What is a JSON feed? Learn more

JSON Feed Viewer

Browse through the showcased feeds, or enter a feed URL below.

Now supporting RSS and Atom feeds thanks to Andrew Chilton's feed2json.org service

13 stories for Nozbe's 13th birthday

Permalink - Posted on 2020-02-20 07:10

Ladies and gentlemen, we’re thrilled to present the first episode of the new series by Michael Sliwinski. From now on, the CEO of Nozbe’s going to vlog regularly and share his knowledge and expertise on team productivity, remote work, new technologies, running a team and a business, etc.

In this first episode you will learn about 13 milestones in the Nozbe’s history. In February 2020, we’re celebrating the 13th anniversary of the launch of our app. On this special occasion, Michael recalls the key events and decisions that have shaped the company and the products we offer you. Enjoy!

P.S. If you want Michael to discuss a topic that interests you, please, let him know about it in the comments below. Don’t be shy!


Nozbe updates: dark mode, emailing tasks, GCal and more

Permalink - Posted on 2019-12-09 06:53

As recently announced, we are slowly becoming a two-product company. We’re planning to launch the Open Beta phase of Nozbe Teams very soon, which means we’re currently putting a lot of effort into the new app’s development. However, please bear in mind that we will still support and improve the existing Nozbe app for many years to come. See here what we’ve been working on:

Dark mode on mobile

Last month, we released an update for our mobile apps to support a new Dark Mode on iOS 13 and Android 10. The Nozbe app will automatically switch to dark and light mode based on your system settings on iOS 13 and iPadOS. You can go to Settings → General to activate automatic theme switching.

Dark iOS

On Android 10, we added automatic theme switching in:

Dark Android

Improvements to email flow - Beta

For all of you who forward your emails as tasks to Nozbe, we added links that allow you to quickly open your email app and reply to that forwarded email. Every time you forward an email to yourUsername.pin@nozbe.me to create a task, we automatically:

  • Remove the “FWD:” part from the name of the task, so the name of task is simple and distraction-free.
  • Add a link “Reply to email” that will open your default email client app with pre-filled “To:” and “Subject:” fields. That way, you can quickly communicate with the outside world.
  • Add links “Open in Gmail” and “Open in Mail app” if we detect that mail was sent from one of these apps.

Email forwarding

Please note that this feature is still in its beta phase and works only with the most popular email clients.

Thanks to our Google Calendar integration, you can see your tasks together with your events. Now, you can also jump directly into your Nozbe tasks from GCal thanks to links to tasks in calendar event details.

GCal links

OneDrive for Business

You’ve been asking about this integration, and we are finally able to extend our OneDrive integration to support Business accounts.

One Drive Business

Rafał
Product Manager at Nozbe. When I’m not working I’m shooting mobile photos.


Customer support slowdown - Nov. 18-22, 2019 - Nozbe reunion

Permalink - Posted on 2019-11-18 05:05

Nozbe team is an all remote team. We will soon be meeting in-person for a few days again. In November 2019 our company reunion will take place in Poznan, Poland. As a result, our customer support may slow down at that time. However, we are going to be working hard every day of the gathering to make decisions that will form the future of Nozbe and Nozbe Teams.

Longer response time

Because the whole team takes part in discussing the strategic works during the reunion, the customer support department will have much less time to reply to your queries. We really need everybody’s insight during our discussions. As you know, our team usually responds to messages almost instantly. From November 18 to 22, however, the response time will be longer. We hope you understand! :)

Nozbe Reunion

At Nozbe, we all work from our homes and have no regular office space. Because of that, we meet “for real” twice a year in order to see each other and enjoy the company of the colleagues we only meet virtually throughout the year.

You can check in on how we are doing in Poznan

We will be posting some photos on our social media profiles:

See you soon!


5 Situations Where Sacrificing Productivity Is Worth It

Permalink - Posted on 2019-11-13 05:10

Being more productive is a good thing.

The more productive we are, the more we can achieve at work, home, school and every other facet of life. It’s on this premise that a wide range of productivity tools have emerged. These tools promise to make individuals and organizations more efficient, and many of them actually do what they promise (most of the time.)

Nevertheless, productivity tools aren’t a positive force in every situation.

