Optimize your company to-do list with Twproject

Organizing your to-do list can be challenging for a project manager, especially in large business environments.

Every day, project managers have to tackle countless tasks that need to be accomplished.

But how do they manage to accomplish all that needs to be done? The answer may be simpler than you think: create a”to do list.”

Project managers often experience significant challenges when creating and managing a to-do list.

These struggles may involve different aspects of their work and the complex nature of business activities.

Below, we will discuss some of the most common challenges and the various solutions that can be implemented.

To-do list: challenges project managers face in large companies

Managing multiple projects and tasks

Managing several projects simultaneously, each with its number of related tasks can lead to a crushing workload.

Twproject offers advanced project management features, including splitting projects into smaller, more manageable tasks. This allows project managers to visualize and track all tasks in a single platform, streamlining overall management.

Coordination between different teams and departments

Collaboration between teams and departments can be tricky since each group may have different responsibilities and timeframes for task completion.

Twproject provides a virtual environment where team members can communicate and share information and updates in real time, supporting better coordination and efficiency among the parties involved.

Task prioritization

The skill of prioritizing tasks is critical to a project manager’s success.

The software enables you to assign priority tiers to tasks, clearly showing what is urgent and what can be addressed next. This helps avoid delays and ensures the most important tasks are handled with the greatest care.

to do list

Change management

In dynamic business environments, changes can happen frequently. Twproject enables easy updating of the to-do list to reflect changes in plans or deadlines. It also offers alerting features so team members are always abreast of the latest changes and updates.

Effective communication

Clear and efficient communication is essential to ensure all team members know the tasks and deadlines.

Twproject streamlines communication, enabling the sharing of crucial information and creating task- and project-focused discussions.

How to create a to-do list

Creating a to-do list for your company may seem easy, but a few steps can help you make your checklist more effective.

  1. Determine your activities: The first step of creating a to-do list is identifying all the tasks you need to accomplish. These can be big projects or small daily tasks.
  2. Break down large projects into smaller tasks: If your project is big, it can be helpful to break it down into smaller tasks. This will help you manage your time better and feel more accomplished each time you complete a task.
  3. Assign a priority to each activity: Not all activities are equally important. Assign a priority to each of your activities. This will help you focus on the most important ones.
  4. Set deadlines: Setting deadlines for each task will help you stay focused and prevent procrastination.
  5. Review and update your list regularly: Your priorities can change over time, so it is important to review and update your list regularly.

Suppose you are a project manager for a software development project.

Let’s see how a to-do list could be managed with Twproject:

  • Task definition: Your tasks might include “Define software requirements,” “Coordinate with the development team,” “Test the software,” “Collect feedback from users,” and “Release the final version of the software.”
  • Breakdown of large projects into smaller tasks: For example, the activity “Define software requirements. ” It could be broken down into smaller tasks such as “Meet with the customer to discuss requirements,” “Gather requirements from the sales team,” “Create a requirements specification document,” and “Share and discuss the document with the development team.”
  • Prioritization: Using Twproject, you can assign a priority to each task. For example, “Meet with the customer to discuss requirements” might be a high priority, while “Gather requirements from the sales team” might be a medium priority.
  • Setting deadlines: With Twproject, you can set a due date for each task. For example, you could set the deadline for “Meet with client to discuss requirements” for the end of the week and the deadline for “Create a requirements specification document” for the end of the month.
  • Review and update your list: Regularly review and update your to-do list. With Twproject, you can easily see the status of each task, make adjustments if necessary, and ensure that your list remains current and relevant.

How to manage the to-do list of complex projects

Managing complex projects can become very manageable with the right approach and tools. Here are some critical steps to effectively manage complex projects:

  • Clear definition of objectives: Before starting a project, it is essential to have clear and measurable objectives. These goals should guide all project decisions.
  • Detailed planning: Detailed planning is essential for managing complex projects. This includes setting deadlines, assigning tasks, and estimating the resources needed.
  • Assignment of responsibilities: Each team member should have a defined role in the project. This helps ensure that everyone knows what is expected of them.
  • Effective communication: Communication is critical in any project but crucial in complex projects. Ensure you have a system to share updates and important information with all team members.
  • Monitoring and control: During project execution, it is crucial to monitor progress and make regular checks to ensure everything is progressing as planned. If there are problems, addressing them as soon as possible is essential.
  • Use of project management tools-Project management tools, such as Twproject, can be beneficial for managing complex projects. These tools can help you plan and monitor your project, communicate with your team, and track progress.

Routine activities no longer elude our reporting thanks to the use of ToDos. Now, the hours recorded on Twproject are in complete harmony with the markings on our badges, putting an end to any discrepancies with the administration

How to optimize your company to-do list with Twproject

Optimizing your to-do list with Twproject can be accomplished by following these steps:

  • Use the scheduling feature: Twproject offers a visual planner that allows you to distribute tasks on the calendar. This helps you easily visualize when each task is due and make changes on the fly whenever necessary.
  • Prioritize tasks: With the software, you can prioritize each task. This helps you focus on the most important tasks and ensure they are completed first.
  • Assign tasks to team members: You can assign tasks to yourself or a team member. This helps distribute the workload (link articolo sovraccarico da lavoro) fairly and ensures each task has a manager.
  • Set notifications: The software offers the ability to set alarms for tasks. This helps you stay up-to-date on task status and ensure you don’t forget deadlines.
  • Review and update your list regularly: Your priorities may change over time, so it is essential to review and update your list regularly.
  • Tool integration: Twproject can be integrated with many other tools, such as Google Calendar and Microsoft Outlook. This allows you to synchronize your to-do list with your calendar, making keeping track of your activities even more effortless.

In conclusion, Twproject offers several tools and features to help you streamline or refine your to-do list. You can create a detailed project structure, assign tasks, set deadlines, and track progress.

Whether managing a small project or a large team, Twproject is the ideal work management software (link articolo software gestione del lavoro) to handle even the most complex projects effectively.

With the intuitive and user-friendly platform, you can customize it to meet your company’s specific needs. I can take full advantage of this tool with proper training and support.

Plan your projects with Twproject

Inclusivity and project management: core values

Inclusivity and project management are ever-evolving domains.

Human resource management plays a significant role in project success.

Inclusivity is critical in efficiently leading a team and achieving its goals in an ever more interconnected global environment.

In this article, we cover the importance of inclusivity in project management by analyzing the core values that underlie it.

Also, we will show how Twproject can support achieving an inclusive work environment.

What is inclusivity, and why is it important in project management

Inclusivity means creating a work environment where all people, regardless of their differences, are treated fairly and with equal opportunities for growth and development.

In project management, inclusivity is crucial to enhancing the skills and experiences of each team member, thus improving collaboration and productivity.

An inclusive environment supports innovation, as different ideas and perspectives lead to original and creative solutions to problems. Furthermore, inclusivity reduces employee turnover, boosting team satisfaction and engagement.

The key values of inclusion in project management

To ensure an inclusive work environment, it is crucial to cultivate the following key values:

  • Respect: treating all team members politely and respectfully, acknowledging their expertise and contribution to the project.
  • Empathy: putting oneself in other’s shoes, understanding their needs and expectations, and acting accordingly.
  • Open communication: encouraging sharing of ideas and opinions by listening carefully and providing constructive feedback.
  • Equality: ensuring equal opportunities for growth and development for all team members, avoiding discrimination and favoritism.
  • Flexibility: adapting to team members’ different needs and circumstances, offering customized solutions that align with the project.

