Advice from leading experts, interviews with incredible teams, and ideas for achieving more together.
When Flow launched a decade ago, the world looked very different, as did our relationship to work. There were more in-person meetings, fewer asynchronous chat conversations and many more whiteboards turned grey from overuse.
And when our team thought about “getting work done” and how best to do it with Flow, we looked inward, using our company as the basis for solving the challenges and supporting the ambitions of other companies. The key was that we associated work with a team—multiple people communicating and contributing to an agreed-upon goal. In short, we bought into the idea that it takes a village to complete a task.
In reality, that’s just one way to work. More and more people are striking out on their own every day as freelancers, independent contractors and small business owners. As of this year, over a third of the American workforce was made up of these individuals, with earnings over $1.2 trillion. While Flow has always been available to use on your own, it wasn’t built for it, so it felt necessary to catch up with this evolution in work.
When we looked into how people use Flow today, it aligned with this shift we were witnessing in the world. While teams still make up the majority of our new customers, we were surprised to find that over 20% of current customers are working on their own. So it was the perfect time to carve out a space in Flow specifically for teams of one.
When you work alone, or even on a small team, it forces you to get organized; you don’t have the same safety net that a large team can provide, where if something slips through the cracks or is scheduled improperly, someone else will notice. In that sense, solo users need power features that can take their work to the next level, but in a space that allows for deep focus and keeps them accountable to themselves.
So we built a single-player version of Flow that we call Flow Solo. It jettisons all the team-specific functionality but retains the simplicity and intuitive design of Flow.
What that looks like in practice is stripping away team-related features like chat, catch up, and teammates views that allow you to see tasks assigned to other people in your organization —including tasks you’re following and have delegated.
With Flow Solo you’ll have access to premium features like task priority, due times, start dates, custom tags and more. It’s the same great foundation that Flow was built on.
Flow Solo is $2.99/month if you pay annually or $4.99/month if you pay monthly. It is capped at a single user. And whenever you’re ready to grow, it’s as easy as choosing a team plan in your billing settings—from there, you’re free to invite as many users as you’d like.
Flow Solo also got us thinking about the actions and risks individuals take every day to make our world better, and how we could support them in their pursuits. That’s why we’ll be offering Flow Solo completely free to verified first responders, students, and teachers. To learn more about these discounts and to find out if you qualify, please get in touch!
As work changes, Flow will always be there to adapt with it.
Goal visualization is key among project leaders in achieving specific objectives. For both team members and managers, there’s a certain motivation that comes along with knowing how you’re progressing on a project. Envisioning the workflow and the steps necessary to complete a project leads to immeasurable success.
One approach which project teams use to better visualize their progress is a Kanban project management tool. A Kanban system acts as a visual aid for managing workflow as it moves through a succinct process. But a Kanban program should never stand alone. While it’s an important part of your platform, it’s just as critical that you also have a feature-rich solution that includes other key functionalities such as task management, tracking, and calendar integration.
Kanban Project Management Tool Options
If you understand the Kanban task management process, it’s probably safe to say that you appreciate the value that a Kanban project management tool can offer. Adding a Kanban option with full functionality for calendar integration and task management, tagging, sorting, and filtering, as well as the other benefits mentioned below, will enable your team to synergize successfully.
Key features of the best Kanban tools include:
Customizable Views and Calendar Integration
In order to understand the progression of your team’s project, customizable views are important for taking a look at project timelines, files, notes, and calendar updates.
Task Management and Organization
Effective task management organization is a necessity for seamless progression on projects. That’s why it’s important to work with a platform that enables the organization and prioritization of individual and team member project tasks into one shared tool.
Tagging, Sorting, and Filtering Capabilities
An enhanced Kanban system offers the ability to search and filter by assignee, status, tags, start date, or due date to determine progress. You should be able to track overdue or unassigned tasks or those that are missing deadlines.
Tracking time spent on project management with integrated apps like Harvest is important for project teams not only when tracking internal time on projects but also for reporting and invoicing.
Built-in Messaging for Real-time Communication
Through a robust built-in chat and messaging tool, team members and managers can send one-on-one, team, and project messages to one another through a direct, real-time team communication system.
Cloud-based File Storage
With extensive projects, it’s likely that you’ll need integration of large-scale, cloud-based file storage systems from applications like Dropbox, Google Drive, Box, and SharePoint will ensure your team has access to all of the important project files.
Team Productivity Tools
When teams are collaborating on workloads, they need productivity tools for managing to-do-lists, dragging and dropping tags and assignees, adding task comments, and holding project conversations—all within a single tool.
Kanban Card Customization
Customizing Kanban cards by icons and accent colors enables the simple, visual organization of your projects and tasks.
The role of a Kanban board is to keep workflow moving along smoothly with the ability to redirect assignments and workflows where necessary.
App integration enables project teams to incorporate their favorite tools into a central task management platform.
When you have remote team members, it’s important that everyone has access to your Kanban tool and that it’s available from any location at any time.
The ideal Kanban project management tool doesn’t just enable you to visualize project progress. You should be able to experience all of the options above and more. Modern Kanban project management tools offer more than simple task boards. Kanban solutions such as Trello, Click Up, and Monday.com only enable basic functionality and integrations but may not suit a company looking for a complete solution.
