September 14, 2020 by Rachael Blake
In our all-virtual work world now, it can be very useful to have multiple ways of communicating with your team. Having multiple lines of communication can provide for all people to have input in a way they are comfortable with, and foster asynchronous collaboration. It also makes the work of your team more transparent to all participants.
There are many technological solutions out there, but figuring out what the options are, and how to use them effectively in combination may be more difficult. Here we list some tech options, and provide a few anecdotes from SESYNC teams or staff who have used these tech solutions.
Note: The asterisk(*) indicates at least one SESYNC team is using this technology solution.
Video calls allow you to meet virtually and see the other participants via video. Most also allow participation via phone (without video) as well. Check out features such as call length, group calling, screen sharing, and recording that might be useful to your team.
Messaging can be an important alternate way to communicate, both during and between video calls. Consider whether or not team members are comfortable using their personal cellphone for texting or messaging. Be sure to discuss expected responsiveness to messages.
Storing and sharing documents in one centralized place is important in collaborative projects to ensure everyone is working from the same starting point. In addition to the storage we provide at files.sesync.org, some of these solutions include options such as simultaneous document editing, cloud storage, and document history.
Managing tasks and deadlines can be aided by using project management solutions. Capabilities and options vary widely but can include workflow development/documentation, assignment of tasks to team members, setting deadlines for tasks, tracking progress towards completion of a task, and discussion of issues.
“Whiteboard” technology can aid in brainstorming or diagramming exercises in an all-virtual setting. These solutions attempt to replace drawing on a whiteboard with markers in physical space.
Please see our related quickstart for deep dives into effectively using a suite of solutions throughout your team’s project.
Asynchronous collaboration has been useful - it has been difficult to move from Google Drive to Microsoft Teams, but the asynchronous aspect works well. - Systems of Systems Pursuit
We had good success using Slack and Zoom to teach a course this summer. We also used pre-recorded videos for asynchronous information delivery. - SESYNC Data Science Team
A combination of short Zoom meetings with discussion in Google Docs to refine research questions proved useful. Team members did not engage on Zoom meetings, but lots of engagement on the Google Docs. - Diversity in Eco-Function Pursuit
Trello has helped us to manage our work plan in advance of our workshop. - Urban Nature Latin America Workshop