How to promote inclusivity in your team

Here are some real-life examples of how project managers can foster inclusivity in their teams:

a. Schedule regular meetings to discuss issues and challenges team members face and offer support and resources to solve them.

b. Provide training and mentoring to all team members, regardless of their role or hierarchical level.

c. Promote diversity within your team by selecting members with diverse skills, experiences, and backgrounds.

d. Implement flexible work policies, such as flexible hours or remote working, to adapt to the needs of each team member.

e. Establish a code of conduct that promotes respect and fairness and discourages discriminatory or exclusionary attitudes.

f. Actively involve all team members in project planning and decision-making, valuing their ideas and skills.

g. Periodically monitor and evaluate the work environment to find any problems related to inclusivity and act promptly to resolve them.

Inclusive leadership in project management

To promote inclusivity in project management, project managers need to embrace an inclusive leadership style.

Inclusive leadership focuses on engaging and valuing all team members by promoting diversity of ideas and perspectives.

Here are some basic principles of inclusive leadership:

  • Authenticity: inclusive leaders are genuine and sincere and show openness and honesty in their interactions with their team members. This builds a trusting and transparent environment where people feel comfortable sharing their ideas and opinions.

  • Active listening: inclusive leaders are great listeners who pay attention to the needs and concerns of team members. Active listening allows them to understand different perspectives better and spot any problems or challenges the team faces.

  • Support: an inclusive leader provides support and back-up to their team members, offering resources and opportunities for personal and professional development. This helps foster an environment where everyone feels valued and appreciated for contributing to the project.

  • Participatory decision-making: inclusive leadership involves participatory decision-making, in which all team members can contribute to the decisions relevant to the project. This allows for more informed decision-making and greater team consensus and engagement.

Inclusivity and remote working

Remote working is a rising trend that offers many benefits for both employees and companies.

However, remote working can bring challenges regarding inclusivity, as team members may feel isolated or cut off from group dynamics.

Here are some suggestions for promoting inclusivity within the context of remote working:

  • Schedule regular virtual meetings: to keep the team’s sense of belonging and unity, it is important to schedule regular virtual meetings where project goals, progress, and challenges are discussed. These meetings can be formal or informal and can include team-building activities to strengthen the bonds among group members.
  • Use effective communication tools: to ensure seamless and inclusive communication, it is important to use sound communication tools, such as chat, video conferencing, and document-sharing platforms.  Twproject offers a wide range of features that make it easier for team members to communicate and collaborate, regardless of their location.
  • Create an inclusive work environment: to promote inclusivity in remote working, it is important to create an inclusive environment where all team members feel at ease sharing ideas and opinions. It can be achieved by promoting diversity and equity, fostering open communication and mutual respect, and providing personal and professional development support and resources.
  • Pay attention to people’s individual needs: it is imperative to pay attention to your team members’ unique individual needs by offering flexible and customized solutions. For example, project managers can allow flexible schedules to accommodate different time zones or the family needs of team members.

Inclusivity in conflict management

Inevitably, conflict and tension can arise in a project team. Managing conflicts inclusively is key to maintaining a cohesive and productive work environment.

Here are some tips for inclusive conflict management:

  • Dealing with conflicts constructively: project managers should constructively approach conflicts, encouraging open communication and dialogue among involved parties.
  • It is important to avoid picking sides or showing bias but try to understand different perspectives and find solutions that respect everyone’s needs.
  • Promoting empathy and understanding: in managing conflicts, it is important to foster empathy and understanding among team members, inspiring them to put themselves in each other’s shoes and reflect on the possible causes of tensions.
  • Providing support and training: project managers can offer support and training to team members to improve their conflict management and interpersonal communication skills.
  • For example, workshops or coaching sessions can be organized to help team members develop skills in active listening, assertiveness, and problem-solving.

Building an inclusive corporate culture

Inclusivity in project management is more than managing individual projects and is about building an inclusive corporate culture. To promote inclusivity at the organizational level, companies can embrace the following strategies:

a. Define a clear vision and goals concerning inclusivity: companies should define a clear philosophy and goals to guide decisions and actions at all levels of the organization.

b. Involve business leaders: to create an inclusive corporate culture, it is critical to involve business leaders in promoting inclusivity and creating a fair and respectful work environment.

c. Implement inclusive policies and practices: companies can implement inclusive policies and practices, for example, promoting diversity in hiring, providing cultural awareness training, and providing mentoring and professional development programs for all employees.

d. Monitor and gauge progress: monitoring and evaluating progress on inclusiveness regularly is important, using key performance indicators and employee feedback. This allows any areas for improvement to be identified and corrective action taken as necessary.

e. Communicate successes and challenges: to maintain a commitment to inclusivity, companies must regularly communicate successes and challenges related to inclusivity, sharing best practices and lessons learned with the entire organization.

How Twproject supports inclusivity in project management

Twproject offers multiple tools and features to support an inclusive work environment.

Here are some of the features that can help project managers promote inclusivity among their teams:

  • Communication and collaboration: Twproject makes communication and collaboration within teams easier through an integrated platform that features chat, discussion forums, and document sharing. This allows team members to easily share ideas and information, regardless of location or time zone.

  • Resource management: this software empowers project managers with a comprehensive overview of team members’ skills and availability, helping them to allocate resources fairly and efficiently. It also supports resource planning based on individual needs, such as leave or flexible schedules.

  • Training and development: Twproject integrates training and professional development features, enabling project managers to identify team training needs and provide growth opportunities for all members.

  • Monitoring and analysis: his software provides tools to monitor and review team performance, finding potential concerns or areas for improvement regarding inclusivity. This enables project managers to act promptly to ensure a fair and inclusive work environment.

Bottom Line

Inclusivity in project management is key to the success of projects and the well-being of work teams.

Project managers can create a supportive, innovative, and productive work environment by fostering inclusivity and adopting an inclusive leadership style.

Twproject software provides tools and features that support an inclusive approach to project management, making communication, resource management, training and development, and performance monitoring more accessible.

Moreover, it is essential to address the specific challenges of inclusiveness in remote working, adopting strategies to maintain a sense of team ownership and cohesiveness and to answer the individual needs of team members.

Inclusive conflict management and creating an inclusive corporate culture are other crucial factors in promoting inclusiveness at all levels of the organization.

In an increasingly interconnected and globalized world, inclusiveness in project management is a competitive advantage and a source of innovation and growth for companies.

By adopting an inclusive approach, project managers and organizations can take full advantage of the skills and experiences of all team members, ensuring the success of projects and the well-being of employees.

Work together with your team effectively.

How to calculate work hours in a project

Calculating how many hours are worked on a project helps track productivity and costs related to each activity.

Also, this information will allow the project manager to keep track of the workload of each team member and eventual inefficiencies.

In this article, we will examine why time tracking is key in project management and the different methods used to calculate hours worked.

Time Tracking: 5 reasons why it is crucial in project management

1. Track and estimate work time

Time tracking allows project managers to calculate the total number of hours needed to complete a particular task.

Also, this information allows estimates and projections to be drawn for future similar jobs.

2. Helps bill suppliers correctly

Time tracking helps create accurate invoices for your suppliers by preventing errors in hourly reports and allowing timely payment.

3. Helps better manage project teams

Monitoring time helps business leaders efficiently manage their teams to boost overall productivity and that of each employee.

Project managers can get detailed insights using the right time-tracking tool.

4. Helps create a work record

Time-tracking reports are helpful when stakeholders ask for more details about a project.

Furthermore, this documentation also helps explain how many resources are needed for a specific project.

Thus, it is vital during auditing or when undertaking massive projects.

