What separates the contemporary workplace from even just a few years ago?
Everyone’s a manager.
But, what does that even mean?
You have projects, tasks and specific details that you’re responsible for. And chances are, you’re also responsible for pushing that work forward–communicating with your colleagues, checking on the status of projects, collaborating with agencies or finding freelancers. Sounds like you’re managing.
The responsibility set on a single person is greater than ever before. Managers, directors and VPs are still reviewing and approving, but they’re also setting strategy, budgets and probably attending more meetings than they would like.
Your company’s org chart may not be as extreme as Zappos, but much of the day-to-day details, processes and communications are up to individual contributors.
Getting things done is dependent upon clear communication, effective task management and letting colleagues work together to solve problems.
In 2018, it’s easier to share information, files and details than ever before.
What happened to delegation? Sure, with all of that access comes an even greater temptation: to try and do it all.
But just because you have access to everything doesn’t mean you should do everything.
This leads to miscommunication–it’s a mess, especially as employees take more responsibility and direct their own work. The worst is if people are rewriting and re-doing other people’s hard work without any review, feedback or communication.
That’s not collaboration. It’s chaos.
You NEED a central place where projects, details, tasks, statuses and assignments can be sorted out.
In this post, you’ll see the exact reasons why you should choose and use project management tools and how it can greatly benefit your team.
1. Send and Find Updates From Anywhere
If your team is anything like teams I’ve been on, you’re scattered to the wind.
You may even technically be in the same city or the same office, but it’s still hard to find people, especially when you need them.
This is where a good project management tool comes in.
You can send updates and let your team know the status of projects no matter where you are or where they are. People will have a chance to respond whenever they get a minute. Or maybe someone else can be tagged and looped in the conversation if a decision has to be made faster.
“I can do all of that by email, text or Slack,” you say.
Oh really? None of those tools are organized by projects or tasks, meaning important things could get lost (more on that below).
A project management tool streamlines your communication and makes you feel like you are part of the office no matter where you are
- Notifications: Create notifications settings by team to get a reminder for comments or when work is due.
Takeaway: Look for apps that offer you cloud-based capabilities. That way you will be able to update your team about the progress of the task at hand–with just a tap of the button.
2. Make a Plan
What are your work goals?
How will you achieve them?
Better yet, how will your team achieve them?
What needs to be done first, then second, third and so on?
You still need to create an order and process for completing your work. It’s hard to know from a one-off email the priority and details. If your whole team is in a project management solution, then you can create a plan, assign the proper tasks and comment right there.
You’ll be able to see exactly what’s next and when to start the next task in the project.
You can do that in a spreadsheet, sure, but you won’t have the level of communication and collaboration that you could have with a dedicated system.
With a project management software tool, you can see exactly what each person is working on, what the next steps are, and identify any bottlenecks or hangups.
- Hierarchy: Build a system that makes sense for all of your teams, so they can quickly find the project plans and tasks that they need
- Checklist: Create a quick to-do list of items that must be completed and referenced in a task
- Recurring tasks: Set a repeated task by time interval or trigger a recurring task when another task or assignment is completed.
Takeaway: Achieving your goals will boost your morale and help you get more work done at the end of the day.
3. Focus on What’s Important
Remember, your goal with a project management solution is stop the chaos.
Your team and company is probably trying to accomplish certain goals in multiple areas. Improving sales? Releasing new products? Creating a go-to-market strategy? Event planning?
Again, it’s a question about where to start. And thinking about which tactic and job will lay a great foundation for the next phase.
Outlines of the spaces where you work, and the types of work you want to do can be added to a project management software platform even if you don’t get to it right away.
You can use it for future projects, ideas and more. This will help you prioritize your work for now, while keeping an eye on the future.
- Integrations: Seamlessly manage and collaborate on Git workflows, sync time tracking with Harvest, and send tasks to and from Slack. Send your best ideas over to ClickUp.
- Due Dates: Assign deadlines so all the tasks you need to complete will automatically be scheduled on your calendar
- Start Date: Focus on what’s important now without worrying when you should start on the next task. Combine with due dates to create time estimates.
- Priorities: Flag your tasks with a priority level to tell your team which tasks to focus on first. This is especially helpful when due dates may overlap.
Takeaway: Choose a software solution that allows you to create infinite tasks, prioritize projects for your whole team and focus on what is absolutely the most important.
4. Stay Organized No Matter What
Many organizations depend on emails to start projects and assign out work. This is inefficient because email is naturally a catch-all.
You get advertisements, updates, company information and requests all in the same place. Then everyone filters their email inboxes differently and you’re never sure if the message goes through. Sending an email these days seems like a monumental task. Don’t use email like it’s 1999. Those days are gone.
