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Leadership

Mastering Distributed Team Management with Platform Software

Building a distributed team allows businesses to hire the very best talent by not being limited to a single area of the world. But it’s no doubt that having team members across different time zones comes with significant collaboration and productivity challenges. If you are navigating distributed team management, you need viable tools that can turn a divided team into a central company unit.

The solution is a centralized virtual workspace that makes collaboration possible even when team members are in different locations. With the right software, you can track project timelines, establish core procedures, train teams effectively, convey roles and expectations, and foster a culture of teamwork.

Distributed Team Management and Integrated Solutions

Consider some of the major pain points that come with remote and distributed work. You might be managing team members in various time zones. You certainly have people with different working styles and scheduling needs. You need a way to bring together collaborators, resources, and critical tools in one place so as not to miss creative opportunities for efficiency and teamwork.

So, how can a collaboration and project management platform help you to effectively manage your distributed team?

Centralize Resources

Think of each one of your distributed team members as a puzzle piece. Ideally, they will fit together if given the opportunity, and the right software solution that’s flexible enough to meet your team’s needs can offer that.

An all-in-one platform is the space for team members to come together and tackle projects with:

  • Centralized workviews to keep track of projects and tasks
  • Cloud-based storage for the files and resources necessary to get the job done
  • Internal chat tools that foster collaboration and help keep everyone on the same page 

Manage Workflows

A distributed team management system will help you stay in the loop on team progress. The right platform will give you a clear view of all workflows even as team members are empowered to manage their own projects. It’s easy to maintain both assignments and deadlines and troubleshoot workloads in an adaptable workspace.

With a centralized platform, it’s possible to gracefully manage work happening in multiple time zones because this workspace imposes no working hours or limitations. Team members can access their projects, tasks, and resources 24/7. They can participate in conversations even when collaborators aren’t online, and everyone will receive timely updates when they do log on for the workday.

Train Team Members Efficiently

Training is one of the most difficult tasks in a distributed team setting, and learning new software tools can sometimes be more trouble than they’re worth. A distributed team management platform that is easy to learn and use gets team members on track sooner. They are able to learn as they go when the system is intuitive, enjoyable, and adaptable to their individual working styles.

And because tasks and resources are centralized, you can onboard new team members remotely with less stress and greater efficiency.

Enhance Communication and Collaboration

It’s no secret that team connections and communication are more challenging with remote work. This may be even more true for distributed teams working on different schedules. Solid collaboration needs to be a priority or project success and larger goals are at risk.

A collaboration platform can help your team stay connected with:

  • Reliable file-sharing tools
  • Real-time updates
  • Task chats, group chats, and direct messaging
  • Intuitive activity dashboards
  • Simple assigning and following of tasks
  • Status updates so team members can keep track of others’ availability at a glance

Promote Community and Company Culture

Creating a culture of teamwork instills a shared sense of identity among distributed team members. When everyone is regularly coming together in your centralized workspace, you can easily keep important shared goals top of mind. Plus, when people feel entirely supported and empowered to handle their responsibilities effectively, confidence rises. And with greater confidence, team members are more likely to speak up and contribute in increasingly creative ways. This kind of culture breeds a continuing cycle of inspiration.

Of course, you will continue to run into new challenges with distributed team management. But those challenges are not out of reach with the right software solutions and with a confident and resourceful team committed to constantly improving their shared workspace.

Flow offers a project management solution to help your distributed team stay well connected. To try our complete toolbox, sign up for free!

July 7, 2020

Productivity

Choosing Recurring Task Management Software to Automate your Workflow

The advent of cloud-based productivity tools has helped more companies move their business operations online—whether their teams are still in the office or working remotely. In addition to the obvious benefits of centralization, these tools offer incredible opportunities for streamlining project and task management.

One of the lesser-known solutions that your team should be taking advantage of is recurring task management software. It’s a tool designed to increase efficiency and avoid administrative busy work so your team members can focus on the tasks that deserve more attention.

