Project managers know the success or failure of a plan rests primarily on their shoulders — that’s why staying focused and organized is critical.
Keeping team members on task, handling the inevitable issues that rear their ugly heads, and moving the project forward so the deliverables are completed on time takes more than luck and skill. Project success depends on how well you stay organized.
There are dozens, or hundreds, of ideas and methodologies for staying organized. Many of them work great, so we’ve narrowed down a list of eight of our favorite project management organization tips that you can start using today.
1) Use Teamwork, the ultimate project management tool, to stay in sync
Seeing and accessing everything about a project from one place is key in keeping it aligned and on track. Adopting the Teamwork platform as part of your project management strategy makes project organization a breeze. Teamwork keeps on-site and remote team members engaged and up to date, from project planning to collaboration to task management and beyond. Our growth-focused features and intuitive platform ensure project managers and every other stakeholder can stay on the same page.
Are you a manager looking to get a better handle on project specifics? Learn more about why Teamwork is the project planning solution that over 20,000 companies trust.
Unique features of our tool:
Advanced features like time tracking, budgeting, and resource allocation
Real-time collaboration to keep projects moving forward
Pre-built project templates, task management, and custom fields
Multiple seamless integrations with other apps
2) Define your project scope and build a detailed project plan
Project management is essential, and it begins with planning. Deciding on a measurable, finite end goal is the first step toward successful project management. From there, pinpointing what your team won’t be doing is as important as laying out what they will be doing.
Plan for project stages in detail to help break up an otherwise overwhelming initiative. Smaller pieces keep stress down and the project on track.
Items to include in a project plan:
Share the priority: Every stakeholder should know what they’re working toward. Transparently communicate the most important aspects of your project.
Set the budget: The budget is key in knowing your limits so that you don’t pour all your money into one area, leaving you SOL for the rest of the project.
Lay out the project timeline: Knowing when everything should be done helps you stay organized and handle your resource management responsibilities.
Assign roles and responsibilities: Each project team member should know what they're participating in and responsible for delivering. They should also know who they’re collaborating with at each stage.
Set milestones: Periodic milestones keep you organized by letting you measure the project’s progress. Plus, milestones serve as small victories for your team to celebrate on the way to the big finale.
Schedule check-ins:Team meetings are essential to ensure everyone is doing what they should be and nothing is holding up progress. Teams should spend project meetings communicating only about the project’s progress, so be sure to leave any other discussions for other meetings.
3) Delegate tasks and assign due dates to each one
It’s inefficient and unproductive for team members not to understand what they are supposed to be working on. If tasks are left undone, it can throw the entire project off kilter and cause you to miss deadlines. Being able to delegate tasks effectively is key to staying organized. Automation technology that manages recurring tasks is a great way to mitigate time management issues.
How to automate recurring tasks with Teamwork
Use our task management templates to save even more time.
Set up future tasks and deadlines.
Add tags and assign work.
Track everyone’s progress from a single screen through every task’s lifecycle.
Easily spot and address bottlenecks that could cause delays.
4) Review and prioritize your tasks
Creating a project roadmap with tasks and deadlines is great, but it does nothing if you don’t use it. Set aside time to look at the plan often. See what’s been done, what still needs to happen, and what needs a status update. If the project is a drawn-out initiative, you may need to revise tasks and timelines accordingly as you go.
Ways to determine task priority
Tasks need a timeline, or they can mire down the progress. Here’s how to prevent that from happening:
Give each task a priority number (Note: Tasks that must be completed before other tasks can begin take priority).
Assign each task to a team member.
Set a task deadline.
Use automated (like Teamwork) tools and meetings to check statuses.
Reconfigure priorities as needed.
5) Take advantage of different communication methods
Don't depend on spreadsheets to keep your team organized. Effective communication is one of the best practices of project management. It streamlines the entire process, avoids confusion, and validates everyone’s contributions. In addition to emails and meetings about the project, communication technology can keep it all on track and organized. Here are some must-have apps to use in your best project organization efforts.
