Most teams use several different methods for sharing information. Email, spreadsheets, status meetings, and even sticky notes make regular appearances and suck up too much time that employees could be spending on creativity and productivity.
But, wasted time isn’t the only problem with this kind of scenario. When everyone is using different tools, chances are you are suffering from siloed information, which means you can’t collaborate, strategize, or make decisions effectively.
See "Failing Projects and Disconnected Work: How Much Does it Cost You?" to learn more about how unorganized work management is damaging your business.
Here are three ways a centralized work management solution can address these problems and break down the silos inhibiting information sharing on your team.
1. Keep it Together
Email and spreadsheets have their place, but they aren’t adequate for work management. A work management tool will keep you from spending too much time in your inbox, help you organize files and track drafts, and find accurate status updates quickly.
In a recent webinar, Chris O’Neal, product evangelist at Workfront, explained why getting everyone on board with a work management tool is essential:
“There needs to be some sort of consistency and visibility in everyone’s workload in order to ensure that you’re aware of problems as they come up or able to make decisions in a timely manner together as a team when team decision-making is required.”
While some flexibility in teamwork can allow for creativity, “sometimes the flexibility creates gaps between team members or between processes,” he added.
J. Alan Goddard, director of operations transformation services at Leappoint said that when he helps clients use a work management tool like Workfront, teams can close those gaps:
“Additionally, they were finally able to see where their processes were falling short and where in the process key deliverables were at risk of not hitting their planned completion date.
“They were then able to go in and not only optimize their processes, but also get the project back on track.”
A work management tool opens doors to better collaboration, faster reviews, real-time status updates, and organized files and communications that save time. O’Neal believes this comprehensive view of projects, that is free of siloed information, allows teams to more effectively meet goals:
“If your only insights come from project statuses and those are incomplete, you may end up with projects that say ‘complete’ or ‘on time,’ but really fail to meet their goals.”
2. Value Collaboration
Recent research by Deloitte found that 94% of surveyed companies say that “agility and collaboration are critical to their organization’s success.”
Goddard shared what it was like to help a client implement Workfront, which increases collaboration exponentially.
The business Goddard worked with, a global company with more than 20 brands, was wasting resources “because they didn’t have visibility on key deliverables within their project, and when they would be delayed, they just couldn’t see the impact early enough.”
“What they realized is that their project managers using email and spreadsheets were not able to communicate, plan, or manage any of their projects and work assignments effectively for their teams. Everybody was just chasing the loudest wheel.”
After Workfront was adopted, silos were broken. Collaboration was possible and project managers could make better decisions, keeping projects on track.
O’Neal sees a centralized work management tool as an essential way to give workers invaluable context that they couldn’t gain when information is siloed:
“People can dig into the context and get the information they need and be able to educate themselves on ‘here’s actually what’s happening now with this project or with this report;’ whereas before, you would get a document and it would be completely out of context.”
When people begin to see the perks of having the context they need and being able to find information quickly, the strengths of a collaborative organization—one where great ideas are easily shared and project issues are resolved quickly—will benefit everyone.
3. Customize Communication
Siloed information often comes from a lack of communication, causing frustration, delayed deadlines, and sub-par work. PMI found that “effective communications is associated with a 17% increase in finishing projects within budget.”
Not all teams will need to communicate in the same way and each team member and stakeholder needs access to different kinds of information. A work management solution makes it possible to view data and information in a wide variety of ways, so siloed information and lack of communication aren’t an issue.
“One of the biggest benefits of getting all of your requests and projects and collaboration in one place, as well as the work effort in a single place, is that you can take that data and then build reports or dashboards and monitor it without too much effort because it’s all there.”
This kind of access makes status updates, reporting, decision-making, and planning possible in a way that just isn’t an option when teams are inhibited by a lack of communication and information silos.
A work management solution can effectively help you break down silos on your team, so information is easier to access, collaboration is valued, and communication strengthens your efforts and improves your output.
To see the full webinar that these insights came from, watch "I Can’t See What My Team is Doing! How to Get Total Project Visibility," featuring J. Alan Goddard and Chris O’Neal.
About the Author
Marcus is a content strategist and producer who loves helping brands craft content that improves customers' lives, builds brand credibility, and demands to be shared. For the last 10 years, Marcus has worked in every type of content—from writing to video production to design—and is currently a senior content marketing manager at Workfront, where he oversees all corporate- and awareness-level level content. When he's not producing content, he's consuming it, in the form of books, movies, and podcasts.Follow on Twitter More Content by Marcus Varner