The Benefits of Recurring Task Management Software

At first, adopting a new software tool can sound like adding one more thing to your team’s plate to learn and use. But an intuitive tool that manages repeating tasks actually frees your team to accomplish more. Hence, the benefits go well beyond the immediate task management solution. 

Create and Organize To-Dos So Nothing Gets Lost

One of the biggest pain points of general task management is that information and resources can get lost and, as a result, interrupt important workflows. However, with an integrated task management tool, this kind of hiccup is a thing of the past. Here’s why.

When you create a task, you can:

  • Add  tasks to corresponding projects, which can be easily accessed by project collaborators
  • Take ownership of the task or assign it to another team member. You can also add as many followers as you need to and they’ll be notified of task updates.
  • Attach files and link resources that will remain within the task.
  • Add comments to tasks and tag in collaborators so your team can weigh in.
  • Add subtasks to larger, more complex tasks.
  • Create tags and set a priority for quick and easy filtering later.

These features make creating and organizing to-dos easy for everyone. Finding tasks is also simplified through filtering and sorting. You can go to a project’s home to find tasks or filter by one of the tags. The more customization your tool offers, the faster the search—for a task, a file, or a follower—will be.

Increase Team Productivity Where It Matters Most

Setting up tasks is just the beginning. If you make the most out of your task management software, team productivity can also improve. We’ve compiled a list of helpful tips below:

  • Set ongoing tasks to recur on the day, week, or month that you choose. This eliminates the need to manually recreate tasks.
  • Assign start and due dates in addition to setting the task’s priority level. This removes confusion over what to focus on first or how much time you should budget.
  • Create subtasks when a task is large, complicated, or needs the involvement of multiple team members. This breaks up work into even more manageable pieces, lessening the burden on a single individual.
  • Duplicate task templates when tasks need to be created for a new project or team member. This cuts down on mundane admin duties, like constantly creating tasks from scratch.
  • Generate weekly reminders of routine and unique tasks. This reduces the weight of having to remember it all while reinforcing the habit of planning the week ahead.

When team members use these features to their advantage, everyone becomes accountable to their own individual and team tasks. This sense of accountability will positively impact productivity and overall engagement on your team.

Help Your Team Reach Their Peak

By automating as many tasks as possible, team members have more time and energy to keep the end goal in sight. They can focus on high-level priorities and spend more time creatively solving problems. Plus, it’s much easier to empower your team to use their unique strengths and skills when they’re not bogged down with busywork. This kind of efficiency allows you to apply yourself to projects that will evolve the company culture and move the business forward.

The Right Task Management Option for Your Team

Not all recurring task management software is created equal—which is actually a good thing. After all, every company, team, and team member is unique. You don’t want to be stuck with a tool that can’t offer your team the flexibility they need to do their best work.

The ideal software for your team is easy to learn and use. It integrates seamlessly with the other tools you already use and love. Oftentimes, an all-in-one platform that combines the best productivity tools is a better and cheaper way to go in the long run. Less equals more when more means juggling too many virtual tools at once. Look for an accessible setup and a smooth learning curve. That way, your team won’t miss a beat.

By automating recurring tasks and other administrative details, you’ll be able to leverage the full range of talents on your team. As a comprehensive software solution, Flow can help you do this and more—with ease. Try free today!

July 1, 2020

Teamwork

Comparing Project Management Software for Small Business: What’s Best for Your Team?

At any point, you could take the initiative to re-evaluate and simplify your team’s day-to-day processes to improve productivity. Regardless of size, most businesses eventually need help with managing projects and tasks more efficiently—especially if they’re anticipating growth.

If you work with a smaller team and could benefit from a centralized platform to boost productivity, a project management software that’s designed for small businesses is a great start. The best option will be a tool that can easily scale as your projects and team members multiply and your overall business grows. To help you narrow your choices, we’ve rated a few excellent workspace options here.

