Project management software and collaboration tools have revolutionized the ways in which we do business. Teamwork on a whole different level is now possible—but only when project management solutions are used to their full potential. Here’s how you can do just that.
No matter how great your project planning software is, it can’t replace having a great team. But in today’s business environment, it’s just as important to gauge how your team members work remotely as it is understanding how they perform in the office. In fact, because so many companies have geographically distributed project teams now, it can be more important.
Pay close attention to attitudes and communication styles when choosing team members, and be vigilant about communication issues that can be exacerbated by distance. Clarity and tone are particularly important when team members don’t have visual cues, body language, or facial expressions to help interpret intent, for example.
One of the problems we see with leadership in conjunction with the use of task management software is a desire to automate standard-setting. That is, instead of expecting the software to simply facilitate management, some managers are trying to use it to replace important aspects of leadership—like setting clear standards for communication.
Software project management can’t set standards for you—but it can make communicating those standards a much more streamlined process. Which brings us to…
This doesn’t mean you need to necessarily use the project management software that’s the flavor of the moment. What it does mean is that you should use the software solution that’s best suited to your individual organization, teams, and goals. Be especially conscious of whether or not the communication tools are suitable for your team’s style of communication.
There are so many great project management software options out there, and so many varied features and offerings, that it’s very possible to find a solution that fits your team like a glove. If you’re searching for the right solution, check out Top Advisor’s Project Management Software Guide. It’s a great way to get a non-biased look at the industry’s most trusted and reliable vendors and what they have to offer your team.
Stay informed of what different elements of your team are doing, especially if you’re using project management software to work remotely. Not only does this give you a much better understanding of where your project is and what goals should be on the horizon, but it’s also motivating for your team. Schedule regular check ins so that your team members can report on what they’ve accomplished, not only so that you can keep track, but so that they can enjoy sharing their successes and ask for help if necessary.
In the same vein, be sure to set quantifiable goals on a reasonable schedule, and set strong expectations that they’ll be completed in the prescribed time frame. Ideally, every member of your team should be a motivated self starter. Realistically, you may have a team member or two that needs a stricter management style to keep them on track.
A culture of accountability can help you keep your project moving forward without having to micromanage individuals. Project management software is a great tool for helping you create this accountability-oriented culture.
Is project management software absolutely necessary for great team management? In some cases, maybe not. But as we transition into doing business in a manner that’s less geographically centralized, it’s going to become increasingly important.
And even for teams that are working face to face, project management software helps keep each member apprised of what their colleagues are doing individually. It can provide the team with a comprehensive, bird’s-eye-view of the project, and does so in a way that’s far more efficient than endless and often not particularly productive meetings. It cuts down on phone and email traffic and reduces misunderstandings as well.
Project management software isn’t a substitute for good leadership, but it is a great tool for facilitating it. Are you using your project management software to its full potential?