It’s a good time to be a small team!

Fifteen years ago, it would be hard to imagine how well a team of 5 highly talented people living in different geographies could add much value to a company. People shoveling emails back and forth to each other and chatting on AOL instant messenger wasn’t exactly the ideal environment.

But things have changed a lot. With new, modern applications, your small team can quickly coordinate, share, collaborate, and deliver results that no one would have believed were possible.

However, in this Golden Age of Apps, there is another danger: App-overload. It seems like every week a new app is out on the market that will “change the way you work”. From apps that guilt-shames users for spending too much time on social media to the uber-essential SitOrSquat that rates public restrooms on cleanliness when you are on that road trip, it seems that no part of our life can escape the world of Apps.

So where do you draw the line for your team? What is essential and what is fluff? Where are you actually gaining productivity and where are you wasting time and memory space?

Let’s look at the 4 categories of apps that a small team really needs to function well! Assume that everything else is just for fun.

Office Tools

Your team needs a common foundation for all of your work. This is a suite of apps that will give you word processing, email, shared calendars, and video calling and messaging. While you can piecemeal this together based on lots of different apps, it’s hard to beat a resource that gives you everything all in one.

Recommendation: G Suite

While Office365 has made some significant improvements, when it comes to fast-moving teams, Google still is the torchbearer. G Suite offers Gmail, Google Drive, Hangouts, Calendar, Google Docs/Sheets/Forms/Slides, and more. It’s straightforward and affordable pricing makes it too good to pass up on.

Task Management

Task management is essentially how individuals keep track of everything they need to do in a day. From regularly occurring tasks to ad-hoc requests, a good task management app will help a user stay organized and on top of their game.

For small teams, it’s not essential that everyone uses the same task management app. Most people have individual preferences that make them lean towards one versus another. Some of your team may prefer the old-fashioned paper and pencil as well.

Recommendation: Todoist

While there are tons of task management apps out there, Todoist is very popular among small teams that like to see everything integrated with their existing work. But it fits well in this list because of its simplicity to structure the task lists, superb user interface, and no-nonsense pricing. It also gives team members a transparent look at what everyone is focused on right now.

Project Management

Project management software helps teams work on projects that don’t have a definite structure to them and are by nature a bit chaotic. Tasks are unpredictable and shuffled among different team members depending on who is available. Project management offers the whole team a lot of transparency and visibility on what needs to be done to completely finish a project off.

Recommendation: Trello

It’s near impossible for productivity enthusiasts to not hear about Trello, a project management app designed mostly for small team collaboration. Trello helps you manage the chaos around your projects with its card and board layout. Making task entries in Trello is as easy as filling your friend’s slam book pages.

Trello has an easy drag-and-drop interface where users can create and assign tasks to each other within their teams. They can also view which task is lying with which member and see the broader view of the whole project at a glance. Trello allows you to communicate with other users within the app and take quick actions on tasks that require attention. Once you are done with a task, you can move it manually to the next person in her card to get the project going.

Workflow Management

But what if your work is a bit more predictable than project management software allows for? If your team often follows structured workflows that only vary slightly, you may find project management software to be a bit too manual. While project management can help you manage chaos, once there is a semblance of order, it doesn’t do a good job of keeping it.

That’s where workflow management software comes in. It takes a predictable set of tasks and allows you to automate them, reducing the amount of time wasted in passing tasks back and forth. Workflow management software can also be integrated with other systems so that you can pull and push data into your CRM or marketing software easily.

Workflow management software also lets your team scale easily. While you will have a limit on the number of projects your small team can handle, you are virtually unlimited in the number of times you can run a single workflow.

Recommendation: KiSSFLOW

KiSSFLOW is the perfect weapon for your small team to slay the complexity out of a process. KiSSFLOW is a workflow management software that helps you automate the repetitive tasks in your team with minimal human interference. KiSSFLOW is deeply integrated with the G Suite apps and has its foundation built on Google Cloud Platform. This means that KiSSFLOW is an ideal workflow tool for Google Apps users.

Inside KiSSFLOW, you simply design your workflow and create a form to host your data. Then, everything runs automatically, allowing your team to focus on other tasks rather than passing things back and forth on cards or email.

Building The Right Toolkit

Small teams have the world at their fingertips when it comes to apps to use to make work more efficient. But with so many options out there, it’s hard to make the right choice.

The important thing is to choose the software that best matches with your team. Use apps for what they were designed for, and in a way that complements each other.

As a small team, you might be tempted to have all the apps marketed to you as the next productivity booster tool. But you really don’t need every new app recommended to you, just identify the big ones that are going to help you with your work and you will soon be able to see the difference they can bring to your everyday routine.