by Ciara Conlon,
One of the biggest problems I come across when working with teams is the lack of an effective means of communication. Team collaboration is vital for a team to work effectively together. So if you are part of a team that leaves it all to the weekly meeting, know now that you are definitely not going to make team of the year.
The sad thing is that it is easy to foster team communication and collaboration through the use of systems and software. There are so many amazing apps and software programmes available that can help teams become better at sharing information, knowledge and ideas.
Here are my top 3.
Teamwork Project Manager is to project management what spreadsheets are to budgeting. Whatever you want to call that, a blessing, a gift from heaven or simply a breath of fresh air, Teamwork makes project management easy. Teamwork is simple, clean, intuitive and can help teams stay organised and in control of tasks, milestone and goals.
The beauty of a system like this is that it keeps all your tasks, files, contacts in one place. All team conversations can happen in Teamwork. Having the information readily available eliminates the necessity for team update meetings meaning less time is wasted on updates and more time can be spent actually getting work done.
Teamwork also allows you to open access to your clients so clients can keep on top of a project too. They can see tasks assigned and they can see the progress being made. This can eliminate the constant interruptions from clients looking for status updates.
Evernote is one of those apps that you forget you are using but couldn’t live without. Evernote can help to organise your personal life as well as give you a place for everything in your professional life. Evernote for Business is an amazing tool that many have not discovered yet. One of the biggest advantages of Evernote Business in my opinion is knowledge sharing. Many businesses don’t realise that knowledge could be their competitive advantage and even those who recognise it don’t protect it as they should.
In the world of business thousands of hours are wasted weekly duplicating work and searching for information that should be on hand. It’s a great shame that this continues to happen when applications like Evernote can prevent this from happening. Let’s say you are working with a particular client on a job and you know that another department in your company has previously done work with them. Rather than having to disturb your colleagues and send an email asking who has dealt with them before, you can search company notes to find the information that you need. Evernote syncs seamlessly across platforms, meaning wherever you are, on whatever device you can stay connected.
Asana is another great piece of software, created like Teamwork by people looking for a better solution than what they currently had. Asana is akin to a team task manager, it’s a great way to view your team tasks and measure progress. If you are looking for a simple affordable system this should be high on your list of prospects.
Getting started with Asana is easy, while some software has a steep learning curve this is not one of them. The website has lots of short training videos which help you get up to speed quickly. These videos even have suggestions how to use Asana and one of my favourites is How to Run Meetings with Asana.
Running meetings in Asana is really efficient. By creating an Agenda in Asana, attendees can see what’s on the agenda well in advance and comment on any part of it if necessary. While in the meeting, if Asana is shared on a screen, the agenda can be updated and tasks assigned on the fly, eliminating the need to update and distribute minutes after the meeting. A lot of meetings can be inefficient because follow ups are forgotten and simply avoided, when it comes to Asana follow ups immediately appear in your task list making it difficult to say you forgot or another feeble excuse.
All of these tools help managers to manage their team’s tasks without the need for endless meetings or email updates. Delegation becomes effortless and managers no longer have the headache of following up with team members. Prioritisation becomes a lot easier as tasks can be moved and reprioritised if necessary and collaboration becomes the norm.
If you want to increase performance, team effectiveness, reduce stress and have an easier life, make the move towards one of these tools, it won’t change your teams’ personalities but you will be one step closer to making team of the year.