Today, teams need great tools that boost productivity, so they turn to various products that serve the single purpose every project manager has: to create great things as a team and implement them efficiently. To do that you need ongoing communication with team members, so I'm sure you tried various tools just as I did to be up-to-date with what is happening. Skype and Messenger are great for both one-on-one and group chat, but they may not be as efficient as you might expect. Recently, I've started using WorkGroup, a work messenger designed to fill that gap.
Not for Project Management
First: If you are looking for a project management app, you had better look elsewhere, because WorkGroup isn't one. However, it has the potential to become one, but that's a future story. Hopefully, the developers may see the benefits of extending the platform's features sometime in the near future.
WorkGroup is actually a free platform that lets you connect with all your team members, and, as a project manager of a program designed for the children in my area, I am always looking for tools that improve communication, productivity, and the efficiency of my team.
Communication Is Central Feature
I don't know about you, but in our team the best ideas come while we are chatting. And since some of the team members, such as the graphic designer, PR guy, etc., are living in other parts of the world, personal meetings are not possible. What's left is online messaging, and WorkGroup does a great job of providing the platform to communicate with all of the team members no matter where they are, whether at their desk or on mobile, as it is available on the Web, Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android.
Registration is pretty easy: You sign up with your Google email address, receive a code via email, and off you go. From that moment on, you can create not one but as many workgroups you need, which is nice, since Slack, for example, requires a different login if you are working with a different team on a different project.
With WorkGroup you can invite your team members via email and start a conversation. The messaging platform works fine on the Web and on the Mac app I've tested, and also syncs in time, so there is no delay in the communication.
Create Communication Teams
It's up to you how you use it, but the potential is there: You can create strategic groups such as design, design and PR, and more. You can even share the conversation with other participants (maybe your client), who will get an update in his/her inbox with the ongoing chat related to the project you are doing for him.
During the conversation with the team, you can mark chat entries as an “Action item” and assign them to a member. Unfortunately, since WorkGroup isn't a project management app, you can't add a due date or other comments to that specific Action item or task. You can also simply create an entry by tapping on the Action item button on your iPhone – all that without the need to code the integrations, which is nice, since none of my teammates know how to code, so it was pretty efficient.
WorkGroup allows users to upload files, and so far I haven't experienced any restrictions in file size.
On the downside, the iOS app has crashed several times during my testing, so I hope the future update the WorkGroup developers plan to released on August 10 will bring stability improvements, besides the improved Action item. Oh, and you can call your teammates as well: You have a phone icon next to the user's name.
If you feel that you have lost focus, you can always switch from the “Chatter” to the “Actions,” which will display all the action items you have assigned to yourself and others. When a task has been done, simply choose “mark as done” by tapping on the entry.
Overall, WorkGroup is a good platform that can be useful for team communication to increase productivity. On the other hand, the features are limited for now, although the action item is a great feature you can use to declutter the chat and help you focus on the things that need to be done. I'm hoping that the due date for action items will be part of a future update, as well as other features. WorkGroup is free to use, and the apps are available as a free download on Google Play and iOS.