Productivity Features That Matter Most to Small- and Mid-Sized Teams

First, let’s look briefly at the features that a project management software should have for small and mid-sized teams:

  • Robust task management. A robust task management tool will help organize information, prioritize work, and increase project visibility. These benefits are essential for streamlining individual workflow. By having the functionality to simply attach files, set due dates, and assign or subscribe to tasks, workflow management can become much easier.
  • Powerful communication. Communication features that are powerful enough to organize the exchange of ideas and encourage real-time collaboration is a must-have. With the combined ability to chat within tasks, share information in group channels, and message teammates directly, important information won’t be lost or misunderstood.
  • Seamless app integration. You may already use a time-tracking tool, like Harvest, or cloud-based storage, like Dropbox. If these tools are already working well for your team, there is no reason to give them up when your platform provides third-party app integration. Of course, seamless compatibility is key to keeping frustration low and engagement high.
  • Short learning curve. When the learning curve is steep, project management tools don’t last very long. So, the more intuitive the system, the better, because your team can’t afford workflow interruption. If you aren’t able to dive into the platform and begin familiarizing yourself right away, it’s more likely to cause stress and to be abandoned.
  • Scalable pricing. Paying a flat rate for small business project management software can constrict your growth and strain your budget. The size of projects and the number of team members can shift as rapidly as the economy. Scalable pricing helps you adjust to changes without having to find a new platform.

Three Software Options with Key Project Management Features

There are several software options on the market that include some or all of the above features, but we’re going to compare just a few. We want to focus on platforms that work well for small and mid-sized teams that can also grow with your business over time.

On a scale of one to five, with five being the highest, we’ve rated each feature for these top three options. We’ve also included a rating for design because the look and feel of a platform impact team engagement and love of the work, too.

Wrike
As a project management system, Wrike offers an impressive list of features for making every stage of a project run smoothly. It also assists with team communication, offers app integrations, and provides tiered pricing based on the features you actually use and how many team members will have access. Unfortunately, the learning curve can be steep, and the design is clean but stark. It’s messaging function is also too lean for optimal team communication.

Task Management: 4
Communication: 2
App Integration: 4
Learning Curve: 2
Pricing: 3
Design: 3
Trello
Trello is one of the simplest project management platforms out there. For some businesses, teams, and projects, it might even be too simple. If your team finds that to be true, you can pay for additional plugins or opt to work with more than one platform. But that kind of multitasking can undermine your goal of streamlining projects. While it lacks some important capabilities, it is very easy to use at a lower cost.

Task Management: 3
Communication: 2
App Integration: 4
Learning Curve: 5
Pricing: 4
Design: 4
Flow
Flow brings together all the best features into one elegant workspace that teams of all sizes love to use. It streamlines tasks, inspires collaboration, and works with many of your favorite apps. But the surprising beauty of Flow is that it can be learned in minutes—even by teams with contrasting work styles. This delightful, customizable tool also comes with scalable pricing.

Task Management: 5
Communication: 5
App Integration: 4
Learning Curve: 5
Pricing: 4
Design: 5

The Right Project Management Software for Your Small Business

Project management software benefits small businesses in so many ways. Namely, it creates space to focus on the big picture. That’s because getting good work done is not just about work. Passion, connection, and meaning also matter a great deal. The truth is that productivity usually lags when people lack support and context. When they have access to the right tools, it’s easier to achieve more while recognizing the value of their efforts.

So, as you move forward in your research to find the best project management software for your team, consider more than just the ratings we’ve presented. Sign up for free trials to ensure you get a platform you truly love. The system that helps to bring more intrinsic value to your business is the right one for your team.

Flow has all the features that matter most for small teams. Since it’s an elegant, easy-to-use platform that is built to scale, it will continue to support your business even as you grow. To try it on for size, sign up for free today.

June 25, 2020
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