At Bundl, we’re constantly evaluating current tools and new services that could optimize our office.
Since we’re a team of strategists and innovators, we’re always looking for the next best thing, something that can take our productivity to the next level. This definitely isn’t an easy task, so we make sure to prepare and support our colleagues in order for them to adopt any changes to our toolkit successfully.
Before I explain the change processes we use, I’m going to share a list we’ve developed of some general tools that we use on a daily basis — though we all use them differently, in a way that is most beneficial to our tasks. There’s a long list of tried, tested and dumped tools that didn’t make the cut for Bundl’s office.
Here are our current winners:
Slack brings all of our communication to one place. It’s a real-time archiving, messaging, and searching tool for modern teams. We’re especially fond of the Giphy feature.
Trello is a great collaboration tool to organize projects. We use it on a personal level, to organize our to-do lists, and also as a team to keep track of every detail necessary for our projects.
Dashlane is a password manager that keeps our accounts secure and passwords organized all in one location. You can also use it to store card information or different payment methods, receipts and notes. We’re big fans of the password sharing capabilities too.
Insync is an extension for Google Drive that allows us to have the files that we need ready on our devices, while in the mean time syncing everything to the cloud. It differs from the standard Google Drive application in speed, usability and all round functionality.
Lingo is where we store all of our necessary visual assets in one easy-to-find location. The tagging feature has made it even easier to find exactly what we’re looking for.
MURAL is great for teams needing virtual workspaces to plan, brainstorm and collaborate. It’s like a digital mood board, but with clickable links.
Spark is an easy to use and customizable e-mail client, great for inbox organization when you have multiple accounts.
Splitwise is a really useful tool in a growing office like ours. We use it to track different bills and shared expenses. No need to keep books full of paper receipts.
How do you validate new tools?
There are a few processes we can use to make sure that whatever tool we start using, or switch to, works for the entire team.
This usually happens in two ways:
Developmental Change (improvements to an existing situation)
This is a step-by-step approach, where we experiment with small changes until we figure out the system that works best for that specific moment. For example, we used a system to organize our files with Dropbox, but we weren’t happy with it and switched to using Google Drive. But something wasn’t quite right, and we realised it wasn’t exactly what we needed. Finally, we added another tool on top of Google Drive — Insync — which gave us the working structure we needed. We usually test these types of changes on a smaller, individual (or small team) scale before including the rest of the team, as I did with Insync before having the whole team switch.
Transitional Change (a complete change of course)
In transitional change, we’re replacing existing processes with new ones and we do this by implementing a new tool, like Trello and Dashlane. We introduced Trello as a different way of organizing and prioritizing our projects, and we use Dashlane to manage and secure passwords to protect identities and accounts in our growing team. This tends to happen in four steps:
- Noticing an issue, though this isn’t always always the case. Occasionally there is no issue, and we begin with the next step.
- Finding an opportunity
- Implementation of tool
- Evaluation after the change
The evaluation period is critical for deciding whether the tool we’ve implemented will stay, especially if we need a monthly subscription.
It’s important to realize that in our office, there isn’t just one person, like me, trying tools constantly. Everyone can test new things, and if it’s suitable, we’ll invite the whole team to use it. However, not every tool is mandatory or useful for every employee — each of us has our own way of working, and using these tools (or finding new ones) helps us keep in sync with one another.