Whether you’re an agency, event planner, or a start-up – planning projects is just part of daily working life. Every project includes several to-do’s and deadlines. Not only that, a project usually requires strong team collaboration, as well as organisational talent. How often has a deadline, a small to-do, or a comment been forgotten by a colleague? The right project management system can remedy this!
Project management tools, such as awork, were developed to make flexible and clear team collaboration possible. The main advantage of having a smart helper is that all information for each team member has been bundled into one central location and thanks to modern cloud technology (SaaS), downloading the software is no longer necessary either.
The question remains however: what are teams actually looking for in a project management tool? And what do they truly need?
Project management today: digital and flexible
The working world is evolving and many offices are also changing their traditional structures: certain colleagues work from home office now, while some work in the coffee shop around the corner. Other offices no longer have fixed working hours and arrangements with colleagues are increasingly made digitally.
Some firms are testing the four-day working week concept successfully. In August 2019, Microsoft gave the four-day week a shot and they reported that there were many indications that a shorter working week could increase employee productivity. The conclusion was as follows: if one has less time at his or her disposal, one will work speedier and with more determination.
There have been similar developments in the flex-work branch. According to a study conducted by the Trendence Institute of 2019, 79 percent of surveyed young professionals indicated that they had been given the option to work from home. And about 64.9 percent believe that while they are in home office, they are more productive and able to deliver better work results.
If colleagues are not working in the same location, team communication becomes even more important. Half of the study’s respondents (51.3 percent) believe remote work has a negative effect on the team. At the same time, the study came to the conclusion that modern cloud solutions or communications tools, for instance Slack, need to be implemented in more offices.
One thing is certain: working in teams is becoming faster and especially more mobile.
One thing is certain: working in teams is becoming faster and especially more mobile. In order to support teams in these times of change, smart project management tools have been made available, which act upon agencies’ needs, simplifying complex and confusing working procedures while also facilitating communication with the team.
Project management for teams – here’s how it works:
- Teams need a digital workspace that is accessible to everyone.
- However, there also needs to be a clear rights management system.
- Agreements need to be easy to find (again).
- Who works on what task? Clear responsibilities is a key term here.
- Everything in one place: no more going back and forth between several tools. It’s prone to errors and kills productivity.
- The tool should always be accessible: even when using a laptop or the app on a mobile device.
- How long have we worked on this project? Time tracking and analysing tracked hours simplify processes for the team.
- Whatever you use (Kanban boards, smart lists, or visual planning), project managment is diverse and should be just as flexible as the team.
Project management with awork: perfect for your team
Your team may consist of five or perhaps 30 colleagues, but the challenges you face are ultimately the same. The tool shouldn’t be too complicated, but at the same time it needs to be elaborate and accessible for each team member.
Additionally, we are faced with new challenges when it comes to collaborating in a modern team, key term here being New Work. These days, projects managers’ focus has shifted: they need to coach their colleagues more than lead them, enable rather than determine, and support rather than control processes.
Therefore, cooperating with the team and self-organisation are becoming increasingly important for each individual. This is why digital tools always play an important role, as clarity must be kept, despite there being so many projects and team challenges as mentioned earlier. Without agile methods and smart project management tools, it just cannot be achieved.
Project management with awork: simply start
Using awork, your team can start immediately, since you would not need to download the software. awork offers a cloud-based solution (SaaS or Software as a Service), which means you can immediately start planning projects and creating your first to-do’s. Our servers are located exclusively in Germany.
Once the first tasks in awork have been created, it is important that everyone in the team has access to the project and receives the tasks they are supposed to work on.
Clear responsibilities and an intuitive user interface help everyone achieve a good overview, which also allows users to quickly find the right contact person for questions or feedback.
Project management: check list for team collaboration
- Who works on what tasks? Always assign a responsibility!
- By when is the task to be completed? Create a deadline!
- Are there feedback loops? Plan an appropriate amount of time for it!
- A little tip: comments and messages within the tool directly really keeps your team up-to-date.
Everyone works differently, which is why awork offers several options for project planning. You can either create tasks in smart lists, work with flexible Kanban boards or plan projects visually using the timeline.
A Kanban board shows you what topics are being focused on and which ones should be completed soon. Team members have an overview of their own to-do’s, however they can also see how busy their colleagues are and assess whether or not they need support. This is also very practical in case someone were to be sick.
This is the main strength of Kanban boards: it offers a quick glance at the project status.