Interestingly, the sea of productivity tools available today hasn’t necessarily translated to a commensurate rise in productivity when compared to years past when most such technologies didn’t exist. There are numerous situations where productivity tools and productivity goals can have negative, unintended consequences. We look at some of these below.

1. Getting To Inbox Zero

Email is the number one mode of business communication today, with nearly half a trillion emails sent every single day. Work assignments, customer inquiries, product development conversations, and long-term business strategy are just some of the discussions that occur over email. It’s thanks to the importance of email that there are dozens of productivity tools that seek to help users get their count of unread, unanswered or unacted on emails down to zero.

On the face of it, this is a commendable objective. However, email is a business enabler and not an end in itself. You could get so bogged down on managing your email inbox and subsequently fail to devote as much time as is needed on actually getting work done. In that case, getting your inbox down to zero won’t necessarily mean delivering maximum value for the business.

2. Procuring Multiple Productivity Tools

Many productivity tools are designed to tackle just one problem. There are tools focused on cold calling, lead nurturing, accounting, email management, time management, network management, project management and more. Many companies eventually find themselves with dozens of productivity tools even though some of these have overlapping functions.

According to Siftery, Salesforce, Facebook and Apple use a staggering 559, 314 and 287 tools respectively. This may not seem like a big deal since the three examples are highly profitable multi-billion dollar corporations. The overwhelming majority of businesses though don’t have the luxury of enormous warchests so each additional tool is a cost the company could ill afford. For example, you could choose to use a single log tool to track network activity, instead of multiple tracking tools that bog applications down.

There’s also the expense incurred in ensuring the tools are compatible with one another and with business applications. This cost can be substantial. Overall, at some point, the savings realized from implementing dozens of productivity tools will be less than the cost of procuring, maintaining and integrating the said tools.

It also makes a difference which tools you choose. You could realize substantial savings by opting for simple tools, such as a Nozbe app, that can cover multiple facets of your daily work and help you manage time, projects, tasks, to-do’s, and easily communicate and collaborate in a team environment.

3. Multitasking the Right Way

When using a productivity tool, you will often have to switch back and forth between the tool and other business applications multiple times a day. In large organizations that rely on hundreds of tools, the average employee may work with a dozen or more applications per day. Such multitasking between applications may seem impressive as the user is presumably attaining their goals on multiple fronts.

On the contrary, though, studies have shown that multitasking actually diminishes productivity, inhibits orderly action and hampers smart prioritization. Once someone switches to a different application, it takes them several minutes to regain their bearing, adjust their mind and focus on the task at hand. It’s worse when these productivity tools have a mobile app version as the constant alerts will be a distraction.

4. Effective Perfectionism

Productivity tools can help you realize the highest quality and the maximum output from your inputs. This is commendable. Nevertheless, productivity apps can suck you into a vicious cycle of pursuing unachievable perfectionism.

To put this in context, think about productivity apps on our phones, which are powered by some of the largest cloud hosting providers on the planet. Neither cheap web hosts nor cloud computing behemoths like Google, Microsoft and Amazon guarantee their clients 100 percent uptime. It is 99.99999 percent at best.

A recent uptime analysis, published by HostingCanada.org CTO Gary Stevens, found that both average loading speed and average uptime varied wildly among top hosting providers, with speeds of 336 ms to 7502 ms and uptimes of 99.993% on the high end to 97.643% on the low end - a difference of 2.35%. The cheaper the web hosting, the more downtime will be expected. With more downtime, you run the risk of fewer visitors.

Now imagine if these businesses decided to drop everything else they do in order to concentrate their energies on achieving 100 percent uptime. The time and cost needed to attain this perfect goal would far outweigh any benefit accrued from raising reliability by 0.0002 percent).

Similarly, productivity tools that emphasize perfection are counterproductive. The goal of work should first be to finish tasks and not execute them perfectly.

5. Comprehensive To-Do List

Many productivity apps are designed to ensure nothing falls through the cracks. It’s based on the understanding that some tasks may go uncompleted not because the worker doesn’t want to or cannot do them but simply because they forgot about them. To mitigate against this risk of unintentional oversight, the tool may generate an enormous to-do list that the user is expected to execute in entirety for their day’s work to be considered complete.

A huge list of tasks can, however, have the complete opposite effect. No one has limitless time, energy and resources at their disposal. A long to-do list would feel overwhelming and trigger procrastination as the user struggles deciding where they should begin.

