Author: Rami Azulay VP Marketing and Sales of Orcanos
When we just started Orcanos 10 years ago, syncing-up between 3 people turn out to be as easy as looking over my shoulder. On one of each side of me there was the CTO and Development. It was 2004 and we were a team of three. Everyone knew what are their responsibilities. To collaborate, we used our own product QPack ALM, from day one. When something required our attention you just looked up your desk. Even though “Team collaboration” didn’t require a lot of thinking or planning we found that the use of a tool did not create any overhead, we adopted new culture that become our way of standard. Fast forward to today. Our team now spread over 3 continentals. To balance this growth, we’ve continue developing our QPack ALM solution but not just for ourselves but for many of our customers. What was mostly important for us is that we will never need to leave our tool to another tool in order to perform our task. Based on this experience, here are our top five tools for team collaboration.
1. QPack Dashboard
QPack Dashboard is the main app we use to collaborate across different departments or teams. You can specify boards for each role or department and project. It helps you to keep everything on clear communication channel which created transparency between processes and team members.
In the center of your office, you can place a big screen with auto refresh report that keep displaying real time data. This keeps your team in sync and gives everyone a top down overview of what’s going on at any particular time. The other part is the proactive messages that QPack keep sending gently to any team member in order to get to speed with what the rest of the team is up to, this is all with upto date convenient (and visually appealing) way.
QPack ALM works as a board system, it can display different methodologies data such as Agile elements but as well other parts related to the lifecycle of your product such as Service Center to pick up your customer incoming service calls or your outdated documents that needs to be revised or used with the new software. It can in cooperates the 4 Blocks methodology used by enterprise: What I had to do Last Week, What Is left from last week for this week, What I need to do this week, What I need to do next week. On QPack ALM Dashboard, the possibilities are endless.
2. QPack Work Item Tracker
QPack comes with support of 36 different work items, this is what we have learned in the past 10 years that will cover almost all what you need to develop high tech product. You can use QPack work item tracking to plan and deploy software. 70% of your organization population will be using it as primary tool for development and design, testing and track bugs, technical support and customers.
QPack is something of new way of thinking that has become the trusted by Quality Assurance Developers and Testings teams at Given Imaging, Covidien, Medtronics, Luminis, Rewalk, Mazor Robotics, Matrix and experimented by GE. Quick warning, though — Once you go QPack you never Go Back, with QPack you get to use to be in control at all times and working with information spread over several system become a barrier to your day to day work. QPack is a “Simple Tool for Simple People” You can tell this was software built by people with hands on practice of over 20 years in the industry. QPack was meant to help teams ship outstanding complex high tech product and make it easier task.
However, you need to invest time into learning how to best use the software. Orcanos professional service gives you a 3-5 days workshop at your site working with your team and members One on One giving them best practices from most recent vendors they are meeting with and build your internal ALM master that will support your ongoing needs. QPack Work Item Tracker is a software that everyone can essentially live in and can rest assured the creators have their best interest at heart.
3. QPack Document Control
QPack Document Control comes to solve writing collaborations. When there is too much back-and-forth between various draft versions of the same task or feature or even just a DEFECT. With QPack Document Control, you are able to get the whole team involved in writing, while easily staying organized. What unique about QPack Document Control is the ability to work on the same document simultaneously while each member works on different area of the document. QPack allows you to break the document to the smallest pieces such as paragraphs or what is called traceable items.
QPack DMS™ is basically a super-easy, more user-friendly version of Google Documents. While Google Docs has it’s advantages, you team will be attracted to the simplicity of QPack DMS™ with the to perform chat conversation on any topic. This chat is an internal tool created by QPack which logs every conversation on the repository so team can recall ideas and solutions from the past and reuse them again for their work.
QPack DMS, allows you to create, share and collaborate visually folders, files, work items and defects. It has a clean layout that makes it looks more like a chat thread than a document. Most importantly, it offers the ability to view previous comments and versions of the document. It has strong electronic signature capabilities so members can sign off each work item within the document and freeze that work item from any further changes. It has deep copy capabilities that like in the source control can create TAG on single work item or a whole document.
You can now handle most of our document collaboration on QPack DMS™. Your team will appreciate how easy it is to get new team members started on it.
4. Online Storage for Your Business
QPack Online Storage abilities is an outstanding tool that allows you to share files in a very simple and easy way. It allows each team member to have access to important documents at any particular time.
If a your support team member is out at a meeting, and you need to share with your client some technical materials, you can open up the your QPack Mobile device and easily share files right then and there. There’s no need to fumble through emails, search and confirm the file they are using is the most up-to-date version. It will obsolete old versions of your files and keep the most updated one at first. All files are shared in centralized location there they are also updated automatically. A distribution message can be fired from QPack on each update if needed so the system proactively promotes important files to external or internal members.
Everything from access to keynote presentations, videos, press kits, logos, team photos and contracts are all conveniently stored in one central location for team member to grab it.
5. QPack Chat
Here is now the best for last. QPack Chat is truly magnificent feature, natively integrated into our QPack ALM system. It will become the core of all your team communication. We like to think of QPack Chat as the “Internal Facebook” for your team’s to communicate with each other and to collaborate on actions.
When you first start using it, you might think QPack Chat is just another internal messaging system. When you explore a little deeper, you find how well it integrates with other collaboration tools your team is currently using. The product managers at Orcanos realized it didn’t have to be the end-all-be-all of team communication apps. It just has to be an extension to all the other apps team members are using. It should be available for everyone and it should control what needs to be said internally vs. what needs to be exposed on the public domain and that can be done all in the same Chat area of the work item.
QPack Chat allows you to create chat rooms on the same topic. All chats are being recorded on the QPack repository. In case you are not connected to the chat room and still there is an update on the chat, you will receive updates on the chat to keep you in track.
QPack Chat also makes it easy to share documents and attachments. When you want to share a file, just upload it into QPack Chat, on the chat room you want it to go to and that’s it. Everything stays organized and highly searchable.
Orcanos challenge was also to make your tool selection as easy as possible. We tried to make a tool that “one-size-fit-all”. QPack ALM is the silver bullet management application. Our marketing team have learned this through direct engagement with the users and customers trying to bring on board every single department into the same app.
Our designers keep in mind that what one department/person might find intuitive, another might find complex or confusing. While your development team loves simplicity, your marketing team can not give up the office tools they are used to. And That’s ok. Each member prefers and stick to what works best for him but they all stay in the same place use the same tools and gain the same practices to do their job to the best of their ability.
When it comes to your team collaboration, your results may vary depending on your existing organizational culture at starting point. Orcanos professional team will save hours and days of trial and error to find the right combination use of features across your organization. Do not be afraid to switch and try something new If you feel things aren’t flowing as well as they should. At the end of the day, you are improving your team working environment and they will thank you for it.