I work with a team of experts who live and work in a variety of places with a flexible work schedule. There are a variety of benefits to this structure including being are able to recruit the best talent without being geographically restricted and being able to have a team member available during non-traditional hours.
There are challenges as well such as being able to track the progress of a collaborative project or to understand the workload that each team member is carrying. There are many project management tools available to overcome these challenges, some, such as Basecamp are much more robust than others. But sometimes less is more.
A more basic project management tool can keep you focused on just what you need to track and keep you from avoiding the rabbit hole of being able to track every little detail. Here are 3 simple solutions we have used.
Just a simple spreadsheet within Google Drive. We have used Google sheets when we were juggling multiple tasks and needed to make sure each team member knew what was assigned to them when it was due, and the level of urgency. See example below:
Workflowy’s tagline is Organize Your Brain, and that is really what it is good for. What we like about Workflowy is you can create your own personal workflow that only you can see as well as Workflows that other’s can see. It is a tool we have used to understand the workload each person is carrying based on how each person’s point of view. Our team not only shares information about the projects but also information about what they need to do in their personal life or on other projects so that we can see the whole picture of what their availability is.
As we have grown we found that we needed a Project Management home base. We needed a tool that could provide is with a task list, where we can keep notes that we can access easily, and where we can link out to other resources. PBWorks has been incredibly useful for us provide both the simplicity and individuality. Our team members can still use many of the tools that they prefer but ensure that we have access to all information in an organized fashion. The built in task tool allows us to assign tasks to each other, link to all the needed resources, and track progress without any back and forth emails.
Whether you are working with team members sitting in the cubical next to you, or in a state across the country, or even another country, using basic, customizable tools can keep you all on the same page.