Working on projects? Collaborating with people? STOP Using Email

Do you use email for managing projects and tasks?
Most people do. Email seems like the most convenient form of communication to “get things done”. People working on projects also need to work with other people: colleagues, consultants, vendors, clients, etc.

The problem: Most people managing projects are struggling to meet deadlines. Organising people around a project, getting status updates and keeping everyone on the same page is a constant struggle. When you use EMAIL to manage projects, you increase the problem. Email actually derails projects!

How Email Derails Projects

Projects usually comprise a series of tasks. A project manager is the person who knows what all those tasks are, but other people will be the ones completing the tasks. So a project manager needs to assign work to the right people and then monitor progress.

Think about what email is good at providing: asynchronous communication with a paper trail, and document delivery. Now think about what’s needed for assigning and tracking tasks: knowing who’s available and how much work they already have on their plate, moment to moment; visibility into the progress of the work; a calendar of deadlines; the ability to prioritize and reprioritize tasks based on the needs of the project; and so forth.

Email is not the right tool for assigning tasks/work. Email cannot be used to monitor project progress. Infact email increases stress, creates unnecessary work, and makes people feel overwhelmed. No one does exceptional work under these conditions. Productivity experts have pushed knowledge workers to get off of email, or at least to ditch internal company email. An excellent way shift away from email is to all but ban it from project work and move that communication to a project management service instead.

Using Email for Project Management?
Using Email for Project Management?

Project management services are online tools that teams use to track their work on projects, discuss the details, and complete the job. Users can use a project management tool simultaneously or asynchronously. Every tool is a little different, but most of them give users greater visibility into every aspect of the project than email can. It’s a calmer, more peaceful way to work.

Get Organised. Get TeamWave.

TeamWave is an integrated suite of business applications for small & medium-sized companies.

Simple Project Management Software
Simple Project Management!

TeamWave’s project management application enables cross-functional teams (your employees, clients or vendors) to collaborate, organize and discuss everything they need to get a project done. See it, track it, discuss it, act on it. Tasks, discussions, milestones, and files – Keep all your work in one place!

Features:
– Tasks / To-Dos
– Project Reports
– Time Tracking
– Discussion Board
– Milestone & Events
– Project Templates
– Documents & Files
– Latest Activity
– Advanced Search

See the full feature list or signup for a free trial.

Spending less time on Email leads to better Productivity

The benefits of getting a team off email and into a project management platform to communicate during the course of a project are enormous. The reduction in email alone is sure to make everyone happy, but that pales in comparison with the added value of everyone knowing where everything is, they know what they need to do, and nothing slips through the cracks. Better visibility & insights help decision makers to make good decisions.

New in Projects: Estimates, Time Tracking and Advanced Reports

Our customers love TeamWave’s project management application…

TeamWave Projects App

Now we have made it even better by introducing task estimates, improving time log entry, time log export and revamping project reports.

Adding Estimated Time for Tasks

Adding estimated time can be very useful when we’d like to compare it with the actual time spent to complete a task. After adding a task just click on the ‘clock’ icon to enter estimated time.
Time Estimates

Adding Time Logs

Log time spent on tasks and check out the previously logged time for the same task by clicking on the ‘clock’ icon.

Time logs

Exporting Time Logs

Create and download reports for a specific project by accessing the ‘Time Log‘ section of the project. These reports will be downloaded as ‘.xlsx ‘ files and you’ll be able to upload them to your favorite invoicing app.

Report log

Create report to compare estimated time and actual time spent on task completion.

Estimate vs actual

Advanced Reporting

We have a major upgrade in our advanced reports (project management application) and it will deliver significant value to project admins and account owners. All of the reports have been categorized into three broad sections – project specific, user specific and time log specific. They will provide quick insights on the project progress, productivity, time logs and help you spot trends with a few clicks. You’ll also be able to download reports by filtering projects, clients, users and selecting time period. 

For example, the ‘time log timeline’ report shows the time logged for each project over a particular time period. It’ll help you answer questions like – for which project billable hour has been continuously increasing,  decreasing or progressing without any change.

