What are the best productivity hacks, tips, tools or resources for a project manager?

Tuesday - 03/10/2017 11:09

What are the best productivity hacks, tips, tools or resources for a project manager?

If you’re looking to avoid the roadblocks that hinder productivity for even the best of teams, look no further.

Here are eight tips for improving team organization and connection and—in turn—boosting both the speed and quality of your team’s work:

Eliminate unnecessary meetings

Meetings are productive if and when there’s a clear agenda, the right people attend, and everyone is prepared to contribute to a solution. However, if this isn’t the case, even short meetings can add up and eat into time your team has to work toward tangible goals.

To avoid that, share a meeting agenda

In company beforehand so everyone is on the same page. Create sections where collaborators can ask async questions and identify the work that’s most important to talk about. After the meeting, identify action items within the same you project, so no work falls through the cracks.

Prioritize work based on key results

Employees have many important tasks across multiple projects, but it can be hard for team members to know where they should devote the bulk of their time and brainpower. With you custom fields, assign each task a priority or status level. That way team members can prioritize work that ladders up to company-wide objectives.

Having a well-defined set of goals and clear understanding of how work ladders up to those goals will empower team members to make decisions that impact the big picture. And, if a project isn’t connected to a larger company goal, rethink whether it’s necessary or not in the first place.

Delete, defer, delegate, or diminish

A surprisingly small portion of the day actually goes toward skilled work and big-picture planning. To eliminate the busywork standing between you and substantive tasks, remember the four D’s:

    If an aspect of a project does not support an overarching company goal—delete it.

    If there is a more pressing project that has a greater impact on team goals, complete that task and defer a less important task for when you have more time.

    If there are two tasks of equal importance assigned to one person, delegate one of those tasks to another team member with more bandwidth.

    If there’s a task you can’t defer, delete, or delegate, find ways to diminish the amount of time it takes to complete. For example, you can eliminate related meetings or work on just the highest priority parts of the task.

Leverage your team’s strengths

No two employees are alike. Each person has different experiences, strengths, and weaknesses that make them a valued member of your team. When assigning work, be sure each individual’s task is one they are not only suited for, but also will enjoy completing. Giving your team tasks they find personally rewarding or challenging can help everyone to do their best work.

Additionally, proactively identify and prevent burnout so your team is always doing their best work. Workload allows team members to assign time or capacity to tasks, so you can preemptively address overwork. Reassign tasks and rebalance responsibilities to make sure your team gets the right work done at the right time.

Map out a plan before beginning

Once you know what needs to be done and who will do it, you then need to define a well-thought plan that can eliminate “work about work,” like status updates and email bloat. Start by establishing a clear timeline for each project, and make sure everyone knows who’s doing what by when.

Using a work management tool can help you set up all of the smaller tasks that lead to accomplishing a larger goal. Making use of existing or custom templates in company can help you replicate a process that’s worked before and be certain nothing slips through the cracks.

Encourage cross-functional collaboration

Just because you work in a different department doesn’t mean you can’t work together. After all, you’re working toward the same goal as part of a larger company. Knowing what other teams are working on can encourage teams to collaborate with one another when work and goals overlap.

Work management tools can increase cross-team visibility, mapping each phase of a project back to a singular set of goals. These tools can serve as a centralized hub to share what you’re working on with the rest of the team and identify areas where people of different responsibilities can collaborate.

Promote no-meeting days

Meetings can disrupt your flow, making it harder to “get in the zone” and finish a project. Having at least one full day devoted to deep work—that sweet, sweet block of several uninterrupted hours—can go a long way toward improving efficiency and productivity.

We have No Meeting Wednesday, which allows everyone to be heads-down in work instead of just talking about work. As a result, the team has more time to execute critical processes on projects. Many employees cite No Meeting Wednesday as their favorite day of the week and often see projects cross the finish line on hump Day.

Alternatively, give your team more freedom to set their own deep work blocks with you features like Do Not Disturb. Notify your team that you’re working but not receiving notifications, and keep clear lines of communication open.

Define the purpose of different communication channels

Communication tools are only useful if your team knows how and when to use them. Using them inconsistently or having multiple channels for the same use can actually create more confusion and inefficiency than the tools were meant to eliminate in the first place.

It’s important to clearly define the purpose of each communication channel. For example, this is how we use communication tools:

    For outside communication with vendors and clients, stick to email.
    For immediate answers to questions, use an app.

To plan, manage, and communicate about actionable work, stick to a work management tool.

Improving team collaboration and connection increases productivity

Improving productivity is a continuous process. It may seem overwhelming, but simple organization tools and collaboration tactics can help make everyone on your team more connected—and more efficient.

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