Information… What Way?
Communicating information from one team member to another becomes a crucial aspect of building a healthy team. In an environment where information changes rapidly, finding ways to communicate old and new information as effectively as possible without intruding on each team member’s workflow should be a priority. Here are some recommended ways of identifying and implementing third-party applications into the workflow of your team.
Do note that you are probably at the wrong place if you are looking for ways to improve personal or professional communication with your colleagues or bosses. Hit up the bar around the corner instead. Whatever it is on the drinks menu will probably be more helpful than this post.
The most expensive application does not always translate to the most practical application. Identify the problems you are trying to solve before throwing Benjamins at any application that comes your way and finding yourself at the wrath of the accounting team. Figure out the information that needs to be streamlined or communicated more effectively. Once you have a better understanding of what the team needs, you will also have a better idea of the tools you need.
If you are up for a challenge you can still go wild with Ben and deal with the accounting team later. YOLO?
Most applications are free to use with limited functionality. Often times the free tier may be more than enough for the needs of your team. Try not to dismiss an application simply because the free tier may not have as much functionality as the higher cost tiers. Give the applications a chance and you may be surprised by how much value they offer without any upfront cost.
Try not to be shortsighted by the most prominent feature of an application and experiment with other feature sets. Use the application in different scenarios and be sure to dig into the settings menu and tweak the settings. Just because the title of “the best to-do list app” is attached to a popular application does not mean its use is limited to making to-do lists.
In the case of Wunderlist, a to-do list application our team uses heavily, many “smart” features were turned off in order to accommodate the team’s method of tracking account optimizations.
The best way to know if an application fits within the workflow of your team is to make sure each team member is on board with the solution. Sit down with your team and determine the best way to use the tool. Questions the team should brainstorm collectively when getting started should include (but not limited to):
- How often should we use the application to communicate information?
- What is the preferred level of detail?
- How do we maintain consistency within the application?
Here are a few applications our team use on a daily basis:
- Wunderlist – The “to-do list” app has become our primary tool for tracking account optimizations with a few tweaks
- Basecamp – The primary project management app where tasks are scheduled and assigned, and activities are reviewed at the beginning, middle, and end of each week
- Slack – The playground for discussions of many topics and where industry news are shared
Once you have identified and introduced the ideal applications into your workflow, continue to make necessary adjustments until all the kinks are ironed out. Remember, the applications should serve as tools to enhance communication within the team, not to complicate it.
If you are short on time and simply want a quick way to get information easily and effortlessly, the bar around the corner would still do the trick. Just be aware the relevancy and quality of information shared after a few drinks may vary.