Wrapping It Up

So what’s the solution? Businesses and individuals can benefit from not throwing technology at every productivity problem. Often, what you might think is a productivity hurdle that is best resolved via a tool is in fact a structural defect in your systems of work. In this case, a new approach to people management that inculcates a problem-solving mindset and seeks direct solutions to inefficiency is a more sustainable (and cheaper) strategy.

For example, simply cutting down on the number of meetings people attend would give staff more time to actually get work done thus raising productivity. Many office meetings are in fact completely unnecessary. Even when they are needed, meetings are often plagued by numerous inefficiencies including being allocated a needlessly lengthy block of time by default. Cutting meetings is a non-tech solution with substantial productivity pay off.

Technology is a powerful ally. However, it’s crucial that businesses recognize when technology crosses the line and starts to be a burden.

Sam Bocetta
Sam Bocetta is a freelance journalist specializing in U.S. diplomacy and national security, with emphases on technology trends in cyberwarfare, cyberdefense, and cryptography.


9 Time-Tracking Tips to Maintain a Work-Life Balance

Permalink - Posted on 2019-10-31 05:10

Time management seems to be a difficult task for many of us. In this article, we are going to share essential tips to help you track your time properly, plan your day well and maintain a work-life balance.

Studies have shown that tracking your time every day can cause a drop in productivity leaks by 80 percent. Time tracking data suggest that the US economy loses 7.4 billion dollars per workday due to lack of time-tracking mechanism. With some simple time-tracking hacks, you can learn to manage your time properly and live a satisfying life.

Undeniably, time-tracking can boost your productivity.

But how do you track your time the expert way?

Here are the tips to get you started.

1. Limit Distractions

There are things that don’t add value to our life but despite that we usually spend immense amount of time on them.

For instance, checking your email every time is definitely burning daylight. You can set some days in a week when you will look over your emails.

Other things we waste time on is watching videos on YouTube. Just find a way to block these distractions temporarily so that you can concentrate on things that are really valuable to your work and life.

2. Focus on Your Most Essential Goals

According to productivity experts at Top Dissertations, a firm that offers dissertations services, once you focus on your most essential goals, you will stay concentrated on the task you are working on and, as a result, you will be more likely to achieve these desired goals.

You have your to-do list, right?

Identify tasks that are mandatory at that moment leaving those that can be done at a later date. You can even evaluate the time each task must be completed.

The best way to achieve this is to work with a time tracking software. Such tools will allow you to know how much time each task should take. Sometimes we tend to spend too much time working on a project that could have taken a few hours to complete. Once you determine how much time each task should take, you will be able to plan your day properly.

3. Break Down Large Tasks into Small and Manageable Ones

Working on a huge project can result in procrastination. Don’t let procrastination hold your legs. Break down large tasks into smaller ones and work on each one before you take another. This way, you won’t find the work overwhelming.

4. Evaluate the Time You Need on Each Project

A time tracker will do the trick here. Once you have your to-do list, you need to specify how much time you need to complete each task. This way, it will be easier to know which task to handle first and which one should wait for another day.

A good rule of thumb is to prioritize large projects. Remember, you can only say you have achieved a perfect work-life balance when you get in and out of the office at the right time.

When you track your time, you will also know whether you are spending your time productively or you are wasting it.

5. Schedule Time for Yourself

You usually schedule your tasks so that you know how you will tackle one task after another in your to-do list. You also need to schedule a time for yourself in that way.

For example, it can be the time you spend with your family and friends.

Let’s say you will finish working on your tasks at 2 pm, why not make it a habit that you meet friends at 4 pm and spend time with family from there onward.

6. Eliminate Time-Consuming Tasks from Your To-do list

There are tasks in your to-do list that aren’t essential but consumes too much of your time. You should identify these tasks and eliminate them.

Spending time every day working on things that aren’t essential can kill your productivity so do away with them from your to-do list.

Once you have eliminated non-important tasks that are eating up your time, identify those that are crucial and then find out how you can tackle them. You could either automate some of these tasks or ask for help.

7. Concentrate on What You Are Doing at the Moment

Staying focused on the task at hand can clearly boost productivity and maintain a work-life balance. For instance, you are working on a project that should take about 2 hours to complete, but you are doing it much longer due to small distractions. What you should do is set time limits to every task you are currently working on and try to fit in them.