A project management solution puts you in control no matter what gets thrown your way. You have a solid system in place to take on any challenges. New projects and lists can be created fast. You can quickly sort through what’s important and rank what has the highest priority. Then you can immediately tag or assign someone to work on the project or task.
- Multiple Assignees: Collaborate with your team on a task
- Custom Statuses: Make the workflow yours. Customize the statuses to fit the work.
- Multi-Management: Change multiple tasks or a group of tasks in just a few easy steps
- Tags: Add custom task tags to help you organize your workflow. You can then filter by tags to quickly see all the tasks in that category.
Takeaway: When there’s a flood of information, you’re prepared with a project management solution.
5. Clean up Your Communication
We mentioned getting up-to-date notifications above. But communication is so much more than that. It’s also about feedback, review and clarity. A project management software solution allows you to be clear and direct in your communication, with all of the proper details.
In project management, you can link to the right resources and include files, attachments or images right in the task that you need.
Best of all, you can go back and edit what you’ve done if you need to add a little more detail or information.
That’s so hard to do in an email. Once the email is sent, it’s gone! We know how frustrating it is when an email is sent without the attachment and then the recipients get the dreaded “forgot to include the attachment” email along with it.
- Assigned Comments: Make action items right away.
- Real-Time Collaboration: Never run into each other again! See who is viewing, commenting and editing on a task before you write a response.
Takeaway: Infinitely reduce traditional forms of communication. Keep everything streamlined right where it needs to be in order for your team to charge forward on a unified path.
6. Stay Accountable With Tasks
A project management solution keeps everyone accountable. How? It can tell you precisely when a project or task is due. Everyone can view the status, as well as the exact point of the process in which the task currently is. If you set statuses as simply open or closed, no one knows whether or not they’re being worked on.
- Statuses: Adjust statuses as you work on a project or task will keep your team up-to-date, as well as clearly notifying them when your part of the project is finished.
- Start Dates: Set a time for your team to begin a task
- Due Dates: Need to change when this project needs to be finished? Pick a date for the task to be over.
- Times (start and due times): Days not enough? Choose a time for when that task is due so your team can arrange their day accordingly
Takeaway: Everyone knows who is responsible for what with a project management solution.
7. Don’t Lose Details
Spreadsheets are amazing.
Really, they have transformed the modern work environment.
But – don’t under any circumstance – use a spreadsheet for your project and task management.
Here’s what I don’t understand: how are you supposed to use spreadsheets for key project details?
How can you type in that small box? It’s so hard to update. Things get lost in those rows. Nothing is connected. Projects can’t be separated except, heaven forbid, with another spreadsheet or workbook.
There’s an easier way.
The same goes for email inboxes. Email inboxes depend so much on how each individual uses them. Messages are threaded together, but task details aren’t.
Trying to find something you lost place of? You’ll have to do a huge search through your entire inbox, not simply through the task or space.
Again, there’s an easier way.
This is also where a simple to-do list won’t suffice. With basic to-do lists, details will get lost because you can’t add, change, or link to other tasks. Items get lost in the shuffle.
Project management software makes sure your items never get lost.
- Tasks Overview: Match the details and files with the tasks they relate to.
- List Details: Give the right context and information. Add start dates, due dates, descriptions, attachments, colors, and even conversations.
- Notifications: See when tasks are updated, re-assigned or moved to a new status. Always know what’s happening with your work. You can also adjust notifications to only be alerted to specific tasks or activities.
Takeaway: Know where your files are. Stop searching email inboxes and spreadsheets.
8. Be Transparent
This is one of my favorite aspects of project management software because it brings the conversation out of the brainstorming or status meeting right out into the open. You can see the comments, plans, and ideas directly in front of you.
If anyone misses a meeting, most of the relevant and valuable information is there. You no longer depend on another status meeting to give everyone the latest details.
They can check and verify the information on their own time.
9. One Source of Truth
The big meeting is coming up. You’ve prepped a great presentation.
But you’re feeling nervous when the opportunity comes.
Was this final presentation approved?
Were all the right comments included?
With project management software, it’s all there. In one place.
That’s a central tenet of any platform that will help you be productive.
No need to worry.
- Folders & Lists: Folders and Lists in ClickUp are neatly sorted to help keep your team organized and on the same page.
- Attachments: Add attachments within task details or straight into a comment. Now, you can comment and discuss the attachment in a neat and organized way.
- View All Tasks: See tasks assigned to you within List View or jump to Box View to see tasks and statuses by team member in Box View.
Takeaway: A reliable project management tool gives you a central source for information.
The modern workplace is changing. For us to remain at peak productivity and get things done in a timely manner, we need to evolve with it. One way of making your 2018 exciting is by proposing to work smarter by investing in a good project management tool. If you’d like to import your Excel tasks or files from another project management solution, you can import those CSV files directly into ClickUp.