If many to-do’s are “stuck” at the same time or when tasks are proceeding quite slowly, the weaknesses within the work process will become apparent even before the project team realises that the project isn’t running smoothly. This is the main strength of Kanban boards: it offers a quick glance at the project status.
Especially with teams there are more extensive projects where some to-do’s come together. How about a visual timetable for such projects, in order to also get a good overview in terms of time?
The visual planner in awork allows you to visualise all the tasks of a project on a timeline and create milestones. This way, each team member can see when individual tasks need to be completed and how much time should be scheduled for each to-do at a glance. Simply add a start date and a deadline to your tasks and the tasks will then automatically show up on the timeline. Of course, you can also create new tasks on the timeline itself.
What’s really practical about visual planning with the timeline is that you’ll be able to quickly recognise dependency issues. If one task is waiting for another to be completed, you can illustrate this dependency using an arrow. It helps users meet deadlines and recognise problems in a timely manner.
What’s really practical about visual planning with the timeline is that you’ll be able to quickly recognise dependency issues.
Mobile project management
Mobile work is no longer a rarity. Being able to use your project management tool on the go is becoming increasingly important.
With the awork app, you are kept in the loop while being mobile. You can create tasks, manage projects, coordinate with your colleagues or start tracking your hours. Even on the go, team communication is quick and simple. Simply tag your colleagues using the @-symbol and they will receive a message in the tool directly and also by e-mail. Your colleagues then get to the right task in awork with just one click and can answer you immediately.
Mobile time tracking is especially useful. Work on a specific to-do on the metro or start the time tracker right at the start of your client meeting.
Time is Money? Time tracking and time evaluation
Speaking of time tracking, it is quite a tricky topic. While some are afraid of supervision, others demonise time tracking, as it is not a criterion for being creative, and some people critise the wasted time that goes into it.
On the other hand, there are always people who have used time tracking tools who have managed to identify several time-consuming activities and who have ultimately become more productive.
As being physically present is becoming less vital in modern work situations, companies need solutions, which also work from home office. This is why the option to record your times should also be included in a smart project management tool (within projects and tasks directly, if possible).
In essence, time recording is a mechanism for recording and optimising processes properly. Working time tracking is about the start, the end, and the total amount of time worked. Project time tracking on the other hand, determines the distribution of working time across different projects, tasks processes, and clients.
Time tracking should not be primarily used for supervision purposes, but for your own self-evaluation.
A good time tracker covers the entire working day and can show you how much time you have put into which activity. This is the only way to optimise processes.
Important note: ignore the eight hour maxim! It is a common misbelief that we have to allocate and record eight working hours a day to our tasks. No employee is productive or creative eight hours a day.
Time tracking in awork
There are several ways to track your working time in awork. Mobile and in the web app.
You can track your hours within tasks or projects directly with the simple awork stopwatch, or you can use the drag & drop feature in your calendar. You can, of course, track your times retrospectively, if you had perhaps forgotten to activate the stopwatch. awork also gives you the option to import dates from your personal calendar into awork directly and convert these into tracked hours.
The numerous time tracking possibilities greatly support team collaboration. This way, it is immediately apparent which topics take more time, which ones are to be charged at a higher rate and also which ones are processed faster.
To optimise your workflow, it is not enough to just track your hours. They also have to be evaluated. For this, awork offers many filter and categorisation options, in order to create meaningful time evaluations. Your individual evaluations can be downloaded as an Excel sheet or a PDF.
This feature is also very important for teams. Firstly, the evaluations can be attached to a client invoice including logo, secondly, the team gets a better overview of the workload and the duration of the individual tasks of the project.
Besides the intelligent time tracking interface, awork also has over 1,000 other apps at the ready. How are these integrations worthwhile for teams?
Tools one cannot do without
Every team uses tools that they can no longer do without and which clearly simplify cooperation within the team. As the Trendence Institute study revealed, such tools are used by too few companies. This is why it is even more important to integrate them into the project management tool.
A popular tool for team communication is Slack, for example. Colleagues can create groups or directly communicate with one specific person via Slack. Files can also be sent to one another and it is easy to keep each other up-to-date too. Perfect for colleagues working from home or in large offices.
awork offers you a direct integration with Slack. This means you can create tasks in awork, leave comments or start tracking time with a specific task, all using the Slack chat directly. Colleagues can directly start project planning through the chat and they will not need to switch between tools for this anymore.
Project management tools support teams in organising their projects, and they improve and speed up cooperation between colleagues. This way, all team members are kept up-to-date, all information can be found in one central location and unnecessary meetings or e-mails have become a thing of the past.