8. Create a Sensible Schedule a Day Before

Do you set your schedule the same day or a day before? Well, if we were to collect responses, we could end up with different opinions here but the trick that works well for most productive people out there is to set a sensible schedule a day before.

Once you set your to-do list the day before, you can wake up knowing what you need to start with and what task should end your day. You will also be able to cross every task you have accomplished thus leaving yourself with a sense of fulfilment.

9. Determine the Time of the Day When You Are Productive

Some people are productive during the day while others work well at night. Knowing what time you work well can help you schedule tasks that require more effort to complete during those hours.

Remember, some tasks require a lot of thinking and others don’t take too much of your mental effort. You should schedule complex tasks in the morning since your mind is still fresh. Answering emails and making calls can be done in the afternoon.

Final Words

Time tracking is essential if you want to work productively and maintain a work-life balance.

But since it’s not easy, many people are still struggling. We hope this article will help you to effectively track your time so that you can become productive in whatever you do. Let us hear how you intend to track your time in the comment section.

Sandra Dufrene
Sandra Dufrene is a freelance writer and an editor at ultius reviews. She has a keen interest in photography and dedicates all her free time to it. Sandra has extensive knowledge in different fields such as marketing, education, and blogging. Do not hesitate to contact her on Twitter.


Nozbe 4 Becomes Nozbe Teams and an Even Better Team Collaboration Tool

Permalink - Posted on 2019-10-17 05:10

You keep asking at what stage are the works on the new collaboration and project management app we’re developing for small and medium-sized teams. Well, there’s been a lot going on and we want to share the Nozbe Teams (aka Nozbe 4) progress report with you right here and right now. Let’s do this:

Nozbe4 -> Nozbe Teams

First: formalities. Nozbe4 was the code name that we used for our brand new product while in development. Now, as we’re approaching the open beta stage and as we have the communication and marketing strategy ready, it’s finally time to give our product a proper name to reflect what it really is:

Nozbe4 has officially become “Nozbe Teams”!

We’re slowly becoming a 2-product company. Nozbe Teams is a completely new app and we want to keep offering current Nozbe in the future so referring to Nozbe Teams as a “new version of Nozbe” was simply incorrect. We hope you like the name and you see how well it describes the inspiration, goals and ideas behind the new app.

Nozbe Teams is all about facilitating the team collaboration and communication.

It’s been designed to help small teams do great things thanks to task-based communication, full stop.

We believe Nozbe Teams will help your team to find the fastest way to DONE.

Figuring out and optimizing the features - Nozbe Teams development

13 people of Nozbe dev department, including designers, testers and programmers, have been constantly working on our new team collaboration app. And believe me, they are not just fixing bugs! They spend most of their time on figuring out the features, analyzing the edge cases and coding, coding, coding… to deliver the best to-do app for teams ever released :)

We’ve been collaborating in Nozbe Teams for several months ourselves and it’s been truly productive! We also have some hard-working beta testers onboard. This way we can improve the UX, the features and the processes instantly and based on the real-life experience of real teams. (Although at this stage we can’t add too many features at once - we’re building an infrastructure for the years ahead after all and need to be really considerate.)

The open beta is planned for the Fall of 2019

We believe we will be able to launch the open beta version of Nozbe Teams this Fall. As we want to grant every willing team access to our app, we need some more time to make it really great.

The open beta version won’t come with all the features that we’re cooking for the official launch, of course, but we want to make sure any small team can collaborate and communicate in Nozbe Teams and already get stuff done faster than ever. Together.

Please note, that during the Open Beta phase some items will still change. We need to make sure that the foundations of the app are stable, so that Nozbe Teams remains fast and intuitive now and in a few years, when we add many more features.

Effective, task-based communication in Nozbe Teams - the open beta key features

If you decide to give Nozbe Teams a try at the open beta stage, these are the features you might find useful.

First of all, you will be able to create a team and invite team members. Each new user will get a chance to get to know the app thanks to the e-mail onboarding series.

Once the team is all set up every member can create open projects and populate them with tasks. You will also see some features to manage and organize your projects and tasks nicely: Tags, Project sections and the possibility to Follow and mark projects or people as Favorite.

Your workflow and task prioritization will be simplified thanks to the three core views: Activity, Incoming and Priority.

