Wikis are one of the best tools to allow your small team to collaborate on projects. The word Wiki is Hawaiian for “quick”, and that captures the spirit of how a wiki helps your team collaborate. By capturing team knowledge into a wiki, whether it is roadmap planning, or documenting procedures to follow, building a library of articles of answers for your customers, or project documentation, your entire team can quickly access these documents, and more importantly, everyone can quickly make changes to those documents. If you are reading a document, and you notice it is missing something, or could be better worded, go ahead and click edit and improve the document. Wikis make this quick and easy by incorporating an editor in the web browser.
Wikis encourage anyone to edit any document. While there are plenty of tools that allow this, core to the idea of wiki is the keeping of a revision history for all pages. Changes are tracked, and easily visible, each change attributed to who made it, and the Confluence wiki includes the ability to compare any two versions of a page so you can see what has changed. Also it is easy to revert, or change the page back to an older version of the pages, so that any incorrect edits, or mistakes, can easily be removed. Because of this, the wiki philosophy is “don't be shy to contribute, go ahead and make changes, you cant hurt anything, if it is a mistake, we can easily undo the mistake.”
Wikis also simplify the issue of visual formatting. Confluence offers simple tools for applying appropriate formatting to the pages, without the complexity of a full word processor. By offering a more limited palette of formatting styles, users are encouraged to create substance rather than form, which encourages users of all skill levels to be able to contribute.
Confluence adds the ability to create separate wiki spaces, and excellent user rights management so that some spaces can only be available to a given team. The wikispace can be editable by group, and just visible to a wider group. Comments are enabled for all pages. Every Confluence user gets their own wikispace, and the user can keep the contents of this space private, or make some pages public for others, and some private. So users can easily maintain their own personal todo lists, contact information, project status, personal reading lists, links to projects within the wiki they are working on, anything useful for their right, right in the wiki.
Confluence can be hosted in the cloud by Atlassian, or you can grow to host your own onsite private wiki on your own hardware.
For more information about Confluence: https://www.atlassian.com/software/confluence
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Evernote is a great choice for a personal information repository for the members on your team. Evernote organizes your information into notebooks, and provides tagging, searching, and allows you to share notes, or notebooks, with others.
Evernote runs on all platforms and devices: Evernote is available for your phones whether iphone or android, tablets, laptops, desktops, and even the web. This makes your personal information ubiquitous across all your devices.
Evernote features many ways to capture information:
- A new note can be created at any time. The note should be stored in an appropriate notebook.
- You can create a new note from a recording, or from a camera picture.
- Evernote includes browser add-ins that let you easily capture articles from the web into your Evernote. See any article online that you like? Just share a paragraph, or the whole page, into your Evernote.
- New notes can be created from a scanner. However, with the ability to easily enter notes from the camera on your phone, you may rarely need a scanner for smaller documents, or capturing things like receipts.
Evernote automatically does Optical Character Recognition on all the notes that you enter. Evernote makes a great choice for going paperless.
Compared to Confluence, Evernote is more of a personal notes management system. While shared notesbooks can be created for several users to access, its collaboration features such as revision tracking, commenting, and rights management, are not as strong as offered in Confluence wiki.
Evernote is available from the Apple App Store, Google Play Store, and from http://www.evernote.com
Articles about Evernote:
- Going Paperless by Jamie Todd Rubin, Evernote's Paperless Lifestyle Ambassador
Key to the work of any business team, or even just the individuals on the team, is to track lists. Simpleology is the premier tool for keeping track of lists. It also includes powerful advice and tools for enhancing personal productivity with those lists. Simpleology incorporates a daily training system that shows members of your team how to really incorporate the use of its list tracking to:
- keep track of items to do, and make sure things don't fall through the cracks
- create reminders for items to do in the future
- brainstorming catch all
- track ideas for projects, and rank them
- easy deligation of items to other team members
- systems to record and enforce processes for accomplishing different activities on a periodic basis, for example a system of steps for gathering and tabulating end of week stats, or end of the month processing needed for a CRM system
Simpleology philosophy is that it should be easy for an individuals to track the lists for their personal, and business, life in the same place.
Simpleology starts with the “Dream Catcher”. This lets you easily capture fleeting thoughts of things that need to be done. Capture the idea, then get back to work, knowing you wont lose the idea or forget about it. Your mind can then be clear for your task at hand. Items can be added to a users dreamcatcher via text message, or the web.
Next is the “Start My Day” process which takes the user through brainstorming, sorting through items in the Dream Catcher, recurring items, and do-it-later items with a scheduled reminder date. The user is also reminded of their goals on various time frames, and asked to think about adding todo items that can lead them step by step to accomplishing their goals. After all these things, the user is taken through a process to decide what they can do today, what they should delegate to others, and what they should put off for later, or even just throw away. This produces the “Daily Targets” list of what should be done today.
Simpleology also has a course system that has training on many topics that can be unlocked. And a project marketplace where useful things can be constructed and offered to other users.
From the first day, users are encouraged to do a “Daily Training” every day. This uses a lot of repetition to effectively train the user how to use the system. Simpleology is not just about keeping lists for the sake of keeping lists, but even more importantly how to be productive and effectively choose what to do. Many additional trainings can be unlocked within the system. Many are free, some are available for an additional fee.
Take Simpleology for a test drive with this link: Simpleology
LiveScribe Note Taking Pen
Livescribe's slogan is “never miss a word”. Their digital pen lets you take notes like you normally would, that can include an audio recording of the meeting, class, or seminar. Their pen requires apecial paper to be used. The paper is available in notebooks in many sizes, even as post-it notes. Its capacity is impressive.
When being used to record notes, the Livescribe pen records what it hears, and what you write, to be preserved in your computer. It not only records those streams of information, but links them together intelligently. Later when reviewing your notes, just point to a place in the notes, and you can hear the audio that was being recorded at the moment that note was being written!
LiveWcribe's Echo Desktop has an add-on available called MyScript that has handwriting recognition to make all your notes searchable.
Your notes can be turned into pencasts which are standard PDFs that include the linked audio.
You need to periodically connect your LiveScribe Echo pen to your desktop or laptop computer to get its notes synced to the software.
The newer LiveScribe 3 is designed to more immediately sync with a mobile device by instantly syncing to it. It can record notes independently, and later upload to a mobile device, but it will not be able to interact as fluidly with the written notes at a later time, you will need to use the app on your smartphone or tablet. The Livescribe 3 can immediately interact with apps on your phone or tablet. The LiveScribe 3 pen can not on its own record audio to go with your notes, you will need to have your linked phone or tablet with you, it uses the microphone on your phone or tablet.
If you like to work with your notebooks of written notes, I recommend the Echo Smartpen because it is better able to work independently of a having any other device. It will store an amazing amount of audio for all the notebooks you have written in with it. You can use it to interact with notebooks and the recordings without needing your laptop or smartphone. It can easily sync everything to your desktop or laptop computer, and it is even possible to connect the information into Evernote.
- To keep your LiveScribe Echo pen in good condition, you can invest in a metal cigar case. It will fit nicely inside.
- Spend the extra $20 to get the 8GB version of the Echo pen, you can not later upgrade the 2GB or 4GB pens.
Visit Livescribe at http://www.livescribe.com
Articles about the Livescribe pen:
- My Echo VS. Livescribe 3 Comparison - how to produce editable text with both pens