Do you’ll need a fantastic tool to far better manage your team, timelines, deadlines, relevant project’s information for you and for your clients? Here’s how Google Calendar can assist you to out.
Produce a calendar for each project – To preserve client privacy I temporarily changed the title of every single calendar you see in this first screenshot. The syntax though remains the identical ‘year’ (10=2010, 09=2009, etc.) and then the ‘name of the project’. Utilizing a proper syntax assists you to keep your calendar in order and makes them easier to browse/search.
Sharing – Share the calendar with the members of your team involved inside the project. You are able to even share calendars with clients if they express the need to monitor the stream of activities and project deadlines. I’ve been in this situation a couple of times.
Timeline – By placing the tasks you’ll automatically turn every single calendar into a detailed project’s timeline. I particularly discovered the ‘agenda’ view valuable as it gives a clear overview of the upcoming deadlines you set.
Manage client access – Like I said above when I was talking about ‘sharing’ sometimes you can plan to give (or the clients need to have) access to the calendar/timeline. A dilemma I faced is that in complex projects you might want to develop two versions of the calendar. One for the team with the technical details they need/want to edit throughout the project development, and a second one for the client with all its relevant data (periodic results, deadlines, key information, meetings, etc.). On bigger projects you’ll be able to produce dedicated calendars for several teams, too.
Issue solving – With every project comes an excellent number of troubles, roadblocks or problems. Typically these problems are spotted by members of the team even though they’re taking care of their tasks. What can be done? The member of the team that’s facing the issue writes it within the calendar as an ‘all day’ entry adding his/her name next to it. Other members of the team that can/know how you can solve the issue take care of it or write on the entry guidelines on how you can solve it. Once the problem is solved the entry will probably be marked as FIXED. If at the end of the day the problem is still not fixed, it could be moved (click & drag) to the next day or to a different date. I know that at 1st this may possibly not sound easy or natural, but I can guarantee you that when you get into it it will assist you to in working faster and far better with your team. It’s an open on-going problem solving channel. Of course, the internal organization of how and who takes care of solving difficulties can change from company to company and team to team. It is possible to really take this to the next level by enabling your team to add the ‘mobile’ component to it (check the links I shared at the end of this post to learn the way to sync these capabilities with your iPhone).
(again, to preserve client privacy I temporarily changed the date and subjects of these entries)
Hashtags – I mentioned the use of hashtags for internal information management in a couple of other posts but I’ll bring it back in this 1, too. Google calendar is searchable (I’ll never get tired of reminding you about it). This is fundamental because it turns our calendar into a database. Utilizing hashtags in our calendar’s entries helps us in searching and tracking specific items over time. Use a unique hashtag for every project you work on. The tags are the exact same I use with my team in tweets and shared content (photos, video, etc.). Result? Whenever I search for a hashtag I’ll get a complete list of the performed tasks with relative date and time. Here’s where things get interesting, go on reading the next point?-
Export information (PDF) – Every single calendar, search results or specific layouts (day, week, month, 4 days, agenda) are printable and therefore exportable in PDF format. This is really handy when you need a summary of the work you’ve carried out (you’ll be able to get it by searching for a specific hashtag related to a project) or for the list of future tasks of your project (printing/PDF the ‘agenda’ layout is what works at best for me). Believe it or not there might still be occasions in which people will ask you for a PDF version of the information. It happened to me with external teams and clients (especially government and public organizations, they typically still need to have something to print out on paper. Well yes they could access it online but?- you go and figure that out).
What makes Google Calendar a fantastic tool is its simplicity. I’m sure there are many other ways it might be used to aid with project management. In this post I shared my ideas & suggestions, what about yours?