Cross posted from DEG Consulting.
Just about everything we read about improving productivity is about the individual, it’s about you. But didn’t your coach ever tell you that “you need to work as a team, and not as individuals” when you needed to accomplish something amazing to take home a win? The coach was right.
Working as individuals, it can be hard (not impossible) to accomplish big goals. If a particular project you’re working on has 100 tasks, then on you’re own that’s 100 discrete tasks that you need to do. And if you think you can multitask, think again. If you even attempt to multitask the project will take even longer.
The only option then, to bring the project in on time, is to get help. Get the team working together. Here’s how.
1. Review the Project
Spend 30 minutes to an hour discussing the project as a team. Introduce your team to the project, what you’ve discovered about it, what you don’t yet know, any dependencies and anything else. Unless you’re a dictator in your “team” you will definitely get questions from other that you hadn’t thought of yet. This is perfect. If you can answer the question there and then, do so, but be sure to note down the question and the answer.
If it’s a large project and you’ve already broken it down into tasks and milestones then you’re half-way there! If not, start brainstorming with your team on these main areas:
- What else do we need to know?
- What expertise is required for success?
- What other requirements are there?
Bullet point as much as you can. What you’ll have at the end of the session is a list of tasks! You can always add more headings if you need them.
Now that you have a set of tasks, it’s time to distribute them. Pass tasks to individuals that have the skills to complete it. If it’s documentation that’s needed, give that to the Technical Writer, for example. And don’t forget to give tasks to yourself, you’re part of the team too!
Before the end of the project review, schedule the same amount of time in a few days, or a week (depending on the size of the project). Suggest that everyone must have completed say 3 tasks they’ve been allocated before that date. Then go, do!
Let’s say you have a team of 5 people, including yourself. Now, in the space of a few days you’ll have 15 tasks completed instead of maybe 4 or 5 you would have been able to do if you went it alone.
People are generally willing to help if only they are asked and their input gratefully acknowledged. Even if you don’t have a team to help you out, find someone that has the skills you need and ask them politely if they would be able to help you on just a couple of the tasks. There is a whole art of being able to ask “politely” and get things done, but I won’t cover that here.
But how does everyone keep track of who’s doing what, what’s completed and what’s outstanding? There are a lot of task management applications around, but only a fraction of those have the ability to share lists, projects or workspaces. For this purpose, I would highly recommend Wunderkit. It’s a very simple and effective application that allows your entire team to work together in a Workspace. Tasks can easy be assigned to people, tagged and marked as priorities. And, here’s the kicker, any task can be commented on by other team members. That means if the Technical Writer needs some clarification, he can ask for it in the main workspace message stream and then whoever has the answer can directly respond as a comment against the task! Oh, Wunderkit is dead sexy too.
So there you have it. 3 very simple steps to help you get a whole lot more done in less time, using some very cool software.
Cross posted from DEG Consulting.