How to Organize a Team in 5 Easy Steps
Here is how you can use the best methods, systems, and technologies to organize a team that can accomplish any task… even the one that seemed impossible.
Developing a product that people like is difficult. It is twice as hard to do with a team that lacks integrity. Most of the times that is the main reason IT companies keep losing clients. How to organize a team that seems chaotic and shows signs of recovery, you might wonder. Well, the truth is, there is no secret. You need a system that will help resolve problems and prevent them from happening.
Of course, it might take some time for you to organize a team that functions productively. But there is hope for everyone — no matter how bad you think the situation is. This simple guideline will help you improve the operation of your team with 5 easy steps.
1. Choose the tool
Many tools have been developed to make it easy for you to organize a team. Trello, Asana, Wrike, TeamWork, and Jira are amongst the most popular once. If you already have an established team, chances are you already use some kind of organization method. But if you are a new company or haven’t used any software yet, you are in an even better situation. It is easier to start off right than correct the mistakes. Here is a quick overview of the popular tools that can help you choose the one that suits your team best.
Trello is the best solution for visual thinkers. It is the one we use the most in our team and we find it really helpful. The platform is intuitive and easy-to-learn. It is the choice for the teams who have little experience in project management and are looking for a simple solution to fix their problems.
Asana is a pretty intuitive and straightforward system as well that can help you organize a team. It is used by many software and marketing teams around the world. The platform is the best choice for the people who prefer lists over visual boards.
Wrike it is a little more complex than two ones mentioned above and is mainly used to manage larger teams. The management tool makes it easy to scale team and work across departments. Its layout is also mainly list based, so if you have a large team, consider adopting the tool. You might need to consider hiring someone with project management experience to manage the tool. But if it ends up improving the efficiency of your team, it going to be a worthy investment.
TeamWork might take some time to get started with. But once you do, it can be one of the most comfortable and effective tools. Especially, for for delivering complicated projects, setting milestones, and tracking your progress. Everything in the platform encourages self-improvement and efficiency.
Jira is an intuitive project management tool beloved by many. Software companies are the ones who use it the most. And that is rational, considering the tool supports many workflow styles and the teams can customize it to suit needs. The best thing about it is that it helps organize a team by visually tracking its progress. Its simple and intuitive interface also takes almost no time to get to used to.
– traditional methods
Even though we are entering a digital era, a point that can be made in favor of more traditional methods of team management. Those include real boards, sticky notes, and blackboards. Companies now use them mainly as a complementary tool to digital technologies. But they still have an important role and can significantly improve the efficiency of your team. We would encourage you to look for ways you can integrate them into the way you organize a team.
The best thing about all of those platforms is that you can actually look up tips that will help you use the software. Those tutorials and lists will help you make the most out the tool and improve the behavior of your team. No matter which tool you choose or why, however, always communicate the reasons you did to your team. It will encourage open communication and make it easier for you to change the future.
2. Choose a management framework
After you choose the tool, the next thing you need to be researching if you want to know how to organize a team properly is which management system to use. It is one of the most important aspects of team management. The system you use can make or break the game. If you never looked into the system before, you will be surprised to learn just how many there are out there. Amongst them, Agile, Waterfall, Kanban, and Scrum are the most popular ones. Each of the systems helps solve a different problem, and which one you choose will depend on what kind of product you need to deliver. We will give a small overview of each of the most popular frameworks to help you decide which one is for you.
Agile is all about flexibility. An Agile team has a plan it follows from the beginning to the end. It works in small chunks, knows as sprints, and makes adjustments to the product as it goes. The team also frequently checks in with the client and all stakeholder to make sure its functionality, corresponds to the expectations. The framework welcomes change and puts the development of working, functional, and innovative technology on the forefront. The guidelines are also flexible —all you need to qualify for an Agile team is to follow 12 principles of Agile Manifesto.
The Waterfall is the framework that is used by most software companies the most. It uses relatively linear systems that marked the beginning and the ending of each project. The model is one of the oldest. In the past, manufacturing and construction companies used it in their daily operations. At the beginning of the 21st century, it also got adopted by the software companies. Unlike with Agile, when a team uses Waterfall, it needs to know all the requirements in advance. The team moves to the next step in the process only after all steps in the software development life cycle are complete.
Kanban is a method used to implement the Agile. It is a visual system that uses cards and sticky notes to organize a team, both physical and virtual once. According to the model, each person should be working on one project at a time and move on to the next task only when the current one is complete. The framework implies there is a set capacity of tasks that a team can be working to be efficient and the task should only be added if there is ‘empty space’ on the board. Regular boards usually consist of three columns: to do, in progress, and done. The priorities are decided and re-decided during team meetings and check-ups. It is easy to understand and easy to implement. The system does not require difficult setups and alterations, meaning it can be put over existing one.
Scrum is an efficient way of implementing Agile. When a team uses the Scrum method, it regularly makes check-ins to make sure the team stays on track and consistently works on the development of the project. Those iterations also are known as sprints and last for a set amount of time. The model implies that all the parties need to have pre-set responsibilities and the regular meeting is often one of them. At the end of each sprint, all the parties involved in the process meet to decide on the next step. Using this method teams can tackle even complex problems, while consistently delivering a quality product.
3. Adopt it to your team
The best way to make sure the tool and the system work is by adopting them to your team. That is how you get your scattered team organized since systems are often generic and do not account for differences within teams. It is your job as a manager to make sure they can be efficiently implemented. Account for people’s personalities, try to think how each of the team members can add to the team. You cannot and should not just force them to compile — modern work environments are not an army, after all.
To test whether it works you can start by creating a sample project. Thankfully, most of the companies that offer project management tools like Trello also have sample projects. They can help you get a better idea of how to kick start your new project management methodology. Adopt those systems to your team and run a trial case, before settling on one.
4. Observe and get feedback
After running a test version of your project, you need to observe how it works on practice. You need to be very attentive to the performance of your team and what problems it has faced along the way. At this stage, also collect your team’s feedback.
Be open to it. Do not forget that at this point the main goal is to make sure that the chances you implement need to make the team more effective. And the best way you can do it is by listening to what people and observing their behavior. After running the trial, which will probably last for a week or two, you can run an anonymous survey. That way you will not miss out on important insights and makes sure that every member of the team contributed.
5. Adjust the system
After you have completed the trial period and collected the feedback, it is time to analyze all the data. You have and put all the information into a more coherent system that can help your team reach the goals of the company. The next step is ensuring that the team stays on track and keeps using the systems efficiently for at least a month or two.
If the system is efficient, your team will not have problems sticking to it. And once you pass 60 days threshold, it will become natural. That is how to organize a team that works.
To organize a team, you need to show dedication
No matter who you are — a newly appointed manager, a dedicated employer, or someone who wants to show professionalism — if you want to organize a team you need to be open and transparent about the changes you make. For people in your team to trust that the system you are using is the best one, you need to show dedication yourself. You need to keep on communicating the reasons you are making the changes and how it can help the team to do better. By imposing ideas on your team that ‘should work’ on paper, but do not in real life, you will only hurt your team. Admitting something is not working is difficult — takes smarts and courage, but that is what good managers need to know how to do.