When your team is assigned a new task or project, it’s important to create a plan at the beginning, so the team gets off to a good start. This blog will look at some different techniques your team can use to tackle new to-do items.
The Sliding Scale
When planning and organizing, try to create the right size plan for the task. If your goal is to organize your inbox, for example, it’s probably not necessary to spend several hours planning each action. On the other hand, if you’re handed a complex project, you may want to spend several days or even weeks gathering information and creating a plan.
For small tasks, basic tools such as a to-do list or calendar will probably be the best choice.
For medium-sized tasks or projects, you might want to use:
- RACI charts
- Visual timelines
And for large projects, consider:
- Gantt charts
- Project plans
- Project-specific productivity journals
- Online time tracking dashboards
A Checklist for Getting Started
For most tasks, the team will need some background information before they begin. Remember, they will need very little information for simple tasks, and more detailed information for complex tasks.
The basic information you will gather should include:
- What is the date the team will start this task? What is the deadline?
- Who else can the team rely on for help?
- What are the major things that need to be completed?
- What obstacles might the team encounter? How can they get around them? (For example, one of your key resources might be going on vacation in two weeks. You will want to gather all required information from them before they leave.)
- What work has already been completed?
Evaluating and Adapting
For most medium to large sized tasks, the team will want to build evaluation points into their plan. Typically, these occur at key gateways (called milestones in the project management world). At these gateways, the team will look at their plan, determine what is working and what is not working, and adjust as necessary.
Some other signs that it may be time to review the plan:
- The team keeps falling further and further behind.
- The team is not motivated to work on the project.
- The team is finding that their plan isn’t the right size for the project.
- Major changes have happened in the project.