Nozbe Teams is designed to make the task-based communication easy. We want to enable teams from all over the world to work and communicate with tasks better than ever before.

Team productivity system instead of emails

Even though Nozbe Teams will be still in the open beta phase, you will already be able to establish a functional productivity system for your team. With projects, tasks and comments in place we guarantee that the effective team communication and collaboration will be fruitful… and so much more efficient than emails and pointless meetings.

To put it simply: Nozbe Teams is a to-do app for teams that takes the best from email and chat apps and makes it all actionable and organized. We believe Nozbe Teams is the future of team productivity.

Magda
A part of Nozbe marketing team.


How Nozbe will increase your team's productivity

Permalink - Posted on 2019-10-02 05:10

When working in a team, your productivity is affected by the decisions and habits of the other members. Even if you are all uber-efficient and always stick to deadlines, the team as a whole might struggle to communicate and deliver things on time. If you and your teammates/employees find it hard to get things done together, read on and see how Nozbe can help you out.

1. Structure your workflow

One of the main problems in team collaboration is the lack of a shared system. Having a shared system allows everyone on the team to be on the same page and to know what to do and what other people are working on. In Nozbe, we’ve established one such system - it goes like this:

  • Anything that needs to be done by your team is a project.
  • Every project is divided into doable tasks.
  • Every task has a person who is responsible for it.
  • Every task should have a deadline (that is set up in a pessimistic manner to avoid possible stress and delay).
  • All documents and files related to a task are attached to it.
  • To ensure order and data security, use a reliable tool - like Nozbe!

Tip: If you give Nozbe a chance, you will have all your team projects in one trusted system accessible from all devices. Your data will be safe and your team communication transparent.

2. Ditch email as a vehicle for internal communication

Email is bad for you and your team; we already receive too many emails about stuff we don’t care about in the moment, and on top of that, our emails can get all mixed up with other correspondence from the outside world and spam accounts.

To solve this problem, we designed a new way to communicate: we use email for the outside world and Nozbe for “internal communication.”

By sharing projects and tasks, we have more transparency. People see what’s happening in each project and who’s responsible for what. All is clear. We totally avoid all these issues of somebody not copying someone on something or forgetting to CC a teammate.

Tip: If an email is actionable, you can always send it to Nozbe and treat it as a task.

3. Collaborate effectively - through tasks

Instead of sending emails, organizing too many meetings and wasting time, just work in projects in Nozbe.

When you share a project with your teammates, you can create a task and delegate it to the person who can do it best. By delegating a task to someone, you can be sure they will see it and get on with it whenever they are ready.

You can make sure timelines are met by assigning deadlines to all time-sensitive tasks and by using notifications in Nozbe (desktop, push and email). These can make the whole system more reliable and interactive - you can be notified when someone delegates a task to you or when the deadline comes.

To be sure that all relevant information is at hand and everything has context, you can provide all the necessary details and reference material in the comments section. This way everything that relates to a specific task or project is available for the whole team in one place.

Tip: Even if the task is completed, you can still search for it and access it any time.

4. Try asynchronous communication to save time and keep focus

Working in projects and tasks enables your team to communicate asynchronously. Your team can communicate in a way that respects other people’s time and focus, letting them do more in less time.

This communication model is great because:

  • It lets your team work in blocks of uninterrupted focus time.
  • You have a record of what’s been said and shared, while synchronous communication often doesn’t get registered.
  • It gives people a chance to think before responding (immediate answers aren’t always your best ones).
  • You can communicate with members in multiple time zones.

Tip: When you assign a task to a teammate in Nozbe, you can be sure they will notice it and deal with the job when they see fit. This means you won’t disturb anyone who might be in a good workflow while focusing on a difficult task. And while waiting for the response, you can take care of another task from your list. You see… I feel not everything is as urgent as we think it is.

5. Stick to deadlines and keep your team organized

Having a structured workflow optimizes your team’s organization, especially when it advises the team how to proceed with their jobs and records all the projects, tasks, discussion and materials in one place. There is little space for misunderstandings, lost files or unclear responsibility. People are in sync - in sync with what they want to do, what they need to get done and how they should go about to doing it.

As everyone has their own tasks and responsibilities (all beautifully listed in Nozbe), you can focus on your job and communicate with others only when someone needs to give or ask for feedback. Deadlines are clear, set up in Nozbe and “guarded” by notifications.