How to track hours worked

There are several methods for keeping track of hours worked, from the most basic to the most technologically advanced. Here they are:

Pen and paper

The (now obsolete) pen-and-paper method involves writing down the start and end times of work on a piece of paper.

This somewhat basic method is mainly used in small businesses with very few employees and are usually family-run.

This solution hardly guarantees accuracy regarding the hours and minutes worked reported.

Furthermore, it can reduce the productivity of the individual responsible for manually checking these documents.

As you understand, this is a completely unsustainable method for a more structured business.

 

Digital clock

This device digitally “prints” the time and date of the start and end of work time on the employee’s personal time card.

To use this, simply hold the card close to the device’s sensor, automatically sending the data to the employee’s card stored within a time calculator program, usually managed by HR.

Some electronic clocks may require a PIN or fingerprint to log data.

In this way, the work shift and any overtime hours can be calculated in an accurate and prompt manner.

Time tracking software

Time tracking software installed directly on a PC or mobile device is a modern way to calculate the number of hours worked.

After logging into the system and clicking the button to clock in and out, the website server will record the data.

Most software has a tracking option to ensure the time worked is logged correctly.

Calculate hours worked on a project: choose project management software

The solutions discussed above for time tracking can be effective in some cases. However, the accuracy and effectiveness of project management software such as Twproject are unparalleled.

Look at all the ways you can do it.

Time item customization

Project management software such as Twproject allows you to create time entries manually or using an automated tracker.

The first solution allows employees to select a task and manually enter, in an Excel-like sheet, the time spent working on it.

This way, the employee can focus entirely on their work and input hours spent on that task at a later time.

The second solution, instead, involves using a timer that automatically records the time spent on each task.

With a simple click on the playback button within the software, it will be possible to start recording the time spent on any activity.

With this solution, however, employees must remember to pause this timer during breaks.

Track working hours

Twproject allows you to monitor the worklog entered in real-time, highlighting any overshoots relative to the plan.

You can pinpoint the hours worked by task, project, or collaborator.

progetti e ore

 

Report creation

A project management software should allow the worklog to be filtered and data extracted according to different criteria.

This will help create timeline reports that are very useful not only for the project manager but also for stakeholders.

Reminder

Forgetting to enter the hours worked corresponding to some activities can happen.

However, good project management software must have a built-in feature to remind you to enter the time spent working where it is missing.

Only in this way effective and truthful project management will be possible.

Twproject’s streamlined approach for managing timesheets helped with user adoption as the Advance team found it so easy to track their time.

To sum up, calculating the number of hours worked on a project is important for tracking productivity, appropriately managing costs, and promoting a positive work environment.

As we have seen, there are several methods for recording time worked, yet the efficiency of Twproject in time tracking is unparalleled.

Plan your work and manage your time effectively.

 

How to choose a project management software

What are the main reasons to choose a good project management software, and how to do that? Let us look at this topic in detail.

Using a project management software is a versatile way to simplify the process of managing any project. It helps to unify the work process on one or more projects.

This avoids forcing teams to work on different applications and platforms.

Thus, project planning, communication tools, file sharing, activity and deadline monitoring, and reporting are all inserted into a single software application.

A project management software works like a real-time workspace. It helps keep the eye focused on the big picture, effectively managing the details day by day.

When do you need project management software?

It is important to point out that a project management software is designed for completing projects that require time and teamwork.

An organization needs a project management software, when it is necessary for different individuals and business units to coordinate, both internally as well as externally, to complete certain tasks.

Establishing precisely when it is the exact time to switch to the use of a project management software is not easy.

However, there are unmistakable signs that make clear that perhaps this time has come. The telltale signs that an organization needs a project management software include:

  • Delay of projects due to over-correspondence via e-mail and work was lost in the mailboxes of team members.
  • Confusion over too elaborate and chaotic Excel sheets.
  • Lost of some deadlines due to lack of accountability and transparency in the process.
  • Poor communication between team members and the project manager due to failure to report the status of the project or individual activities.
  • Overlapping or redundant jobs due to the confusion that reigns over the specific role of each team member.
  • Not clear or lost timelines due to poor planning or poor communication.

Therefore, choosing a project management software solution can simplify the entire process. It can allow the team to offer higher quality work in a shorter period of time.

Effective softwares allow the project manager to save and track multiple projects simultaneously.

In essence, the workload can be saved on a single platform. On this platform, each team member has access to all the information needed to do his job.

How does a project management software look like?

Generally, as starting base, we also find a dashboard. This control panel provides access to all major software features.

From the dashboard, users can create new projects and manage and organize old ones.

dashboard project management software

In many project management platforms, the dashboard is also the site of an overview of active and completed projects, which users can access at any time.

Project management softwares clearly have different capabilities, and it is important to assess what the business needs are before choosing one solution.

For project managers, complete control over project management is essential.

This way, they can reassign the work and reprogram it, if a team member is overloaded while others are not, managing resources more effectively.

With detailed summaries and reports, project managers can also more easily keep pace with new developments.

Any complex project has many moving parts and it is therefore important that the manager is informed of all the details.

Choose the right project management software

Most quality project management softwares offer the features described above, but of course there are other aspects that vary from platform to platform.

This is why it is important to select a project management software that allows to ensure the success of an organization.

A large company, for example, will have different needs than a small startup with a small team.

So, examining each software and asking the right questions is the key.

Implementation and ease of use should be two key factors essential for the decision.

5 fundamental aspects for the choice of a project management software

Here are the 5 fundamental aspects in order to choose the right project management software:

1. Respond to the whys

The process must begin with a transparent and honest assessment of why the organization needs a project management software. The project manager can start by tracing the needs and identifying current problems. This can be followed by an analysis of the existing processes to highlight the negative points and, consequently, to look for a software that allows to overcome them.

 2. Looking beyond the “big names”

Clearly, there are project management softwares most famous than others, but are we really sure that these represent the right choice for any organization? For a given company, in fact, a less well-known project management platform could be the ideal solution. So, it becomes important to search online to see what types of software are on the market, collect different opinions, ask the team members what they used in their previous organizations, etc. In short, do some research and compare the various features.

3. Identify implementation barriers

 Once the project manager has chosen a potential project management software, it is important to consider the obstacles or implementation barriers that the organization might encounter. These implementation barriers could be anything: From team resistance to longer than expected training sessions, from difficult data migration to insufficient purchasing budget. The idea is therefore to identify all the factors that could cause a block to the implementation of the software, to verify if these barriers can be eliminated and to find a solution.

Twproject has collected the experiences of some of its customers. You can be inspired by their use cases and find out whether you too have similar needs and Twproject may therefore be right for you.

 4. Do a test drive

Almost all the available softwares are supplied with a free trial (Twproject’s trial is available here). It is therefore important to make the most of this opportunity, using realistic project scenarios to scroll through the list of software features. The PM will not have to act alone, but choose a team just as it would in the case of a real project. The team chosen for the test drive will thus have the opportunity to explore the new software and give the most accurate feedback possible. It is important to keep the communication open in order to discuss any problem straight away.

5. Draw up a detailed implementation plan

A final factor to consider before officially choosing the project management tool, is to plan the implementation and make sure it will be as smooth as possible. Typical elements to be considered at this stage include time frames for implementation, adequate training for the various stakeholders, and possible data migration activities.

Watch this short video to see how easy it is to get started with Twproject.

It is also necessary to evaluate the level of support that can be obtained from the supplier of the software as well as the long-term technical support. Twproject guarantees you constant support from the beginning and throughout the duration of your work.

