Break Your Team's 'But We Talked about It' Habit

· project-management

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No matter how efficient your team communication is, it won’t bring much value to the business unless there’s a written record of it. Help your team build a habit of using one centralised place to document what is said and done on regular basis.

It has been almost a year and a half since I joined this company and besides skills and knowledge I gained there’s one thing I’ve also learned - you can’t have a happy and productive working environment without effective communication. Communication is the oxygen of our company and the absolute prerequisite for success.

Like in most teams, there is a certain hierarchy in our team. To be able to keep track of who’s doing what on the project we tend to communicate, communicate and over communicate either face-to-face, by email or video chat. Although each member is devoted to their individual tasks, everyone is more than willing to share their thoughts, help others solve any issues and bring value to the final product.

However, even in such a productive and thriving team culture, things don’t always run so smoothly. Since most of our communication happens on the fly, we often find it difficult to keep track of all the information we receive on daily basis.

With the endless email list, heavy workload and numerous files and documents we share with each other on daily basis, it’s virtually impossible to chew on every piece of information and keep it in our heads no matter how much effort we invest.

Also, we have a few people on our team that work remotely so they aren’t in a position to have a frequent face-time with the rest of us. These people must rely on the written word and can’t afford not being on the same page.

After giving it some thought, we came to the conclusion that the only way to avoid miscommunication and possibly jeopardize further project development is to create one centralized place which will include all the data and communication between all members involved in the project.

Now, you are thinking, easier said than done. People are generally not in favor of changes. Making them lose the old habits and start relying on something that they aren’t entirely familiar with is not an easy ride. But, once you show them that a project management tool is not an employee monitoring software and carefully and systematically outline all the benefits they get by using it, you’ll be surprised with the change in their attitude.

Naturally, keep in mind that success doesn’t happen overnight and that your team will need some time to get a hang of it. And, once they do, they will know they should have started using it much earlier..

Encourage your team to create a written record of everything they do or discuss regardless of what stage of the project development they are working on. Help them realize that by building a habit of keeping records of their daily activities they will improve their communication flow and make the processes faster, more efficient and more simple.

Here are a few things you can do to involve your team in one centralized hub and help them streamline their processes by using ActiveCollab:

1. Have your team subscribe to the tasks

Once you’ve created tasks and delegated them to the team, your team members who are involved in the project should subscribe to the task. In this way, they can easily comment directly on the task and track other people’s comments including client’s comments. Insist that all communication relevant to the task at hand is noted down right below the task.

ActiveCollab - comments

The best part is that all the feedback is safely kept in one place and always visible to all the members involved in the project.

2. Keep your team’s discussions safe in one place

Often there are many members who are involved in a particular task and this is when commenting tends to turn into extensive discussions. In such case, you can move the entire communication in the discussion section. If certain discussions contain sensitive data or simply includes the information about delicate processes that should remain behind the scene, you can always hide them from clients.

ActiveCollab - discussions

This should help your team always have a clear overview of all the relevant data they need without having to pull everyone aside just to ask him for something you were talking about the other day.

3. Let your team easily share files and documents

The communication between all the stakeholders and team members doesn’t only include feedback and discussions. It also includes file and document sharing, which is especially common among creative agencies. With ActiveCollab, you and your team upload and share any valuable documents and safely store them in one centralized place visible to all the members of the project.

ActiveCollab - file sharing

Most importantly, this allows your team to stay updated without having to worry about misplacing any documents and files.

4. Encourage your team to keep daily overview by using Activity section

Finally, the easiest way to stay updated about who’s doing what on the project is to motivate your team members to make their own reports about the tasks they’ve been working on or completed during a particular day. Instead of interrupting others to give you a daily feedback, simply go to Activity Section and view what your team has been up to in just a few clicks.

ActiveCollab - activity section

ActiveCollab gives you the ability to use one centralized place for all your team’s communication. This will not only help you track all your team’s activities but it will also enable your team to organize their workload and increase their interaction. All you have to do now is get them to start writing everything down.

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