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Last Updated on January 2, 2020

5 Project Management Tools to Get Your Team on Track

5 Project Management Tools to Get Your Team on Track

We talk a lot about project management tools here at Lifehack, but mostly on how to setup your own personal project management systems. As project teams are becoming more and more distributed and our work becomes more and more digital, it’s important that we have good team-based project managment tools to augment our personal productivity systems.

Here are 5 project management tools that will ensure your team stays on track:

1. Asana

    Asana is a great, fast project management solution for teams and can even work for personal use.

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    You can use tags, projects, due dates, assign tasks to coworkers, and comment on each task. One of my favorite things about Asana is how fast and responsive the web app is and how the use of the TAB key gives you some very useful ‘hot keys’ to make your task processing even faster.

    Check out Asana here.

    2. Basecamp

      Basecamp is sort of the “grandad” of all team project management apps online.

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      With that comes task and project creation, discussions, due dates, tags, and more. Also, Basecamp SSL data encryption and daily data backups for all plans.

      Check out Basecamp here.

      3. Orchestra

        Orchestra gives you the ability to create tasks, create lists of tasks (sort of like projects), assign due dates (but no due times), share tasks with people and of course comment on each task. Using Orchestra is a treat and is pretty neat to see real time updating of tasks as you are working with others.

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        Check out Orchestra here.

        4. Flow

          One of the prettiest project management tools around, Flow, helps you plan and execute projects with teammates. Flow lets you create tasks, comment on them, add tasks to lists, tag tasks, assign tasks to others, and even has a cool Flow Concierge service for lucky beta testers where you can assign “simple” tasks to a personal assistant. Amazing.

          Flow also has a great iPhone app that is updated regularly as well as a Mac companion app for easily adding tasks and viewing updates.

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          Check out Flow here.

          5. Google Docs

            Google Docs is one of the best team project management tools because almost everyone that does anything on the web has a Google account. And with a free account, you get shared spreadsheets, documents, presentations, email, and storage (that is if you consider access to your information so you can be marketed to, free).

            I can’t even explain how many times I have used Google Docs in a project setting whether it be for school or work. Even with all of its small bugs that I have found from time to time, the time and energy that Google Docs has saved me and the many teams I have worked with is priceless.

            Check out Google Docs here.

            Featured photo credit: Kobu Agency via unsplash.com

            More by this author

            CM Smith

            A technologist and writer who shares advice on personal productivity, creativity and how to use technology to get things done.

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            Last Updated on October 14, 2020

            Delegation of Authority: The Complete Guide for Effective Leaders

            Delegation of Authority: The Complete Guide for Effective Leaders

            Do you absolutely hate failing? You’re in luck because, today, you’ll learn the art of how to tackle failure in your work life. The magic trick is called delegation of authority.

            Failure is often a result of excess burden. When you take on more than you can handle, you are unable to perform well, even if you have the expertise to do it perfectly. It’s demotivating, a waste of time, and extremely annoying.

            Let’s take a deep look into the delegation of authority to figure out how to make the most of it.

            What Does It Mean to Delegate Authority?

            Delegating authority is neither magic nor rocket science. It is exactly what it means: division of workload and distribution of power.

            Now, this is where most superiors get worried. They misunderstand the idea and believe that distribution will take away their authority.

            However, the division and distribution of authority are like giving the entire team autonomy over their own job, but their control is limited to just that.

            The superior still has supremacy over all the employees.

            Authority delegation minimizes the workload of the superior. This work is broken down into smaller tasks and spread out into a team so that every member works simultaneously to finish the project in a shorter time.

            3 Elements of Delegating Authority

            The delegation of authority has three elements:

            1. Assigning Responsibility

            This is the first step in the process. A person who is in charge, such as a manager or a team leader, assigns other team members certain tasks that have to be completed in a given period. Of course, this is only possible if the superior has more control and authority in the work environment than the subordinates.

            2. Granting Authority

            The next step is to give the subordinates enough authority and responsibility for them to complete the task and act independently.

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            So, let’s say you are a supervisor who allocated one person in your team to do a certain task. This assignment will be useless to you if the subordinate has to come to you every step of the way to get permission and signatures required to fulfill the allocated job.

            Unless you’re giving authority, you aren’t delegating. Instead, you’re only assigning a task, and that won’t bring you any benefits.

            Also, granting authority puts the subordinate in charge. This person is now responsible for doing what they’re assigned, however they like. It’s up to them how they tackle obstacles. All that you as the supervisor should be concerned about are the final results.

            3. Maintaining Accountability

            There’s always a risk that some team members may not act responsibly, especially when they have been given authority over the assigned task. This is why you have to make every employee or team member accountable through some rules and regulations.

