It’s important for businesses to re-evaluate their processes and tweak them when necessary. As we enter into our fourth year, I was finding myself frustrated with our internal communication and follow-through on tasks, so I decided to take matters into my own hands and help our Hermits’ Rest Enterprises team and the other operations going on at our Cameron office become more transparent, so we’d all know what we are supposed to be doing and when.
Mandi, Lee, and Kathleen all seemed willing to try some new ideas that will make our teamwork more like dreamwork. Great. Then I had to find tools.
Finding project management and tracking tools is especially frustrating for me, because during the work-week, my job is to lead a team that makes training and help materials for a software company that just happens to specialize in such things, ranging from kanban boards to ideation, from lean and agile teams to traditional project management, from small businesses to large enterprises, and um, yeah. I use those every day. But, we have fewer than ten employees, and can’t afford to buy these fine products. We do have access to RealeFlow, a product by FortuneBuilders, but we use it mainly to track our renovation projects.
So, I went looking. I was surprised, and pleased, to find a simple project management tool hiding in my Microsoft® Office 365 subscription, with an easy interface and most of the things I needed. Plus, it has an invoicing component that will make Mandi’s life much easier. The great thing is that I already own this stuff!
So, for the past week or so, I’ve been working on getting a shared calendar together, then showing Lee and Mandi how to use it. They expressed varying degrees of enthusiasm, since Lee doesn’t like Office 365 other than Excel, but later in the week both he and Mandi said that knowing who is supposed to be doing what is very helpful. We are all more chipper, and we just started!
We now have meetings twice a week to ensure that all the things are getting done or get help on tasks that are languishing for one reason or another. (These are in addition to our daily calls with Russell and Carol for our Austin-based work.)
None of this is rocket science; in fact it’s project management (ha ha). But it took realizing that our processes weren’t working to improve them. We now will also be periodically revising processes, and recording what they are, in case someone has to do someone else’s job (a thing that had been started a couple of times but not completed). All these ideas will help as we move forward with the home health business and the event venue, too.
You Can Do It!
Are you frustrated by how hard it is to get things done in your business? Your family? Your nonprofit? Take a break to figure out where things are going wrong and find some tools that can help you. You may well end up saving your time, money, and sanity.
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