To understand universal reporting in greater detail, check out the following video.


Try TeamWave Projects CRM HRMS

Best Practices to Succeed in the Project Management Jungle

Peter Drucker Quote
Managing or playing a role in a project is something that every professional will have to do at some point during their career. Irrespective of the degree of project’s complexity, it can be quite challenging. Handling multiple tasks, people, responsibilities and deadlines can easily keep even experienced managers on their toes. There are many methodologies to ease the project management process, but without a solid foundation it will eventually succumb to failure. Let’s now go through the best practices for a successful project.

  • Project Scope, Schedule and Budget

The first task as a project manager is to understand what needs to be achieved out of the project. Project scope sets the boundary of the project and to understand it we need to take into account who the stake holders are, what are their expectations and what kind of support they can provide. For example in a web application development project, the scope can include design, development and testing of the app. But, the integration with some third-party service may be out of scope.

Scope, schedule and budget allocated for the project are the three inter-related factors which will have crucial impact on the outcome. The illustration given below depicts the trade-off among scope, budget and schedule. If one of them is affected, it will have an impact on the other two.

Project Scope Budget Schedule

The key takeaway is to have crystal clear understanding of these three and make sure that they all are in tandem with each other till the completion of the project.

  • Deliverables

Once the scope is set, the manager will need to set the deliverables. For example, a digital advertising agency might have the following deliverables for a social media management project:

    • Setting up social media pages and claiming the custom URL
    • Content Calendar
    • Social media ad campaigns
    • Monitoring and responding to audiences
    • Social media analytics and reporting

In short, there must be a detailed documentation about project deliverables and the same should be signed off by the stake holders.

  • Project Planning

Project plans help managers in estimating budget, time for each deliverable and assigning them to team members. To create an effective plan, there should be a Work Breakdown Structure. The project manager should breakdown the project deliverables into tasks and sub-tasks. Now, the following factors must be taken into account to proceed with the plan:

    • Inter-dependency of the tasks
    • Priority of tasks
    • Time and effort required for each task

Depending upon these three factors, the manager should allocate suitable resources and create realistic milestones. This will indicate key dates on which various tasks will be completed and help with the management of resources (both time and team members) efficiently.

  • Communication

Communication is one of the most important element of any project. It covers whole gamut of project level efforts from delegating, motivating, guiding to reporting back to the stakeholders. A project communication plan will cover the following:

    • Information about communication channel, reporting hierarchy of team members, frequency and format of communication.
    • Improving team performance by clearly communicating the project objective and tasks to be completed
    • Keeping project stake holders in sync with the progress and criticality of various milestones

Project manager also needs to make sure that micromanagement of all aspects of project and excessive communication must be avoided.

  • Reporting and Tracking Progress

After commencement of the project, manager needs to keep a track of the progress and make sure that it is in accordance with the plan. The report given by the team members should be used to measure the variation in terms of budget, schedule and scope. In case of any variation from the proposed plan, project manager must communicate the same to the stake holders and take necessary corrective action to bring the project back on track.

  • Change Management

The assumptions made from the very beginning of the project may not always hold good till the end of the project. Because of changing business scenarios the project scope might change and it would invariably lead to change in deliverables. Thus, the project manager should have a keen eye on these changes and take decision about whether or not to include the deliverables or post-pone the deliverables to future releases. Incorporating all the changes in the project will make the budget and schedule go overboard and result in a failed project.

  • Project Management Application

There are plethora of options available when it comes to project management applications. In order to choose the right tool the manager needs to have deep understanding of business requirements, constraints and resources.

At the primary level, the project management application should have features to breakdown the project into tasks, facilitate team collaboration, time tracking and cost estimation. TeamWave Projects application has been developed by keeping in mind these factors to help small and medium size businesses manage their projects. You can have a sneak peek at the features of the application from the link given below:

TeamWave Projects

Summary

Adopting the best practices mentioned above can eliminate many roadblocks and save the project from going kaput. These can be considered as effective starting points and their application will surely lay a robust foundation for a successful project.