A project management tipsheet

These tips will help you communicate better across functions when everybody’s busy.

Members of the Ragan community are often shocked at how small our content team is when they see the plethora of conferences, workshops, webinars, certificate courses and content we produce every year. How do we get it all done, and keep our programming high quality, when things are always so busy?

Of course, everybody’s busy — not just our content team. And this is likely the case at your organization, too — strategically embedding thoughtful communications best practices across functions is hard when no one has a moment to spare.

That’s where smart project management tools come in handy. At Ragan, our content team uses Trello—its calendar function and handy color-coded labels help us ensure that we’re covering different areas of focus with regularity and not repeating ourselves too much, while delivering the right information at the right time for our business. But we use Asana, too: There, our project management lead breaks down and assigns complex, multi-team projects step-by-step, with manageable deadlines for each leg of a multifaceted journey, ensuring that our creative, marketing, awards, sponsorship, events and content teams — and any other stakeholders — are aligned and understand their next task every step of the way.

This isn’t a promo for our teams’ project management tools. Rather, as we’ve deployed these tools and streamlined our processes within them, we’ve picked up a few tips along the way for effective project management, and we’d like to share some of what we learned.

  1. Provide clear, peer-led training. Modules and tutorials produced by the makers of these tools are great and all, but there’s no better way to teach your peers how you’ll be using these project management tools than showing them yourself. This training should focus on common features and tasks that will directly pertain to their role and scope. For best results, group these trainings by roles and functions instead of training the whole company at once. If possible, keep the meetings to under 10 people so everyone feels like they can chime in.
  2. Demonstrate efficiencies and other benefits. Getting colleagues to buy in is easier when they understand how these tools can benefit them, save them time on their work and improve collaboration to make tasks easier. Show them how easy it is to find information that they previously had to hunt for, or point to a tip or hack that makes what could be an off-putting task streamlined and simple (for example, being able to copy checklists in Trello and other complementary tools for similar projects). Demonstrating these efficiencies and making them personal to the needs of those you’re onboarding will create owners who feel empowered, not overwhelmed.

For more information on how to access the full tipsheet and become a member of Ragan’s Communications Leadership Council, reach out here.


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