Ultimately, accessing a productivity app that facilitates remote access, built-in messaging, and comprehensive task management functionality will redefine the way your workday progresses.
An All-In-One Workflow Solution
A solid Kanban offering acts as an all-in-one platform for creating and viewing assignments, tagging assignees, adding due dates, storing files, and pinning projects. Calendar integration and built-in messaging are also essential for progressive project workflow.
While a Kanban tool can enable you to process workflow more seamlessly, what if your team needs to integrate alternative tools and apps? Calendar, task, built-in chat, and other features of the right Kanban tool can assist your teams with streamlining workloads from start to finish.
Knowing the precise steps necessary to effectively complete a project involves visualizing progress. As you and your team strive toward impressive results, it’s critical to choose a Kanban project management tool that is also a fully-featured, comprehensive task and project management system that can help catapult your team to success.
Have you ever had a close friend move away? You promise to stay in contact, but eventually it becomes more and more difficult. Maybe you still touch base on occasion, but your relationship has likely fundamentally changed. Similarly, this is a challenge that’s often faced in the workplace as well. Although distributed teams have been around for years, they often come with the price of disconnection if they don’t have the right tools in place to keep collaboration thriving, even at a distance.
When you have a project that involves multiple contributors disbursed in various locations across the country or globe, you must find a way to connect proactively with your team. Fortunately, modern project management tools for distributed teams are feature-rich, dynamic, and intuitive solutions for resolving challenges that could otherwise cause rifts in communication or productivity.
What Do Distributed Teams Need to Be Productive?
Tools for distributed teams are especially helpful in agile project management. With multiple distributed teams spread across various geographies and timezones, there are more dynamics to address than ever before. Teams with incredible diversity, a huge spectrum of virtual work environments, and the challenge of coordinating work across time zones all mean that today’s distributed teams have a whole lot going on.
Communicating asynchronously is critical and works in any agile development model. From face-to-face meetings to remote communication, there are tools and ways to get around common bottlenecks so team members don’t have to be physically located in your office.
Key Tools for Distributed Teams
- An Intuitive activity dashboard that is modern, fresh, and enables teams to integrate, collaborate, and communicate together online from any location.
- Task management features that keep your team organized and on track by allowing team members to assign tasks, add followers, incorporate due dates, and even include reminders for upcoming project deadlines. You can also:
- Create to-do lists for teams and individuals offering a simple, standardized way to check off project lists.
- Set recurring tasks that can be easily repeatable for projects.
- File-sharing capabilities that allow members to attach documents, add comments, and include spreadsheets from one single location. They can also take advantage of:
- Storage application integration with systems like Dropbox.
- Collaborative document sharing through integrated programs like GSuite, Google Docs, and Dropbox Paper.
- Timeline and calendar views enable teams to work together across a project to balance workloads. This includes:
- Project schedule view for easily dragging and dropping tasks when building out a project plan based on a precise timeline.
- Workload tab for viewing and filtering tasks by individual, team, or project so that you can examine how multiple workloads are aligning.
- Built-in group, project, and direct chat options. Many project management tools integrate remote messaging apps, but most do not offer built-in messaging directly as part of a collaborative software tool.
- Mute functionality. When you and your team members are working on short timelines, it’s important to be able to mute all notifications so the team can focus on the project at hand.
- Department-specific functionality. For example, HR options like Lattice can be integrated for hiring, conducting employee reviews and recognition, as well as storing personal information. Other options like BambooHR can be used for managing vacation and time off.
By using the right collaborative workspace solution for all of your distributed teams, you can bring your project members up to speed more easily and quickly so that no one gets caught in communication bottlenecks.
Tips for Distributed Team Collaboration and Productivity
Aided by a powerful task management system and great management fundamentals, a distributed team model can operate just as well as if your entire team was working from a single office. To get started, consider the following:
- Maintain flexible working hours.
- Use an agile approach for connecting project teams.
- Encourage connection and collaboration by setting up virtual social hours and celebrating milestones.
- Choose a system with multiple workflow options to support distributed team members’ unique work styles.
- Ensure calendar integration and the ability to display project timelines by team, individual, or project.
- Incorporate a system with a wide range of app integration tools like Dropbox, Harvest, and Zapier.
Since the importance of remote and distributed teams has grown significantly in the workforce, especially over the last few years, it’s more critical than ever to meaningfully engage day-to-day on projects. If you have a project involving many contributors, working in different time zones, and connecting from different locations, you need the right systems in place to reach your project goals.
Implementing the Best Distributed Team Project Management System
Most teams today have some form of a distributed workforce, and it’s more important than ever to bring together your in-person, remote, and distributed teams across your company to engage effectively. Tools that rely less on interdependencies and more on team collaboration will out-produce disconnected systems every time.
With its intuitive platform, Flow supports teams in adjusting to the new reality of distributed and remote work. With many distinctive features, integrations, tips, and techniques, Flow will ensure that your team never loses touch.
Answers to all of your burning peak performance questions.Leadership
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