Photo credit: Nicole_N at stock.xchng (link)
One of the biggest challenges in scaling an organization is how to keep everyone in the loop and connected. In a highly mobile, decentralized work culture, people can still remain connected when information is passed swiftly and efficiently. As one person said: Information keeps the team "in formation".
There are tools that will aid you in managing that tension.
The breakdown in any organization will be the level of communication that workers can attain. Believe me when I say it, the level of communication that your staff presently embraces is not enough to get to the next level. Without learning new skills, without adapting to the needs to communicate with others, the Facebook style of spot reporting events will simply not be enough. At the end of the day, lurkers will not get the organization to the next level. Requiring everyone to attend frequent meetings will cause mutiny.
There appears to be a regular pattern of mistrust among team members when there is a lack of communication flow. Relationships change for the worse, not only when we create havoc, but when we become disconnected.
Project management need not necessarily be the weak link in the team. There are tools that aid and assist the growth pains. This graphics are an overview of the way I have setup Dropbox, Evernote and Informant Pro.
Syncing working documents that become available to others is simply brilliant in concept. A couple of ways that I implement this resource:
Notebooks: I split up my notebooks via category. Not only will things be alphabetized, you can prioritize notebook groupings by implementing alphanumeric characters. Naming a notebook @zebra will be placed at the top of the list, even if the next Notebook is 'apple'. The way Evernote categorizes facilitates prioritizing groupings.
Sharing notebooks: You can invite people to a notebook and all have access to that document. The upside is that everyone has access to the latest document without the need for additional software. Downside: Format-driven materials will need to be reformatted for general consumption. There will be times that a work-in-progress will need to be put into a final form to meet the criteria of corporate identity.
GTD System: Using an alphanumeric code when naming notebooks allows you to incorporate the Getting Things Done concept into the work flow of Evernote. This is helpful.
Just as a note: I use the Evernote free, not the Premium edition.
Informant Pro (iPad App) - weblink - $14.99
I am a believer in the Getting Things Done (GTD) system. Documentation of tasks ends up as stress relief. Stress is caused for me when I am attempting to carry everything in my mind. Taking those issues out of the memory bank, yet being assured that they will be remembered is incredibly helpful.
Events and Tasks are two separate tabs in this application. This is extremely helpful to have both accessible in the same software. Reoccurring tasks are setup and then automatically give you a helpful reminder. A number of tasks that I have setup:
- Insurance renewal dates
- BBFI report forms
- Prayer letter creation
- Credit Card billing
Those are dates that I do not want to miss, so they are setup as reoccuring tasks with date reminders.
Another cool feature is that the calendars are synced with Google Calendar. The reason that I have completely switched to electronic calendars is that four people need access to my dates: Wife, Personal Assistant, Secretary and Executive Pastor. Certain people have authorization to setup counseling appointments for me. Whenever anything is booked, all people know of the changes. It is simply another communication tool that keeps people in the loop.
By the way, I have multiple calendars on Google. Some things are private reminders, some need to be announced to the staff. Set up multiple calendars and the events that are for "your eyes only" will be kept separate.
Once in Informant Pro, you can assign which calendars are shown on your event list.
Guest speakers are also assigned Google Calendars - which the secretary / Personal Assistant oversee. Dinner invitations, staff meetings, additional bookings are then available for the entire staff to see at any given time.
Downside: At this time, Informant Pro does not have a PC platform application. Some of us have not completely gone over to the Apple darkside. I am limited on working on my calendar on my iPad. That works for me in that I am highly mobile. Whenever I am at my desk, the dates are available on my Outlook since it is synced via Google Calendar. It just means that I have multiple software applications to get the job done.
Certain files are not really conducive for Evernote - Graphic files, Video files, anything larger or non-document in style go into a shared dropbox. Uploading for the entire team allows us to stay abreast of the latest revisions. This is helpful for decentralized home studies, graphic teams - where outsourcing might be an option, worship teams - where a mp3 file will allow members to practice the piece in advance, etc.
Logos - Corporate identity for the organization can be assured via Logo guidelines and assorted sizes.
Like Forrest Gump would say: That is all I know about that.