Here I mean the type of software, not particular brands and names.

We had a remote developer in our team and quite often we needed more than just email or voice call. Sometimes we shared screens for a some sort of peer programming, sometimes we needed to draw diagrams and discuss them. Planning and design discussions required the broadest functionality.

Bug tracking, wiki and other software like that was not sufficient for us. However there are many examples of successful open source projects where teams used only source control system, and discussion lists.

So I admit that our process of development could be not perfect and want to here from you which collaborative functionality is mostly needed in your work. How do you communicate in case of distributed teams?


For remote work, the types of applications I've found most useful are:

  1. Chat, IRC or Skype communication software. These allow real time communication amongst team members, and most can allow you to bring your group together for a virtual "meeting." Screen share is very helpful, so try to pick one that's got that feature. These are almost all free, or have a free version. I know a lot of folks use GoToMeeting for team meetings, but it's not free. Their pricing structure for smaller groups isn't bad, however.

  2. Group collaboration software. Google is a decent one, and if everyone has a gmail account it's probably the easiest to incorporate. There are also collaborative softwares and apps based upon group management of textual content, ie, Joomla, Drupal, Wordpress. At the very basic, you probably need to be able to review and edit/comment on documents and papers.

  3. File sharing software. You also need to be able to share files, because not everything can or should go through email. Google Drive can handle this, and so can shared ftp accounts (although for these, you will need to make sure everyone on the team can deal with using the software.) Dropbox is another file sharing option - you can share a folder in your Dropbox with your team and everyone can leave files there for each other without email file size or type limitations. For geeks, there's also GitHub. It's not just for software development, but make sure you get a private option if you are going to be sharing files for business purposes. That will cost a bit, but I don't think it's too much.

  4. Nice to have: Group dashboard like Trello to help manage work flow.

These applications, plus whatever special apps you need to do the specific work you need to do, in my experience will handle most of the virtual communication required for remote work. Right now our team is using Gmail, Google+ and Google Drive for file sharing and email/video/audio/screensharing communication, IRC for basic chat, and Trello to keep everyone up to date on what's being done or planned at the moment. That, and our SVN server, gets pretty much all of our team work done.


Project collaborations need not to be complicated to use.

My former web development and online marketing team used either Basecamp and/or Teambox. They're a web-based project collaboration programs that allow you to view everybody's activity at a given period. They're quite efficient especially if you need to check on the progress of the the project. They also allow you to categorise your projects for a better organisation. I'm not sure if this will be useful or applicable to the kind of collaboration you're doing with your team but I hope it helps.

  • Forgot to say that Basecamp does not have free account ;)
    – Peter MV
    Jan 15 '14 at 10:31
  • oh, yeah, Peter. Cheers! It slipped.
    – Yuoseff
    Jan 15 '14 at 13:16

Try Assembla.com. The UI is more for the programmer, then for others (others may find it ugly and confusing), but it has all collaborative features: tickets, code repository, messages, time management, etc. all for free. I went from Basecamp/Unfuddle to this free solution and never returned back.

Yet again, if you come from non-programming world where you don't need code repositories, then you'll probably like any site like Basecamp, Trello or Teambox. I personally use Trello instead of a board, and like Basecamp but does not like lack of a free account + impossibility to store code there.


Basically I am also a freelancer and literally I opt to have certain limited no of clients with me. To manage the related work and related tasks, I have opted to go with the cloud based task management solutions which makes the interaction with the clients and also the emails, task allocation and other related stuffs. The tool that I have been using is the cloud based task management software from Replicon. Check out the link here for more details - http://www.replicon.com/olp/task-management-software.aspx

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