Tasks are simple, specific, well-listed and described in appropriate projects. Everyone knows what needs to be done and when, so interruptions are rare.

Tip: To make your team even more organized, you should all run regular reviews - Nozbe is a great tool for that too.

With Nozbe, your team will communicate in an efficient and transparent way and simply work better. You will save time and do more great things in order to drive your business towards success.

Magda
A part of Nozbe marketing team.


Task-Based Communication: What It Is and How to Do It Right

Permalink - Posted on 2019-10-02 05:10

We’ve built Nozbe Teams app to help teams to get to DONE faster by implementing what we call “task-based communication”. Now you might be asking - what is task-based communication and how is it different from the collaboration and communication methods you know? Read on to find out.

Revolution in team projects management and information flow

Teams in international corporations, NGOs, public institutions and small companies or startups all use quite the same collaboration tools. To exchange information, discuss things and manage projects they go for emails, chats and face to face meetings or calls. These means have proven quite disruptive and counterproductive in many cases.

Task-based communication is our alternative to traditional team work and project management methods. It’s an easy way to push projects forward and collaborate in a team efficiently.

What is task-based communication exactly?

Task-based communication introduces a simple structure: Projects->Tasks->Comments->DONE. Basically, you group all your team goals in projects. Then you specify tasks for each of these projects and thanks to rich comments you gather all the data and feedback necessary to get stuff done. You exchange information, feedback and opinions within tasks. You ask questions and get solutions right in tasks. You manage responsibilities within tasks. And then these tasks get done. It’s all structured, easy to follow and very actionable.

Instead of:

  • writing emails,
  • adding people on CC and BCC,
  • getting lost in long threads displayed differently in various email clients
  • …or being disturbed by phone calls,

the task-based communication guarantees you have everything organized in one place. Safe, searchable and accessible from anywhere.

Instead of:

  • wasting time,
  • meeting,
  • and discussing things “live”,

task-based communication allows you to run a structured discussion, giving everyone a chance to reflect and write their contribution down.

Why task-based communication is so powerful

Here at Nozbe, we’ve been working and communicating this way for years. See why we think this method is so much better than traditional ones that are used in the vast majority of organizations.

  1. It’s structured - By commenting on each task we are more efficient - we focus on what needs to be done right there (unlike chats in Slack or long Emails).

  2. It’s clear - Thanks to precise task parameters we know who’s responsible for the task, which project it belongs to and when it’s due.

  3. It’s quick - Comments are easy to enter so ironing out the details is simple and we can really make sure we know what needs to be done.

  4. It’s versatile - We use formatting, checklists, files, etc. in comments so we’ve got all the info we need to get a task done.

  5. It’s playful - With reactions (and gifs) work is more fun, but we still add value to the conversation about the task.

  6. It’s productive - Task comments help make execution effortless so the team members check off the tasks faster than ever and achieve goals together.

  7. It’s organized - No chaos of managing different messaging or documenting platforms, everything is there in the comment thread of a task.

  8. It’s mobile - Thanks to apps for all the major platforms, we stay on top of tasks and communicate with the team to add value from anywhere.

  9. It’s discreet - Avoid unwanted notifications if you want to stay focused. Of course, you can manage all types of notifications in the settings.

  10. It’s accessible - All the people involved have access to the appropriate information. No need to CC anybody.

  11. It’s asynchronous - Everyone can work on their tasks at a convenient time and not be distracted in the meantime.

Would you like to try the task-based communication? It couldn’t be easier:

  • Register at Nozbe Teams and create your team account.
  • Invite the people you want to work with.
  • Put everything your team does in projects in Nozbe Teams.
  • List everything that needs to be done to push things forward as tasks in the projects.
  • Delegate tasks and add deadlines to make sure everyone knows what to do and when to deliver their work.

Nozbe Teams comes with many more features that make the communication bias-free and the collaboration - effective.

We want to spread the word about the task-based communication and teach teams leaders to introduce this concept within their group of people. We want small teams to do great things by implementing effective task-based communication. Not by emailing each other, chatting or wasting time in meetings.

Magda
A part of Nozbe marketing team.