Conclusions

The choice of a project management software therefore requires much more than a decision based only on a couple of “big” names, on a superficial analysis of the functionalities, and on the feedback of a few people.

Choosing a new project management tool can be a long and complicated process, but one that is worth it in the long run.

The right choice will be an advantage for the organization in general, for customers, as well as for the project team.

Change your way of managing

Corporate change: the 8 reasons that cause difficulties and resistance

Today, the resistance to change in the company is a very important, and the same time delicate, subject.

In fact, in business, it is assumed that – big or small – organizations must change to remain competitive and survive in an ever-changing market.

However, facing this (big) change leads to face resistance barriers.

There are many different types of organizational changes.

Organizations can change:

  • their strategy,
  • their use of technology,
  • their structure,
  • their culture,
  • any combination of these aspects.

That’s why having a perspective view becomes fundamental.

Only by looking forward and defining the new organization and the new way of working of the people involved it is possible to identify the key aspects of the change process.

In short, it will be appropriate to plan “how the hypothetical change must take place” and to define the necessary actions that can counter the potential obstacles that may arise.

It is necessary to understand to what extent the people, in this case the employees, are ready to accept the changes and if the process threatens them in some way.

For a manager who must effectively manage the process of change implementation, it is important to know the reasons why people might resist change. The comprehension of motivations is essential to find and apply ways that encourage cooperation.

Resistance can delay or slow down the process of change, hinder its implementation and increase its cost. A manager can not afford it.

Why do people resist change?

In practice, there are 8 reasons why people resist change at work place.

A good manager must recognize these signs easily and understand the emotions that employees feel in this phase. Let’s try to examine one by one the causes of resistance to change.

1.Loss of work

In a company, any technological progress, process or product change will include more optimized work. This means a reduction in costs, an improvement in efficiency and a focus on faster completion times.

All this means that there will be changes that can affect certain roles and jobs. The team will tend to resist to protect their role.

2.Fear of the unknown

Employee responses to corporate change may vary. It can be fear or total support.

During times of change, some employees may feel the need to stick to the past because it is safer, more known and more predictable.

If what they did in the past worked well for them, they could resist change because they fear this comfortable situation will change in the future.

How can you blame them?

What is known is definitely an anchor, a safe haven, whatever the area.

This is why listening and dialogue become fundamental in this situation. Periodic meetings, comparisons and communication on change can be therefore very useful.

corporate change (2)

3.Loss of control

Asking to change the way the work is made can make employees feel helpless and confused.

People are more likely to understand and apply changes when they feel they have some control over them.

The key is therefore to keep the communication doors open and to encourage input, support and help from employees.

4.Lack of competence

This is a fear that employees will hardly admit openly.

Some people will feel that they will not be able to make the transition. This is because of their (few or insufficient) skills.

Therefore, the only way for them to survive or not to show their “ignorance” is to counter change.

Some employees express reluctance in learning something new in general. In this way, however, besides hindering change, they also hinder their personal growth.

5.Wrong time

It is important to consider that change is, itself, an event!

For this reason, change must be introduced when there are no other important initiatives in progress.

In this case, it is essential to prepare a strategy for change management since the beginning. The general situation of the organization must be assessed and the analysis should be complete.

In some cases it may be useful to hire a business change management consultant. This serves to design an effective and objective change management strategy.

6.Lack of rewards

Employees can resist changes when they see no reward. It is the simple question “Who makes me do it?”.

Without reward, in fact, there is no motivation to sustain change in the long run.

Therefore, to support change management, it is important that the organization’s reward systems are modified accordingly. The change must be seen as a rewarding system, an improvement for the company itself.

7.Social environment

Each company has its own internal policy. Thus, some employees resist change a priori, like a “political strategy“. It is simply a way like another to go against the management.

Employees can also join forces against change. They can do it, for example, to show that the person leading the change is not good for the task.

In the same manner, employees can resist change in order to protect their work colleagues. They do this when, for example, there is a risk of layoffs.

Sometimes even managers themselves could resist change in order to protect their working teams.

8.Lack of trust and support

A corporate change can not succeed if it takes place in a climate of distrust. Trust implies faith in the intentions and behavior of others.

In this case, any change in the workplace can be a cause of fear for the employees. The fear that their roles within the company may change.

In companies where a high degree of trust exists and employees are treated with respect and dignity, there is less resistance to change.

corporate change

Recognize resistance to change

How do you know if there is resistance to change in the company?

Sometimes people say or demonstrate quite directly that they are not happy or that they will not follow the plans.

Often, however, resistance is less obvious. It tends to act in a hidden way.

Those who remain silent can resist just as firmly as those who openly communicate their dissent.

Silence does not always mean consent. It is more difficult to manage a silent dissent than an open resistance.

Others may question the methodology. They could do it by undermining the process by which the changes were decided. In short, they will tend to weaken the initiative of change.

Then, there are those who are too busy to think about implementing changes.

Running everywhere the whole day, sending messages and continuously answering calls, they simply do not have time to make changes to their operating modes.

 

So, how do you handle the obvious and less obvious resistance to change?

Strategies to overcome resistance

If new initiatives seem to fade before moving on and the best plans go nowhere, these can be signs that employees are resisting to change.

Even if not all resistances are negative, the inability to adapt to change can have disastrous consequences.

Several studies have shown that around 70% of corporate changes fail due to the resistance of the workforce.

So what do you do to face resistance to change? Here are some suggestions.

[av_font_icon icon=’ue812′ font=’entypo-fontello’ style=” caption=” link=” linktarget=” size=’40px’ position=’left’ color=’#145b79′ av_uid=’av-33k5u7v’][/av_font_icon]Link the change to other issues that affect people. To improve the perception of change, one can think of connecting it to other issues that people care about (eg work safety). By showing how change is linked to these factors, it is possible to make resistance less likely.

[av_font_icon icon=’ue812′ font=’entypo-fontello’ style=” caption=” link=” linktarget=” size=’40px’ position=’left’ color=’#145b79′ av_uid=’av-x87i3′][/av_font_icon]Show attention and understanding of concerns. Communicate with employees about new initiatives and their progress. Ask them which are their worries that they see behind the change. Listening to others’ opinions is the first step to influence them.

[av_font_icon icon=’ue812′ font=’entypo-fontello’ style=” caption=” link=” linktarget=” size=’40px’ position=’left’ color=’#145b79′ av_uid=’av-1z6bg4b’][/av_font_icon]Identify team members who support change. These people are the supporters of the new way of working. They can be the link between change and the rest of the team. Ensure that they participate in the forums and to the change initiatives so that their voices can be heard.

[av_font_icon icon=’ue812′ font=’entypo-fontello’ style=” caption=” link=” linktarget=” size=’40px’ position=’left’ color=’#145b79′ av_uid=’av-1s8wyt7′][/av_font_icon]Communicate openly. It is essential to give precise information on what will happen and when, which aspects will change and what will remain unchanged. People are more likely to get stressed when they do not know the details of the situation.

[av_font_icon icon=’ue812′ font=’entypo-fontello’ style=” caption=” link=” linktarget=” size=’40px’ position=’left’ color=’#145b79′ av_uid=’av-12pf457′][/av_font_icon]Offer resources and tools. In a change, one of the biggest obstacles can be employees who are unprepared to manage changes. It will be necessary to provide training courses, equipment and everything that will not only help them to adapt, but also to excel in the changed environment. In this way, not only they can stop resisting, but they can even feel encouraged and confident about the new situation.

