by Igal Hauer, CEO of Help Desk Technology Corporation (www.ServicePRO.solutions)
Here’s an all-too-common example of process breakdown in the workplace: You go over a project with your managers and employees, providing an overview of a complex initiative – a product launch, for example. You cover each phase of the project, from defining the audience to creating messages, implementing email and social campaigns, outlining release dates, etc. But at the next meeting, you find that everyone dropped the ball because no one really ever picked it up. Each assumed that someone else was handling an assignment.
When this type of breakdown occurs, it’s important to recognize that it’s not just an issue with your managers or team members. The real problem is that there’s no system in place to help you assign tasks and hold people accountable. The good news is that it’s easy to fix this type of breakdown.
Here are seven steps that can help you improve collaboration and efficiency:
1. Create buy-in by involving staff in planning.
Involving employees at the planning stage gives you an opportunity to find out about scheduling conflicts and process dependencies before they cause delays. Give employees a stake in the outcome by involving them early.
2. Document each step and give everyone a roadmap.
Breaking complex projects down into separate tasks is common sense, but it’s also important to document every step and make sure all team members have access to the plan. That way, everyone can understand the status of the project and their role.
3. Divide and designate.
To successfully complete an initiative, it’s critical to divide the labor up and assign tasks to make sure nothing falls through the cracks. By dividing tasks up and designating task owners, you can also prevent duplicated effort while promoting accountability and keeping the team focused.
4. Provide a technology platform.
If you give managers an intuitive project management system to automate core processes, you can increase your chances of successful project delivery. The platform should include a group calendar and integrated appointments function. It should also integrate corporate email to eliminate duplicate calendars.
5. Streamline the workflow.
To minimize repetitive tasks and maximize productivity, find an automated project management solution that streamlines the workflow. The solution should make it easy to assign tasks, track due dates, route projects, notify team members as priorities change and create templates for recurring tasks.
6. Put social media to work.
Social media staples like chat, instant messaging and screen sharing can make it easier to complete project tasks and capture and measure data. But make sure social sharing doesn’t replace face-to-face interactions altogether; person-to-person collaboration is essential to foster teamwork.
7. Create a central documentation repository.
Keep all project-related business documents in a single place, including image files, audio and video files, screenshots, email and chat transcripts, etc. That way, you can easily find relevant documents without stopping work to search for clarification or track down a memo.
By following these seven steps, you’ll have a better approach to project management that will not only keep your team on track but improve overall efficiency and enable you to get more work done with fewer project resources. With a high-level view of project status and the ability to drill down to see how people are performing on an individual level, you’ll finally have the information you need to avoid unpleasant surprises. That’s a win for the company – and for you.
Igal Hauer is CEO of Help Desk Technology Corporation (www.ServicePRO.solutions), developer of the ServicePro collaborative work management solution that can be used to help any business unit in any industry complete tasks and projects efficiently.