How Law Firms Can Benefit From Project Management Software

Permalink - Posted on 2019-09-25 05:10

Project management might be traditionally considered the backbone of construction firms, architectural firms, advertising and graphic design agencies – those with an obvious client ‘project’ to manage, though it is also now making it entry into the professional services arena, assisting teams to keep track of client commitments, regulate competing priorities, and overall enable better communication between staff, better client service and delivering efficiencies that make a positive contribution to the bottom line.

Lawyers often need to perform the role of project manager or play a part in a project team. And all legal matters, regardless of the practice area, can be considered ‘projects’ in that they tend to have a definite start and end date, and they involve creating something “new”.

While lawyers tend to focus on the word ‘process’ for dealing with a client’s particular legal issue, when implementing project management, it is relatively simple to interchange the word ‘process’ with ‘project’. But successful implementation doesn’t end there.

The strong business case for Project Management in law firms

In the legal profession, project management is the process of defining the parameters of a matter upfront, planning the course of the matter at the outset with the facts you have at the time, managing the matter, and, at the end, evaluating how the matter was handled (from both the firm or law department perspective and the client perspective).

Client and fee pressures are driving the need for a more proactive, disciplined, or systematic way of managing clients’ cases.

Constant changes to manage

Ultimately, there are many aspects of a case that can change from the initial client meeting, through to a court hearing and resolution. Good project management documents all changes to scope at every step, ensuring there is less risk of fee-blowout and write-offs, because impacts can be identified and managed earlier in the process, rather than in hindsight.

Improved communication

Secondly, the benefit is that project management helps teams to communicate better with clients, assisting in their understanding of how things change, why, the likely impact of changes, and potentially, the change to fees as a result. Project management facilitates avenues for discussions about outcome expectations.

Successful project management starts with ensuring that lawyers understand the client’s expectations, objectives, and success factors for the legal matter. Specifically, this can mean a desire to win at all costs, or settle with minimum fuss and distraction. A team collaboration tool like Nozbe can easily improve both internal and external communication.

Planning

Then, the next step, based on the client’s objective is to developed a detailed outline or scope of the work involved, including key deliverables, milestones, assumptions, and at least a high-level budget.

Once the work actually begins, the next steps involve developing a project or work plan for the matter, including resources and staffing the steps (phases, tasks, and activities), communication protocol, risk analysis, and change plan.

With all of this actually considered up front, it is ultimately easier to manage the matter to meet the budget and the client’s expectations, dealing with changes along the way, and finally, evaluating or reviewing the matter at the end. What worked well and what could be improved next time?

While this is exceptionally detailed and not all matters will include this level of information, but including even a few key items will go a long way toward enhancing client relationships and reducing write-offs. A good piece of project management software will help keep all the procedures, information and documents up to date, safe and available from anywhare.

The benefits of project management

Studies show that project management shows many benefits for clients, including fewer surprises, more matters on time and on budget, better communication between the law firm and the client, better teamwork, greater efficiency, and reduced legal spend.

Improvements for the law firm are considerable too – not the least of which is more accurate forecasting of fees which we have already discussed. Project management can be invaluable to those firms which are embracing flexible working hours with team members not always ‘in-house’ but working from home, or only part-time.

Like anything new, successful adaptation and implementation takes and investment in training, patience and time. But for those firms which embrace it, the rewards are significant.

Sonia Hickey
Sonia Hickey is a freelance writer, magazine journalist and owner of ‘Woman with Words’. She has a strong interest in social justice, and is a member of the Sydney Criminal Lawyers® content team.


4 Keys to Successful Strategic Planning With Your Team

Permalink - Posted on 2019-09-04 05:10

For your company or organization to succeed, you must make an actionable plan. And for a strategic plan to be successful, the process that goes into creating it must be effective.

In this article, you will learn the 4 keys to successful strategic planning with your team members.

What is Strategic Planning?

According to Simon Charles, a marketing specialist at Brill Assignment, strategic planning is an activity where organizations, through their management departments set priorities, dedicate energy and resources, enhance operations, and ensure organization’s employees and other shareholders are working to achieve the same goals.

It is a process that produces essential decisions and actions that shape and guide the organization, the people it serves, day-to-day operations of the organization with the aim of achieving certain goals.

In short, strategic planning helps the organization or company to know where it is headed to over a set period and how it can get there.

What is a Strategic Plan?

In his article about ways to buy essays, Andrew Michael terms a strategic plan as a document that entails the organization’s goals, what is needed to achieve those goals and all the important elements included during the creation of the strategic plan.

