
I think I will end here, but note that I will come back with another post where I will talk about some other awesome tools that will help you stay organized and aid you in managing your outsourcer or outsource team.
Even if you don’t have an outsourcer or team, DropBox, is worthy of having just for the sake of having redundancy and a back up of your files. Plus it’s always nice to be able to access your work no matter where you are.