[av_font_icon icon=’ue812′ font=’entypo-fontello’ style=” caption=” link=” linktarget=” size=’40px’ position=’left’ color=’#145b79′ av_uid=’av-rp4zwb’][/av_font_icon]Timing is everything. Good timing is crucial when it comes to change. If you try to make important changes all at once or too quickly, employees may be more likely to resist. It is good practice to introduce change in measured doses in order to give employees the chance to acclimatize. This not only guarantees less interruptions to the activity, but also makes employees more inclined and therefore more productive.

It is a cliché, but it is true that change is difficult, in every sector, both in the working as well as in the private sphere.

By following a few simple strategies and a well designed plan of change, it is possible, however, to reassure the employees that the company’s commitment is to ensure, as never before, their well-being and success.

Have you ever found yourself in a situation of corporate change? Which side did you stand for? Tell us about your experience.

Manage your change process.

The Most Effective Strategy to Estimate Projects

Estimate projects correctly is a difficult task that every project manager has to face. It doesn’t matter if you estimate in order to evaluate resource work load (time/effort estimation) or just to create customers’ offer (cost estimation), the problem is just the same.

How can I predict exceptions, delay, bottle necks and create an estimate that is as close to reality as possible?

The answer is quite simple, you can, if you count on your team.

Identify the problem:

Estimate projects is difficult, in particular when you came to big ones that last months, maybe years. In these specific cases estimation could be just a guess. An incorrect estimation can generate several problems, for your team and your company in general:

  • Underestimated projects: this is what happens the most, particularly when project managers have direct contact with customers, if you want read more about why underestimation is so common you should read this article.[av_hr class=’invisible’ height=’15’ shadow=’no-shadow’ position=’center’ custom_border=’av-border-thin’ custom_width=’15px’ custom_border_color=” custom_margin_top=’15px’ custom_margin_bottom=’15px’ icon_select=’yes’ custom_icon_color=” icon=’ue808′ font=’entypo-fontello’ av_uid=’av-8mxc4q’]Robert works for a small company where he is a project manager and also the commercial director. He knows that his team is doing its best but he doesn’t want to lose any new customers opportunity. For this reason he underestimates his projects, trying to convince the team that every new customer can make the difference for a small company like theirs. Doing this, the quality of the product decreases, the team is overloaded and the project manager completely loses the correct perception of the project cost. Robert knows that his company will suffer of high turn over.

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  • Overestimated projects: Project managers more connected with the team tend instead to a pessimistic estimation of the project.[av_hr class=’invisible’ height=’15’ shadow=’no-shadow’ position=’center’ custom_border=’av-border-thin’ custom_width=’15px’ custom_border_color=” custom_margin_top=’15px’ custom_margin_bottom=’15px’ icon_select=’yes’ custom_icon_color=” icon=’ue808′ font=’entypo-fontello’ av_uid=’av-mc3sa’]John is a project manager and lead architect of a young software house. Every time a new projects begin he speaks to his team to make the correct estimation of tasks. Being near to his colleagues he knows how many problem they face and he prefers to overestimate his projects. Resources look over planned and the commercial department can lose opportunities for this lack of communication. At the end of the year John knows that his team could have released more products with a correct estimation.

Being a project manager with estimating problem you have probably found yourself in one of the two described above, maybe with different circumstances but probably with the same outcome.

Of course a correct project estimation can fix all these problems, correct schedulingresources’ workload. So, how can we improve it?
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Find the solution:

Being a project manager, maybe a senior one, your management skills are probably very refined, you know the effort for managing a team conflict, you probably know how to calculate the revenue of your task, but what about developing that specific product requirements? The project manager is able to identify all the phases of the project structure, but who better knows how does it take to accomplish a specific phase than the resource working on it?

The key for a correct project estimation is in your team knowledge.

Nicole is a project manager at ACME spa. She works with a smart and diversified team. Every time she is assigned to a new project and she has to estimate it she organizes a meeting with her team to develop the Gantt of the projects. Nicole sets the milestones if she has some and tries to define the end date of the project. She identifies the best resources for the work and then she asks them a refined schedule and estimation of their small portion of work. No one knows better than Giulia how effort it takes to make a perfect email layout. Nicole asks also to her colleague which problems she encounters the most and with which delay. Nicole asks to her team members to become everyone the project manager of his own specific tasks.

The knowledge of the team is very precise and very close to every specific matter, they know most of the possible exceptions, every possible delay, every bottle neck on their specific phase. To have a complete and precise estimation you have to go deeper with your team and analyze with them all the phases, let them estimate their phases like they would be the project managers, delegate. This approach will help you improve your resource management in general.

Also, if you work on projects that can repeat in time you could ask your team to specify every step of the work with its effort.

This to-do lists could be used as a template in time, to avoid loosing time estimating the same things again and again.

Save your team knowledge is the key to estimate projects correctly. It is what you can use to make comparison and learn in time estimating even better.

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Conclusion

Using this strategy you could be able to have a better idea of the effort of the project and every possible exception that can occur.

  • Identify your project phases and your goal end date
  • Identify your milestones and discuss them with your team
  • Select the best resources for each phase and delegate the task to them
  • Let the team write down every step of their phase to estimate it.
  • Use the knowledge from the team on every phases to estimate the entire project from bottom up

Using this strategy with a project management software that can help you creating a Gantt chart, assigning your resources, checking their workload could really make the difference, estimate projects will become easier.

If you want to learn more about how to introduce a project management software in you company you can read our article.

Start now estimating your projects correctly

Scrum With Twproject for SEO & Digital Marketing

I recently read a very interesting post about how to use Scrum methodology in a SEO & Digital Marketing Team. The post has been written by Marcus Miller (@marcusbowlerhat) and you can read it here:

Using agile project management for SEO & digital marketing

This post gives me the idea to write a new one explaining how to use Twproject with Agile methodologies and, following the Miller’s post, how a SEO & Digital Marketing Team can use it.

Scrum: What is it and why with Twproject?

How it is well explained in the post, the Scrum methodology is a project management approach helping small teams, and in particular software development ones, releasing products in an incremental and iterative development.

This approach defines a flexible and cohesive environment where a team can develop a product as a unit, self-organized, with common goals.

A Scrum team usually consists of several people, with specific roles, that, starting from a project with a well defined list of features (“the backlog”) , works together in short time cycles, on prioritized  sub-sets of features (“sprints”).

Team communication is encouraged with daily scrum meetings and a retrospective meeting at the end of each sprint.

Even if Twproject works fine, both with Waterfall and Agile methodologies, the second approach meets perfectly the idea behind our software.

Encouraging team communication, self organization and a more practical approach to what needs to be done, saving time and energy, are just some of the key ideas of Twproject.

Scrum Roles

Product Owner, Scrum Master and Team member, these are the specific scrum roles that you find already loaded in Twproject, and this will be the only roles required for managing your Scrum project, I refer to the post at the top for roles definition and usage.

You can activate these roles from the Twproject admin page ->  New area creation wizard -> Create an area with SCRUM specific roles.

ScreenShot068

 

Once the scrum area has been activated, in the project section, you will find a new “create scrum” button.

Thanks to this functionality you will create your scrum project in minutes, just selecting your team members, the system will create the project assigning the correct resources with the chosen roles.

Agile tools

Once the project is created and all your team is assigned with the correct role you have to insert the backlog. This can be done easily with Twproject using issues.

An issue in Twproject is a task activity, a to-do, a ticket, a backlog item, something that needs to be done in a specific task.

Twproject backlog issues can be prioritized, ordered, and have customizable status (open, in test, working, closed, is up to you), a time estimation and a due date.