            The superior must always have the right to ask the responsible person about their task[1]. Creating an accountability culture in a company is important, and accountability goes upwards in the hierarchy of a work environment. Never offer any leniency in this regard if you want to ensure quality outputs.

            This step of giving and receiving feedback helps improve the future work ethic immensely.[2]

            Effective delegation of authority

              Why Is It Important to Delegate Authority?

              Many times, superiors take on all the duties because they have a hard time trusting someone else to do the job as well as they would do themselves.

              That’s a valid concern, and it may keep you from getting the most out of authority delegation.

              But, with this risk comes a long list of benefits. It is actually important to delegate authority for the betterment of your organization and team.

              Superiors Can Perform Better

              The most important benefit of delegating authority is that the manager divides authority and gets the time to do their actual job.

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              As a supervisor, your first duty is to maintain the flow of your team. With your workload minimized and more time at hand, you can pay attention to the minor details.

              It gives supervisors the time to look at the more important stuff. Simultaneously, they get a chance to test which team members are most efficient. In case of any problem, the delegator has enough room in their schedule to sit down to figure out a solution.

              All in all, it leads to a more efficient performance from the supervisor’s side.

              Subordinates Learn With the Flow

              With a degree of authority in their hands, the subordinates begin to feel useful and important. This feeling is the most important route to improvement.

              As your subordinates work independently, they not only improve their existing skills, but they also perform better. Since they are ones in control, they are the only ones accountable for everything they put on the table. This sense of responsibility provides the mandatory boost of motivation[3].

              Moreover, with the delegation of authority, the superiors and subordinates work on the same level to a certain extent. This allows the team members to learn from their supervisors while also polishing their knowledge practically.

              Leads to Better Relationships

              If you’re in charge of any team, work as a manager, or own an organization that you run, you already know why employee-employer relationships are vital.

              The same applies to every workgroup.

              So, even if you’re just one small group of 5 people in a multinational organization, the rules are coherent.

              By letting go of some responsibilities and giving individuals a chance to grow, you’re spreading positive work vibes. It all works in a cycle where you give the team some authority, they feel important and outperform, your trust in them strengthens, and you continue to delegate authority moving forward.

              5 Tips to Delegate Authority Effectively

              There is a whole mechanism that supports the delegation of authority.

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              If done right, this concept has numerous advantages. However, the key is that it’s done right.

              1. Choose the Best Person

              It’s not easy to trust another person to do something that you would have preferred to do yourself. That is why it is crucial that you only delegate a task to someone that you have full faith in.

              The easiest way to do this is to pre-asses every team member’s skills and qualities. In your mind, have a clear idea of who does what best. So, if there is one particular individual who excels at technology, you will know where to go every time there’s a job related to that skill.

              Once you’re satisfied with who is in control, more than half of the issue is resolved and things will most likely go smoothly.

              2. Offer Enough Autonomy

              One huge mistake you may make is to break down tasks too much.

              Let’s say your team of 10 people has to arrange an office party for 100 people. You have to manage the location, decorations, food, and furniture.

              You can either assign 4 individuals each of the 4 main jobs, or you can divide each component further into small tasks.

              In the case of the latter, tasks will overlap, things will get confusing, and none of your team members will have full control over their assigned task.

              This generally leads to a final result that is extremely non-coherent.

              3. Clear Communication

              A major aspect of delegation is the availability of clear instructions. From details of the task to deadlines, the person who has to fulfill the job should be clear on every single detail.

              Unless they know what’s expected from them, they will never be able to satisfy the delegator.

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              You can learn more about effective communication in this article.

              4. Avoid Unnecessary Pressure

              Yes, diamonds only form after the charcoal is put under immense pressure. But, honestly, you don’t need to implement that strategy in your work environment when implementing delegation of authority.

              Offer plenty of time and flexibility for each individual to be able to offer their best performance.

              Some people may work better under pressure. In that case, let the individual make that decision for themselves.

              5. Offer a Helping Hand

              Just because you’ve given someone else the task and power does not mean you have to back off completely.

              In fact, you should try to be a part of the process, but only from outside a defined boundary. This is something you’ll have to figure out practically as per the needs of your work environment. However, it will ultimately lead to you being a more respected leader:

              The important point is that if someone is facing an issue with the delegated task, do not refuse to help. Offer advice and support readily so that your team can learn from you. It will end up benefiting your organization.

              Final Thoughts

              Conclusively, it is safe to say that the delegation of authority is a very helpful technique to adopt in workplaces. It allows for a positive working environment as well as fruitful results.

              It’s something that all leaders should implement to achieve a time-efficient and productive workspace!

              More on the Importance of Delegation

              Featured photo credit: Dylan Gillis via unsplash.com

              Reference

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