That means an organization or company without a strategic plan is the same as a driver driving on a new road without a map. And you know how fast driving on a new road without a map can get you lost. The same way, an organization will face challenges that it is not equipped with the knowledge on how to navigate them.

The best favor an organization can do to its self, especially if there is uncertainty ahead, is to have a strategic plan.

What a Strategic Plan Entails

Basically, a strategic plan gives a rough idea of where your organization is heading to, so that your team can work on reaching there. It shows what you are, what you do, and why it does it, with the aim of improving your future potential.

An effective strategic plan includes:

  • An executive summary - This is written last after creating the strategic plan
  • A brief description of the company or organization
  • The company’s mission and vision statements
  • SWOT analysis - Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats
  • A description of the company’s strategies and techniques
  • An action plan
  • Company’s estimated expenditure and operating plans
  • Effective methods of monitoring and evaluating

For a small business, a brief strategic plan is just enough. But for a bigger company, a more detailed strategic plan is more effective.

Note that a strategic plan, although it contains elements included in a business plan, you should not confuse a strategic plan with a business plan.

A business plan is more detailed and contains a strategic plan, a marketing plan, a financial plan, and an operational plan.

A business plan will cover everything from what your business does and the value it commands in the market. A strategic plan, on the other hand, outlines the company’s action plan.

Who is Responsible for the Creation of a Strategic Plan?

Usually, the creation of a strategic plan involves a team of key players in the company. Being the owner of the company, you are the head of the strategic plan. Your team will then contribute towards the creation.

When Should You Create a Strategic Plan?

This depends on the nature and needs of your company. For instance, if there is uncertainty in the future then it’s the best time to schedule a strategic planning process.

Usually, the best time to create a strategic plan is:

  • When starting your company
  • When preparing to launch a new product
  • In times of a change in markets
  • When there are changes in laws, regulations or business practices

The Benefits of a Strategic Plan

Having an effective strategic plan will benefit you in the following ways.

  • SWOT analysis
  • Preparation and defining your scope of activities
  • Determination of the strategies and tactics to take to achieve company goals
  • Implementation of the formulated strategies
  • Helps employees work towards common goals
  • Assess how far your business has gone
  • Boosts productivity

That said, here are 4 keys to successful strategic planning with your team.

1. Engagement

Every member of the team responsible for the strategic planning process must be engaged to make it successful. The team can be key players within the company whose main purpose is to work in pursuit of common goals of the team.

In the strategic planning process, every team member is given a chance to bring something to the table.

A team with fewer members can lose efficiency. All the team members must work together in harmony, think together, and plan together. Every team member is required to contribute ideas throughout the strategic planning process.

2. Accountability

Being accountable is important in the strategic planning process. It’s not just about identifying what each employee or member of the team does to make the strategic planning process successful. Accountability involves all the members of the team.

Every team member is required to think carefully on how to make the process successful to enable the company to achieve its goals. During the process of creating the strategic plan, team members are keen about the success of the plan and what they can do to improve its success.

3. Communication

Since the input of every member of the strategic planning process is valuable, there must be effective communication else, there will be a problem. Communication lines need to be left open for every team member. Well, of course, your team could comprise of individuals who are not on the same level but they all have to bring something to the table. Everyone should be treated equally regardless of what position one takes in the company. No one should be barred from sharing his or her own ideas.

If your team involves senior managers and employees, bottom up and top down communication lines should be open. This means that employees’ contributions should also be considered. This enables those at the bottom of the company to provide shocking revelations that show how senior managers have contributed to the failure of strategic plans.

4. Innovation

Usually, companies create strategic plans either when launching a new product, during restricting the company or a department within the company. To ensure a successful strategic planning process, there must be innovation.

Grademiners argue that innovativeness should not only be left to the team creating the strategic plan but it should be for all the employees of the company.

Final Thoughts

To create a successful strategic plan, each team member in the company must be engaged and communication lines should be open among all participants, and teams should be accountable and innovative.

Michel Gorman
Michael Gorman is a highly talented and experienced college paper writer who lives and works in UK. His current and full-time job position is an expert writer at the best essay writing service uk. In his spare time, Michael contributes the best essays to various websites and blogs, and is also very active on Facebook and Twitter.