ScreenShot070

 

Managing your backlog with Twproject is very practical thanks to the Kanban tool that lets you visualize your items by priority, by status, assignee and so on. Thanks to the Kanban you can see the status of the work, what is assigned to who, checking with a click all the progress your team is making.

ScreenShot072

Once the backlog is created you can create your first sprint.

The sprint creation includes also the set up of an agenda event for all the team members for the stand up meeting.

At this step you will also select the backlog items that you want to move to the new sprint:

ScreenShot071

Once your sprint is created is time to work. The team members will see in their dashboard all their items with priorities. Team members can communicate with a dedicated forum, working together to get things done.

At the end of the sprint, you can create a new agenda event, starting from the project work group to analyze what has been done, what you can improve, and how to go further.

This procedure will be repeated until you finish all the backlog and your project is closed.

Twproject includes also a set of reports that you can use to control your product developments, one of them is the burn down graph, a specific chart showing how the team is performing.

Conclusion

As Marcus Miller pointed out in his post “No matter how efficient we become, the work still has to be done”: no matter how a software can help you managing the project, you still have to do the job, that’s true, but we really hope that our tool can make your life easier.

I think that one of the best features of the Scrum methodology is that it is meant to be improved on the go, you do not actually need to be a master to start organizing your work, you can refine from sprint to sprint.

Using Twproject you can start immediately and without effort using this methodology and test if it works for your company too.

I suggest you to read the post of Marcus Miller that explains in a very intuitive way how this methodology works and how to introduce it in your team.

Using agile project management for SEO & digital marketing

The post is focused also on how to use this methodology in a SEO and digital marketing company, but, as you can imagine this approach can be used in every fields, try it out and contact us if you have questions!

Try Twproject now for managing your SCRUM projects

How to Introduce Project Management Software & Succeed

One of the biggest challenges, a project manager can face in a new team, is to change things for the better and let this changes take effect without the resistance of the team.

One of the most frequent examples is when a project manager decides to introduce a new tool for project management.

This moment of change, even if it is felt like very stressful,  is actually a great opportunity for a company to improve its strategy and organizations.

So,  what if you are that project manager? What if you really want to change things in your company organization with a new project management software?

Fix your expectations:

One of the most important things you need to do, before introducing a new software, is identifying your goals. You have to answer these 2 questions:

  1. Which are the main reasons that bring me to search for a project management tool?
  2. Which are the key features of the tool I chose?

these very simple questions can let you analyze what you are missing in your team now and which are the milestones you want to achieve in the future. Here are some examples:

“I really need to let everyone see what they are working on, stop wasting time with e-mails, pointing out problems and delay. The software I’ve chosen has great dashboards with the list of active assignments by priority.”

“I started searching for a project management software because we really do not know how much our projects cost. We wanted to track time and extract reports with resources costs. We chose the software that lets us manage resource costs easily, together with a time tracking tool”

Once you have your goals in mind be realistic and set some small achievements for your near future. Having realistic expectations is very important, actually it is a key point, if you expect to achieve unrealistic goals  you will immediately face a sense of fail in your team, and this will bring the software to fail.

At the same time, if you do not communicate your expectations, no one will understand how much  helpful will be this change and they will abandon the software.

No one said it was easy….

stereotype metapher leadership or exclusion
stereotype metaphor leadership or exclusion

Team communications, change is for the better..

The other key point about introducing a new software in a company, is to let everyone know, that this will actually help everyone working better, not just the project manager.

This, in some cases, is very difficult.

If you are the project manager of a cohesive team, maybe this will not affect you, but now I’m talking to all those pm, having a big team to manage, maybe a distributed one, with several people working in different ways. So, how to let them feel that changes are for the better?

It is not a software to control who is working and who is not. It seems a bad thing to say, but most of the time, these kind of software are felt like tools to control. They are not and you have to tell them clearly. It doesn’t matter if in the future you will get amazing reports of all worked hours, or if, thanks to the software, you will be able to see who is overloaded. The reason for changing is not to control, or at least it shouldn’t be ;-).

Be your own pm and organize your work better. Once the project manager has created the structure of the task, with dependencies and time frames all the team will be able to check their priorities, organize their to dos and manage their work in autonomy. If you, as pm, are able to let them understand the utility of this new responsibility you will have them on board.

These are just two examples of what you can point out to your team to let them know how helpful can be a project management software, let them know that is a tool for the whole team.

Get the best from the software

Following this easy yet effective strategy to introduce the new software in your company you will get in time amazing results. If your team will use the software, inserting and updating data with no effort, you will get something like:

Inserting estimation and worklog -> team workload and cost tracking

When the software is well introduced you will start inserting projects charts, assigning your resources with estimation and hourly costs. Thanks to this, and having your team inserting worklog you will be able to see your resources workload, control tasks progress and check costs, all data updated in real time.

Managing teams and agenda -> meeting and documents sharing

If you start using a shared agenda, you will be able to share appointments and create meeting easily according to task work-groups. check unavailability and the same connection will be created to easily share documents.

Read more here about managing distributed team agendas.

Using task checklist -> self management and responsibility

When a pm software is introduced, it can give you also the possibility to track to-do lists connected to projects. This is a very useful way for all users to organize, prioritize their work, finally they will stop using notes on the desk and no ideas or messages will be lost.

If you feel that your team needs a more structured way to work, it is probably time to introduce a project management software. Yes, it will be a big change but you can really get results if you follow our strategy. Our software, Twproject, can really give all the results mentioned above, all those features in one software only.

Introduce your team to Twproject.

How To Manage Distributed Teams – Sharing is Caring

These days, companies has to face an ever growing need for dynamic teams, shared groups of people working together through the internet. This need increases hand by hand with the difficulty of managing team dynamics and project updates.

For this reason, using conventional software like Microsoft project, built for managing projects in their best case scenario with clearly identified teams, could not fit the needs.

Many Projects – Lots of Teams

Big companies, and small ones too, with a high number of projects can see their number of teams increase accordingly, and when I say team I mean people that are actually working on the project.  Even if your company has just seven colleagues like ours, and you have one team working on several different projects,  you can face the same problem: a meeting for a project, a meting for another, uncounted e-mails refer to a projects, many refer to another, what a mess!

For this reason we cannot underestimate this trend and we better try to manage it.

Sharing is Caring

Actively work on a project often involves sending  tons of e-mail to keep everyone updated on what is going on, share documents and information about progress and commitment, schedule meeting with customers and colleagues, share the list of to-dos to get the project done.

This continuous flow of information assumes that you have always in mind all those who compose a specific team. How many of you spend more than a minute checking the list of attendees to be sure that everyone has been added? What if someone is forgotten?

Distributed Teams – Somebody Help!

It’s clear now that we need something helping us managing distributed teams. But what if I told you that the solution is at one step distance? Dynamic teams are implicitly defined by your projects. No one knows better, who is involved, than project management software.

people-envolved-2

Node by node, different people could be assigned and different information could be shared. Simply looking at the team from the project’s point of view, you will see the work-group changing.

This simple yet effective idea, let you start from the point of view of your project: when you have an information to share you just need to focus on which is the specific project related, your team is already there!

Just open you projects management software, your changing teams are saved there!

If you have not introduced a project management software in your company you can try Twproject that solves this problem with a suite of functionalities that starts exactly by the work group created on a project.

Finally we will have the distributed teams problem solved and nobody will be forgotten.

