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How To Manage Tasks Across Your Project Team
June 18, 2019

How To Manage Tasks Across Your Project Team?

By Brian McHale

Projects are no longer only in the domain of project managers. Instead, more and more team members and team leads find themselves in a project management role.

Chances are, you’re experiencing the same thing.

And if you’ve never received formal project management training, adding structure to your team’s collaboration can be challenging.

In this post, we’re going to show you how you can break down your project into simple tasks, and how to make sure your team is completing them effectively.

Let’s take a look!

The Benefits of Team Task Management

Even the best teams need some structure and organization to be able to finish projects successfully.

On the project side, that’s why we break down the large and overwhelming project into multiple smaller tasks that need to be taken care of in order to go forward.

Now, that’s task management. It’s the part that you, as the manager, have to take care of.

However, since you don’t personally take care of all the tasks, you’re going to need to organize your team and make sure the tasks are completed on time and as expected.

And that’s where team task management comes in.

It’s a way to manage different processes that will help your team:

  • Assign and delegate tasks
  • Plan their execution
  • Track performance and progress
  • Report on progress

And since most tasks depend on other tasks, it’s important to make sure that everyone’s completing their tasks on time. Especially in a cross functional team. There’s no point hiring a painter to paint a wall that has not even been built yet.

If you use the team task management tips outlined below, you’ll be seeing your team members working through their checklists like pros.

The level of your collaboration will significantly improve and you’ll notice the communication getting better and better – even if your teammates are all over the world.

Finally, team task management will help you get your projects done on time (or even ahead of time).

Sounds like a dream, right?

Task Management Tips For Teams

It’s quite possible that you were using some team task management practices up to this point. Especially if you’ve managed a few projects before now.

However, there are plenty of tips that you can implement easily to make sure your projects thrive.

1. Improve Your Team’s Understanding of Dependencies

When a project is broken down into tasks, it can be easy for team members to forget that they’re actually a part of something bigger.

Every teammate is focusing on a single task and after a while, they can start feeling as though they’re performing a standalone task.

This leads to delays, idling, and general misunderstanding of the entire situation and the desired outcomes.

However, if you include them in the team task management process and help them understand how one task depends on the completion of another, they will be more motivated to complete it in time.

So encourage your team to look at their work in relation to their teammates’ work to understand how they all depend on one another to perform their tasks as soon as possible.

2. Add Team Task Management Transparency to the Process

The main problem with typical task management that you can often see in companies is that the team leads keep their knowledge of task allocation and assignment to themselves.

This is quite possibly the worst thing you can do.

Instead, make sure that the entire team knows who’s working on what, and how the tasks depend on each other. If you’ve implemented the first tip, this should be quite easy.

The next step is using a tool that helps you keep everyone on the same page.

Modern task management tools are quite easy to use so you don’t have to be a professional manager to bring some clarity to the task organization.

Tools like Project Central combined with your organization’s Office 365 account can become your team’s task management dashboard. A central location where all members of your organization are located and where you can assign different tasks to whoever is best for the role.

On their dashboard, they’ll be able to:

  • See all their tasks
  • See their teammates’ tasks
  • Understand how completing tasks leads to project success
  • Understand dependencies between tasks
  • Set priorities

As the team lead, you’ll also be able to monitor the status of the project and identify any risks as they occur.

Using these tools doesn’t take a lot of time but it brings so much clarity that you’ll find your team collaborating with complete ease.

3. Team Collaboration Is All about Communication

If your team members aren’t communicating effectively, they can’t collaborate effectively. And as a result, your project will suffer.

The truth is, employees spend as much as 2 hours every day just searching for the information they need to do their jobs.

And when your team has a lot of tasks that depend on one another, lack of communication and poor knowledge sharing can lead to a disaster.

If you want to make sure that disaster doesn’t strike your team, you should encourage them to communicate.

Tools like Teams or Slack can also help them stay in touch during the workday, especially if they’re in cross functional teams.

If you want to avoid meetings, you can set up a channel in Teams or Slack where your team can share what they’ve been working on that day. You can also encourage them to leave constructive feedback.

Finally, nothing matters as much as honesty.

You should encourage your team members to speak up when they notice something’s not right. Encourage them to talk about certain risks they’ve noticed, issues they or colleagues struggle with, or simply slumps where they could really use the help of their teammates.

As a project manager, you’re there to facilitate those conversations, as well.

In the end, they’ll make your team much stronger.

4. Prioritize, Focus and Add Everything Else to the Backlog

Have you ever noticed how tasks just keep popping up, even if you’ve never expected them?

Yeah, that’s definitely a reality in project management. However, it can become an obstacle.

Even if you and your team have been absolute rock stars of staying on schedule, too many new tasks can throw you off balance.

This is why you should:

a) Prioritize

Manage tasks in such a way that it’s immediately clear what the next best task to focus on is.

Ideally, your understanding of this will come from the critical path model that outlines the fastest way to get the project done.

If it’s not immediately important, add it to the backlog.

b) Focus

Multitasking is a known productivity killer so make sure your team members aren’t inundated with tasks.

Help them focus on the task at hand, especially if it’s crucial for the success of the project.

c) Add everything else to the backlog

Having a backlog doesn’t mean you’re not successful at team task management. It’s quite the opposite, actually.

The most successful teams have big backlogs that allow them to focus on the most important tasks first.

You can always add a backlog to your project management tool to make sure that team members can pick up a new task when they’ve finished the one they’ve been working on.

5. Learn from History or Repeat It

There’s plenty of truth to the saying, especially in team task management.

After you’ve completed a project, sit down with your team and review your performance.

How was everything going? Were there any notable problems?

And then, finally, ask yourselves what you could have done better.

Understanding how you were performing and how the tasks were completed will give your team the insight you need to improve in the future.

This way, you’ll know if someone needs extra help, or if there were risks you hadn’t previously seen.

And when you can see it, you can improve it. Excellence will come naturally.

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