How to Prepare your Team for Teamwork Projects: Laying Good Foundations (Part 1 of 2)
“Change is inevitable – except from a vending machine.” Robert C. Gallagher Introducing new technology into a team can be daunting at times and so we have compiled our top tips for successfully introducing Teamwork Projects into a team or organization. It might surprise you to know that the first thing to do is to just talk to your team and lay the groundwork for new processes, a team charter, admin rights and how to approach training. So, before everyone on your team gets started on creating projects and tasks, we recommend the following 10 steps: 1. Questions for developing a communications and collaboration Platform When you start using Teamwork Projects, your team will begin to set deadlines for tasks and collaborate without email. In advance of this, now is a good time to do a review of your current processes and communication channels. In their book ‘Committed Teams‘ (2016), Moussa, Boyer and Newberry outline suggested questions for developing a ‘Communication and Collaboration Protocol’. This is a great opportunity for the team to discuss what the previous unproductive processes were and how they will now handle their work and tasks by using Teamwork Projects. Specifically, Moussa, Boyer and Newberry suggest the following questions:
What do we need our tools to do?
What tools are the team members already using in their other work?
What is the order of preference for method of contact (email, phone call, text, chat message)?
When do we use which tool?
What is our expectation for response times to emails, phone calls, texts and chat messages?
What are our naming conventions for files and emails?
For example, consider how you currently all use: your team calendar, spreadsheets and email. Think about why you use these tools in the way that you do, what works and what doesn’t. In Teamwork Projects, the calendar is used for meetings, holiday leave, sick leave, appointments, training, etc., but not for deadlines. Instead, deadlines can assigned to each task or milestone. 2. Communication protocol Along with the Communication and Collaboration Platform , it’s also worthwhile discussing how the team will approach specific Teamwork Projects features such as messages, comments, email notifications, notebooks and overdue tasks. We suggest the following as a starting point:
Defining how to approach messages and comments. The important distinction between messages and comments is that messages are general while comments are specific to a task. Messages should not be seen a replacement for email. Likewise when leaving a comment, decide how to approach notifying people. Does everyone in your team want to be notified? Consider only notifying people who need to act directly on your comment.
For email notifications, ask each team member to think about setting up filtering and folders in their email account to divide and conquer, since it’s easy to be overwhelmed when you receive lots of notifications for comments, new tasks, events and messages.
Acknowledge that it’s tough to let go of bad habits. There will be email wobbles and when this happens agree on how you will guide each other back onto the right path. If someone says that they will email you, a handy phrase to use is, “Could you create a task for me instead please”. Also, if you get an email update on a task, try not to reply to your team-mate via a separate email. Instead, you can either comment in the task itself ,or hit reply to the email notification and the comment will be added to the task.
It’s important to remind everyone that Teamwork Projects is built on openness and transparency.
Decide on how to deal with late/overdue tasks. For example, will people be able to change due dates set by someone else? Or how to approach nudging a person who hasn’t completed a task on time? It’s advisable to discuss and agree on these topics in advance.
3. Who is the super-organizer in your team? Each team has a person who is a super-organizer. They love to see folders named correctly, and everything in the right place. This person is perfect for creating and organizing projects, categories and tags. Ask them to start using the tool first so that they can start thinking about how to transfer over the current workload. It’s much easier for one person to start creating projects before handing it over to the team. 4. Our ‘Get Started’ hub The best place for everyone to start learning how to use Teamwork Projects is here on our Getting Started hub. You can find simple information on all of the basics: dashboards, projects, milestones, task lists and tasks, messages and comments, files, time tracking, the Everything section, the calendar and people. 5. Giving clients access Transparency is at the core of Teamwork Projects. Some companies and agencies will give clients access to projects. If this is something that you are thinking of doing, it’s important for your team to know that as standard, clients will have full visibility of everything within this project. However, you can specifically change the privacy option on each item. 6. What is a project? The beauty of Teamwork Projects is that it is so flexible! Whatever you think should be a project, can be a project. And remember you can have more than 1 project at a time. 7. Integrations There is a whole world of possibility though integrations with apps that your team might be already using. Teamwork Projects is built and designed to work seamlessly with a wide variety of applications for example, Hubspot, Box, Google Drive, Dropbox and Harvest. To see the complete list click here. 8. Training-in timeframe Another tip is to give adequate time and space for the training-in period. The best time to kick off training is when the team has some breathing space between projects, if possible! Likewise, if your team has a tight deadline looming it might not be the best time to successfully introduce new technology! 9. Administrator access It’s important to consider who needs administrator access as administrators have extra access and can change settings on the site. Also consider what would happen if the administrator left the company. What could you put into place so that administrator access (usernames and passwords) are easily accessible? Likewise, it’s equally important to think about how new people will be trained up on how to use Teamwork Projects. A suggestion here would be to send them a link to the Getting Started hub but also to have some hands on training from a colleague. 10. Have a question? Try the Knowledge Base or get in touch The Knowledge Base is a dedicated hub with training guides and training videos. Using the search button, just run a search for your query. We also have a fantastic support team, with a regular customer happiness rating that you can see on the Customer Happiness Report. If there is something that you want to find out more about, just drop us a line by going to this page https://www.teamwork.com/support. If you follow the steps above, we’re certain that it will help lay strong foundations for a quick adoption and successful roll-out of Teamwork Projects. If you have any other tips or advice on how you introduced Teamwork Projects into your team or organisation, we’d love to hear about it: firstname.lastname@example.org, and you could see your tips listed on this page!