If you want to read more about how to introduce a project management software and succeed you can read this post:

https://twproject.com/blog/how-a-project-manager-can-introduce-a-significant-change-and-actually-succeed/

We have the tools, we have the culture.

5 Secrets to Improve Your Meeting

Work meetings can be stressful and often perceived as a waste of time for your whole team. Finding the best moment, coming with a clear idea of the meeting purpose, taking important decisions, define a project’ plan and all designated resources: all these points can decide if your meeting will be a complete failure or a success.

If you are about to schedule one with your team, you’d better pay attention to these 5 secrets to improve your meeting in order to get a happy and effective talk.

Use a project management software with shared agendas Finding the best moment to schedule a meeting is very important. It could be obvious, but it is not just a matter of finding a day when the team is available, it’s about finding a day when none of your colleagues have important deadlines, scheduled appointments or high priority tasks to close. Having a software that lets you check all of these will help you having a focused team.

Before the meeting create an ideas board If you have to manage with important matter, it will be really helpful having an idea of your colleagues’ thoughts before the meeting. You can use this to understand which of your colleagues share your ideas. An ideas board is also very helpful in order to give to all your team the possibility to share their opinion, even to those not so familiar with meetings’ animated discussions.

Listen to all points of view and understand them Having an open mind is really helpful during meetings. You have to be open also to those that will probably tell you that your ideas are not so brilliant, remember that your goal is to finish the meeting with taken decisions and a plan of what to do next.

Use a draft manager software Write down everything said. The draft management is very important to remember all decisions that have been taken and all discussions leading to them. With a draft in your hand you will be able to easily detect which are the key points for your team and why.

Transform decisions to a real plan Once everything is decided you will need to define a project plan, so use some time of your meeting for a recap, read the draft in details and create a to do list, you can use a project management software for this purpose too, assign these to-dos to your team and schedule deadlines.

Effective meeting are difficult to achieve, generally because you are taking away resources from their “real” projects. Organizing it properly, involving all team members in the decision process and transforming discussions in thing to do will incredibly improve your team culture.

Try Twproject to manage your meeting.

One try is worth a million words.

We need to talk: collaboration trends and mistakes to avoid

Companies becoming “liquid”, teams spread over thousands kilometers: workspace has changed, it is wider and faster. This is the reason why you need the right collaboration tools to… make the work work!

Collaboration tools: what is happening right now

It has already happened and it is happening.

Despite being a big, medium or small company, the concepts of colleague, team, meeting are now different.

And, despite being a big, medium or small company, one of the most important trend – and need – is about being everyone on the same page, at the same time.

And, believe it or not, this trend has something ancient within.

Ockham’s razor in today collaboration

William of Ockham was a Middle Ages (c. 1287–1347) Franciscan monk, a philosopher and theologian.

He is still famous for his Ockham’s razor, a principle which reads:

Among competing hypotheses, the one with the fewest assumptions should be selected.

The original use of the principle was in theology, but it is a heuristic technique as well, and it definitely is a principle which should be applied to your collaboration environment.

To have your whole team on the same page, at the same time you need a cloud and a real time communication tool. The cloud allows you to have the whole team working almost literally in the same (yet virtual) place.

A real time communication tool is what you need to break space and time barriers between the team members: it is the way to have everyone knowing everything is needed when it is needed.

So far so good, isn’t it? And everything seems so easy and smooth. But you still have to avoid the dark side of cloud and real time communication: the lack of management of the workflow and communication flow.

This is the reason why cloud and communication tools need a project management tool: a “meta level” of organization, another – wider – virtual place which ties the tools together. And what do you need from your project management tool? To track changes: you need to trace everything that has been done and still needs to be made. A great project management tool has to show you the path to follow helping you getting your projects done.

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Murphy’s Law VS Remote Collaboration

Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. Even when you work remotely. No fear: this post is about how to save the day!

Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong: these are supposed to be the words of Edward Aloysius Murphy Junior (1918 – 1990), words that became an ante – litteram meme and the inspiration for a huge amounts of variants in almost every fields of human activities.

Nevertheless sometimes bad things (we are not going to use the s. word in this post…) happen. And yes: it seems that “bad things” happen always in the worst possible moment.

IT stuff, computers, the internet can’t avoid Murphy’s law, and the collection of Murphy’s Computers Laws is a lot of fun. Well: it is not, actually, while it happens.

If you are involved in remote collaboration, if your teammates are peppered across the world, your Achilles heel is, of course, the internet connection.

And, according to the Murphy’s law view of the world, probably you are going to experience a problem when a deadline is close, or when there is something very urgent to do.

First things first: no panic.

It is very likely that the problem you are experiencing is local, or maybe only your service provider is involved. Then try to contact the service provider’s customer care. You will know immediately If it is really that bad, because it won’t answer…

You must not waste your time, so just pick up your smartphone, tablet and laptop and… Run! What for?

To find a wi-fi connection of course. Because, it is the only thing you really need.

Good remote collaboration tools such as Twproject don’t even need a computer: you can check the workstream just via the smartphone app, and a tablet is more than enough to do everything else, to interact with the team just like nothing had happened. So, just look for libraries or coffeehouses – in some cities even public transports have a good wifi connection, in that case: jump on a bus! – and everything will be OK.

From an Italian point of view, one for which coffee, il caffè, is quite an important thing, you could tell that some coffeehouse companies actually sell wifi connection, because that is not real coffee… 😉

So just give Twproject a try!

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Work environment and Papuasian tribes: how to solve team conflicts

You can think of open space offices and flame mails, but team conflicts are a little bit older than that: Cain and Abel, you know..? Since that time we learned the lesson: conflicts can destroy a team.

You can think of open space offices and flame mails, but team conflicts are a little bit older than that: Cain and Abel, you know..? Since that time we learned the lesson: conflicts can destroy a team.

At the present time the concept of team is reshaping itself: open space offices are not for everybody (and, if they are not your cup of tea, they can also affect your performance: good insight about this issue in Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain); tons of emails are not for everybody; almost – digital – only relationships (I am currently working also for people that I have never met in person, did it never happen to you too yet?) are not for everybody as well.

Nevertheless we are still speaking of teams, and a team is supposed to be a group of players forming one side in a competitive game or sport. And business is the most competitive sport on this planet. If you don’t find a way to make out a team from a bunch of people, you are going to lose the match.

 

A team is a system of relationships and different personal needs.

Without a way to bring together that relationships and needs, the system fall apart: it is the concept of Schismogenesis, ”the generation of opposition” a concept developed by the anthropologist Gregory Bateson in the 1930s while studying the Papua New Guinea Iatmul culture.

Your team and an Iatmul village are a system. There are two different ways to destroy it: the Complementary schismogenesis (dominant-submissive behavioural pattern) and Symmetrical schismogenesis (same behavioural pattern, as in the arms race).

In the passage rite named Naven, Iatmul people create a context in which the usual roles are “played” in the opposite way: male becomes (disguising) female. The key of the Naven rite is to allow men and women to experience – in the context – the emotional lives of each other, achieving a psychological integration.

Finding a way to bring this kind of experience to your team is a good way to keep it not alive, but lively! Programmers and creative designers (but it can be sales and buyers, or sales and logistics, HR and administration…): these are probably the men and women of your “village”.

All of us are under pressure. But finding an opportunity to experience a different pressure, the pressure that “the other guys” are experiencing, is a great way to improve the team manager: we have the tools, we have the culture, we just have to build up the opportunities. Because a lot of what makes the difference between success and failure in teams is a matter of empathy.