Helpful communication tools
According to the 2021 Project Management Report, the average project involves six to 10 people. If there aren't easy ways for them to communicate, progress and collaboration can go downhill — fast. Here are five of our favorite communication tools for keeping projects organized:
Slack: Slack is an instant messaging tool that lets teams communicate in real time. You can DM between individuals or groups, or post messages to designated project channels to keep communication organized.
Microsoft Teams: Teams gives project teams the ability to chat, place/receive audio and video calls, and take advantage of useful Microsoft Office 365 integrations. It’s a popular choice for teams already using Office 365 products.
Google Meet: Both easy and cost-effective, this meeting app lets team members jump on video calls and collaborate on parts of the project. This is a great option for organizations that utilize Google Workspace, as it’s free with the suite of products.
Zoom: Like Google Meet, it’s easy for users who aren’t in the same location to meet via video and talk, plan, and share project updates.
Teamwork is a powerful project management platform that helps team members stay connected and fosters collaboration — even in remote teams. Get the low-down on our project collaboration capabilities.
6) Use visual workflows to organize your processes
One of the biggest obstacles in managing a project is seeing all the moving parts as one unit. If you just focus on one portion of the project, other things can fall through the cracks and sabotage progress. Visual workflows are priceless in helping everyone see the project from beginning to end.
Visual workflow examples
Kanban: If you ever liked post-it notes, you’ll love using a Kanban board to help visualize your project details. Add and assign tasks with deadlines and organize each card. Kanban boards give you a bird’s-eye view of how the project is laid out and moving. (For the record, Teamwork offers a robust Kanban board feature!)
Gantt charts: This tool shows how tasks line up against time. It provides a way to see the tasks, how long they’ll take, and when they should be completed. This visual helps pinpoint what’s on track, tasks behind schedule, and where the project needs your attention.
Timelines: Many project management tools offer a way to create your project timeline. Add tasks and their estimated timeframe, deadlines, assignments, and milestones in a linear graphic format for easy viewing.
Calendars: Online calendars let you easily add key meetings and deadlines and set notifications for updates. This helps keep the project on everyone’s radar.
7) Set OKRs and KPIs before starting projects
In Wellingtone’s 2020 State of Project Management Report, 54% of respondents say they don't have access to real-time KPIs. That's a shame. Don't let your team fall into that category!
Pinpointing your objectives and key results (OKRs) and key performance indicators (KPIs) is one of the most important ways to make sure your project meets expectations. You need to share these with the team working on the project to help them understand how success will be measured.
Possible KPIs to track
Percentage of deadlines met successfully
Budget (whether you’re within budget or over budget)
Number of milestones met on time
Average cost per hour
8) Run through the finish line on tasks & don’t get hung up on failures
Finishing a project is a success worth celebrating. Yes, you’ll need to take time after the fact to examine how well you and your team performed and make a plan to work on areas of improvement. However, don’t let that overshadow how your team worked to get the project wrapped up!
Ways to celebrate team successes
Here are five ways to show your team the gratitude and appreciation they deserve for their hard work.
Gift cards: Give gift cards to a favorite local restaurant, spa, or shop. Mail remote employees their gift cards with a thank you note. Be sure to provide gift cards that are redeemable locally, as not all team members will have access to the same stores or restaurants.
Happy hours: Host a night of drinks and snacks at a local bar or restaurant, or set up a virtual happy hour so remote team members can join the fun.
Extra paid time off: Let team members pick a day (or even an afternoon) to take off — no PTO required — to enjoy themselves and relax after the hard work they put into the project.
Fun activity: Take your team ax-throwing, to an escape room, or a sporting event. This gives everyone time to hang out and enjoy each other’s company outside of a working environment. For remote team members, host an afternoon of virtual games like those offered by Jackbox Games. You can even plan a virtual escape room — the possibilities are endless!
Stay organized with Teamwork
Keeping yourself and your team organized is crucial in driving a project’s progress and meeting deadlines. Relying on digital tools and automation is a great way to set you up for success and keep your project moving.
Teamwork is a complete suite of project management tools that help project teams organize and track every aspect of an initiative. With Teamwork, it’s easy to automate recurring tasks and keep an eye on key metrics to identify project successes — and areas for improvement.
Ready to see what Teamwork can do for your team? Check out our project organization tools and get started today!