exec summ: podio is great for collaboration on small group projects. but is there still a version control issue, even with the integration of several big-name file sharing tools? I will write more in another post about podio, and have embedded a video introduction at the bottom, but wanted to post quickly on what seems like the best solution for the version control problem.
insert obligatory 50 shades of meaning joke here
one issue I have with every collaboration tool or method that comes along is version control. you know the drill: junior staffer circulates a draft for review and edits. everyone downloads their own copy – the best that can happen is they all print and mark up a paper copy. worse is when people edit the draft and don’t change the file name or note in some way what changes have been made. the hapless staffer is left to pore through stacks of scribbled hard copies and/or toggle between files playing where’s waldo for the changes. oy.
dropbox, evernote and google docs, oh my
one cool thing about podio is its integration with external filesharing services and email. however, with most of these, making a change to a file still involves downloading the file, editing in an external appication, and remember to upload the new version. on the plus side, there is no longer a need to recirculate to all. the problem of consolidating edits remains:
clicking the dropbox link downloads the file to the local machine. the reviewer can then edit, but has to remember to upload the revised doc back to the correct folder in dropbox. the process is even more cumbersome with multiple reviewers or review levels.
with the evernote link, the recipient is sent to an online version of the evernote doc, which is not editable unless he/shealso has evernote. although evernote can display PDFs and office documents, I do not think they are editable (and don’t display in the mobile evernote versions to boot.) unless the review in question is to a text document, evernote is not ideal.
I have long been a fan of google docs, but when they were introduced, google’s documents, spreadsheets and presentations frequently showed quirky formatting and display differences with the office docs they mimicked. these quirks are almost entirely gone now and files migrate between microsoft and google formats with an ease that must make patent attorneys weep with frustration. even better, for the purposes of this post, the link in podio allows multiple editors to review and make changes simultaneously. each editor can see the others and what changes they are making, which reduces multilevel badmitton “change that!” “who was the idiot that changed that? put it back the way it was!”
note: podio integrates with a number of other file sharing services, most notably box.com. since I write for small business and small non-profits, however, I focus on stuff you can get for free and i expect box would find a way to charge…