The value of a team is that everyone is working together and understands the main goal. They recognize what it will take to achieve this objective and how to work toward it collaboratively. In the sports world, this means winning the game. In the professional world, however, there is more flexibility in what the goal is and how it will be accomplished.
Whether you’re managing a small team of direct reports or a larger group with numerous employees, being aligned is essential. When a project is at hand, alignment is critical to success. If members of the team don’t feel appreciated or valued, they will likely look for other opportunities. On the other hand, if someone isn’t pulling their weight, then the entire team will likely suffer.
With more offices going completely remote or working on a hybrid schedule, it can be challenging to work together efficiently. There are more chances for things to get lost in the pipeline when you aren’t physically seeing your team face-to-face. That said, there are various digital platforms and strategies to help with communication. Keep reading to learn three ways to ensure your team is on the same page for a project.
1. Document Meetings
If your team is working on a project, you’ll likely have several team meetings throughout the week. Purposeful, planned meetings ensure everyone is on board with the scope of the project and their contributions. They also build camaraderie, which can further motivate teammates. This will help create a shared sense of purpose and vision for accomplishing the task at hand.
One way to make certain everyone is on the same page is through recording detailed meeting minutes. This suggestion may seem a bit old school, but meeting minutes are arguably more important today than ever before. Assign someone the task of taking meeting minutes before the meeting begins. This person will be responsible for jotting down attendees, crucial discussion points, takeaways, and action items. Following the meeting, minutes should be distributed to all team members, whether they were present or not.
Along with meeting minutes, recording meetings can also be helpful. One outcome of the pandemic was the influx of meetings that moved to video platforms. With teams working remotely, many meetings are still being held via Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or another platform. By recording a meeting, those who are unable to attend may watch the entire meeting to know what they missed. The recording can be distributed to everyone after the meeting or added to a team workspace such as Notion.
2. Set Clear Communication Channels
Communication is key in all aspects of life, but particularly for team projects. Not communicating enough, or at all, often leads to a fragmented, disjointed team. In these situations, projects either don’t get done or aren’t nearly as successful as if everyone had communicated. As the team leader, it’s up to you to properly communicate goals, status updates, deadlines, and more.
Hybrid workforces have a plethora of communication channels at their disposal. Email, phone, video call, text message, Slack message, and Google Chat are just a handful of ways to contact teammates. Depending on your company, you might have access to all or a few of these. Once your team is formed, decide what means of communication make the most sense for everyone. There could be some channels that are better suited for the team and task at hand.
For example, if you’re leading a small team, then a Slack channel or message may be the easiest for everyone. But for a larger team, you’ll need to communicate and re-communicate messages more often. For this, you might want to use email or a company newsletter to distribute important information. While it doesn’t matter what platform you use for various purposes, everyone needs to know how to communicate effectively and considerately.
3. Provide a Road Map
Everyone likes to know what to expect next. Surprises are great for birthdays, but not for team projects. Providing a road map can set the team up for success from the get-go. It will also help build a sense of cohesion as individuals see how their work contributes to the overall goal.
A road map should comprise a number of items. First, be sure to include the scope of the project or the big-picture vision of what needs to get done. Second, the road map should contain pertinent deliverables — everything from marketing materials to the physical product you’re selling. Third, include a high-level schedule or timeline of what needs to be accomplished and when it must be completed.
There are several great online tools to help you build a road map. Tools such as Asana, Airtable, or Monday.com can be used to streamline your team. They also provide a visual representation of what is currently being worked on and what is in the pipeline. You will also want to choose a management platform that all employees can access.
As a team, being on the same page is important to keep everyone on track and focused on the project. As a manager, you are heavily responsible for the team’s harmony. Documenting meetings, setting communication channels, and providing a road map can be beneficial. Implement these three tips for your next planned project, and you’ll notice the difference in your team’s collaborative efforts.