Think about it next time you are going to share a pizza with a guy of a different department… Meanwhile, a tool that helps team – working is a good way to keep low the schismogetetic fibrillation level…

tour-operator-load

 

Easing work relationships on a project-by-project basis

Twproject is a project management tool, and as such it represents work relationships in form of projects, assignments and roles.

But what it can do better with respect to classical hierarchical and role based modeling is that organizations can be projects – related: the same user can be project manager, worker, stakeholder and tester at the same time on different projects. You can get suggestions in a project you lead, and make suggestions in a project you follow.

And indeed you can set up projects where the manager / execution roles are exactly specular, so that users can compare the two experiences. It is not by chance that Twproject is used as a didactical tool in so many universities.

User and projects can spawn different areas, and you can involve resources from other departments in cross area projects: just in the “Naven” ritual, it’s a matter of point of view!

This contextual role playing can be a way to experiment and understand problems relative to your position in a project in different cases, just like in the rites above.

 

We have the tools, we have the culture.

Teamwork’s team releases a new service for helping companies change

Your Change Manifesto online serviceWe just released a new (free) online service for facilitating change in companies, groups, teams: it’s called Your Change Manifesto, and you can use it online here:

http://yourchangemanifesto.com

The service idea is heavily inspired by several of Teamwork bootcamps, experiencing the difficulties and opportunities innovative managers find in introducing change.

Teamwork 4.5 released: a major free upgrade

We are really happy to announce this major release update. As you may guess from the length of this announcement, this update will improve your Teamwork in almost every section, providing more modeling tools and functions. The web browsers’ enhanced capacities (in particular those of Firefox, Safari and Chrome) are used in depth to give users a better experience.

This is a free upgrade for all users of version 4. Get the installer / upgrader here: http://www.twproject.com/download.page

The main features of this release are:

– Issue managing by dragging – “kanban” like.

– History of issue assignee, status and task change (better help desk and issue scaling support).

– Customizable issue statuses.

– Better graph and agile / scrum handling.

– Cross links between tasks / issues / resources / agenda events / meetings / boards.

– In-place popup editors.

– Operator load computation has become much smarter.

– Greatly extended user guide with real case work “mappings” to Teamwork, and a new section on performance optimization.

Layout changes

Several pages that up to now were popup windows are now windows in place, which improves their usability: issue editor, custom forms, workgroup selector.

Several text areas now support internal links (e.g. T#MYCODE#), web links (http://www.twproject.com), smiley’s, absolute URLs to images.

New features

Issues.

Issue statuses – customizable. New issues statuses can be created. There is a page for managing issue statuses (which before version 4.5 were fixed):

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And for every status not only its color, but most importantly its business logic behavior is determined from this editor:

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Whether it should “behave” when asking user feedback as an open status, as close, whether it should ask for comments and / worklog when entering a status.

So typically if your status is something in which the issue enters at “end of life”, it should be marked “as close” and “ask for worklog” too should be enabled.

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Issue change history. When changing a status, task or assignee on an issue, the editor will ask for a reason, and the change will be recorded on the issue. And in fact there is an additional tab on the issue editor, “history”.

Issue organizer “Kanban”. Issues can be now be organized in a completely visual way by dragging and dropping them: filter the issues in which you are interested in, and then select the “organizer” button.

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clip_image010 Now you can also enable use of external codes on issues (admin -> default for projects).

Dashboards.

The usability of the “customize this page” function has been improved: all portlets are always visible:

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And it’s easier to drag them in the dashboard. Moreover it is easier to access the general page / portlet disposition page: just click “all users”. clip_image014

There is a new additional starting page: help desk support.

Operator load and planning. This was the user request:

“refine the operator load showing the effective load taking in consideration worklog done. E.g: 100h estimated on 20 days, done 10h in 10 days the resting 10 day must have a load of 90h not 50h like now”

Also take care of unavailability.

Use the new operator load on plan, load by day, end wherever it is meaningful

Operator load textual: put worklog with totals and pink holydays. Use striped background

Advanced users

– The examples in the distribution and the documentation now cover also “custom wizards”: see section 14.4 Custom wizards of the user guide.

Minor improvements

– More kinds of documents are now full-text indexed; these are the extensions now supported:

“.txt”, “.rtf”, ”.log” “.pdf”. “.htm”, “.html”, “.zip”, “.war”, “.jar”, “.xls”, “.xlsx”, “.xltx”, “.xlsEmb”, “.doc”, “.docx”, “.dotx”, “.docEmb”, “.ppt”, “.pptx”, “mpp”, “mpx”, “.msg”, “.msgEmb”, “.vsd”, “.pub”.

Also custom fields are full-text indexed.

Here are several user requests fulfilled:

– “Add worklog approval monthly screen” -> We will add bulk status change in worklog search / analysis

– Expose issue id in editor and list.

– LDAP authentication cascades to system one.

– Develop a resource snapshot.

– Sort File Storage Document Listing.

– Make “add document content” in a rich text editor.

– Please put a link to a task on the agenda event : we actually did much more by having full internal links.

– Need to add subscription event for when a new version of a document is uploaded.

– Display agenda items in planByResource like in worklogWeek.

– Search for specific custom fields.

– You can have a customized help message in the “help” page, just add in the labels CUSTOMIZED_HELP_CONTACT.

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– Notes on issues are on the main tab and self-resize.

– Issue assignee selector got simplified.

– Now you can create subtasks as sub-fluxes.

– Counters can now be reset and deleted.

– When changing a task on an issue, notify the new assignees.

– Since version 4.5 custom fields support also “typing” of data. E.g. “cost,20,java.lang.Double” will add a custom field of length 20 and type “double” (a floating point number).

– Holiday settings: now you have year-specific settings.

– In issue list you can now filter by task type.

– Resource print includes my assignments.

Bug fixes

– Check why in the assignment notification we add a link to the task even if the resource has not the rights to read task … .

– Meetings are not full-indexed.

– Index custom forms data.

– Create issue from task editor menu does not launch creation nor filters???

– Issue multi edit: bulk change gravity do not close actions clicking “close”.

– Fixed MIME for teamworkMenuPlusCss.jsp,

– Issue cloning did not raise events,

– Fixed various combo positions in bulk update screens in case of scroll.

– Summa is not saved on document link and file storage on tasks and resources.

– A fix for Oracle on Resources with no surname.

– An operator may change his own password even if cookies are enabled.

– Do not notify disabled users.

 

Technical points

– In order to optimize memory usage,

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If you log as administrator and go to the label management section, open the “label rules” container (it is closed by default), and say if you want to have only English as language, type EN in the enabled languages field and select SAVE.

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– Teamwork 4.5 is no more on quirks mode – we dropped support for Internet Explorer 6 – and pages are in HTML 5

Important for upgrades. Several JARS have been updated, added and removed. If they are present these JARs should be deleted by hand from WEB-INF/lib:

o commons-collections-2.1.1.jar

o commons-logging-1.0.4.jar

o poi-3.0.1-FINAL-20070705.jar

o jcaptcha-all-1.0-RC3.jar

– Added -server configuration to the Java JVM distributed.

– If using HsqlDB you can make a dump of the current log by hand from system check instead of having to wait Teamwork restart:

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Notes for updating to 4.5:

Any custom filter on issues will need to be redone as the issue statuses are a lookup field.

Unfortunately all document list attached to discussion points of meetings will be reset.

P.S. We’re building the beta of a new online service – called Licorize – a cocktail of Delicious bookmarking and light to-do management. If you’d like to beta-test it,  just send an e-mail to info@twproject.com with “Licorize” in the subject or body – we will soon give you access and also a year of free usage to your entire group.