Update 9/15: We’ve just released a brand new workflow management offering featuring a visual workflow designer! Learn more and try it out today!
Picture your workflow as the human circulatory system. It exists to get things from one place to another, day in and day out. There might be obstructions along the way — need to keep that cholesterol down — but with the right diet of tools and techniques, they can be smashed through.
The people in your team are the arteries. They run throughout the body, converging to cooperate in critical places and splitting off elsewhere. And you? You’re the heart of the workflow. You’re where it all starts and you bring it all together.
Now that we’ve got your blood flowing, here’s how you can make your team coordination workflow better.
In this article you’ll discover:
- A definition of the team coordination workflow
- Common friction points of this workflow
- How Unito fixes them
- A seamless team coordination workflow in practice
What is a team coordination workflow?
Let’s take some time to define what we’re discussing. Basically, if you’re managing a team, you’ve been exposed to the team coordination workflow. Whenever a project involves more than one member of your team working together, you’re using this workflow to make sure everyone hits their deadlines.
In a previous post, we defined the workflow in these terms:
A map for getting routine work done in the fastest, most efficient, and most satisfying way possible.
So how does this apply to the team coordination workflow?
Every step of every project you coordinate, like meetings, reports, and deliverables, is part of your workflow. Need to communicate with several members of your team? That’s a step in your workflow. Have to get something from another team? Better slot it into your workflow.
A team coordination workflow can cover day-to-day management tasks as well as managing cross-functional, multi-team projects.
When you’re managing a whole team, your workflow can quickly get convoluted. You’ve probably already figured out some ways to make it more efficient. Maybe you always have a detailed agenda prepared before a meeting, or you’re using a tool like Asana to keep an eye on everyone’s projects instead of requesting frequent reports.
But no matter how efficient you’ve made your workflow already, you’re probably dealing with some friction points; places where your workflow slows to a crawl.
Common friction points of a team coordination workflow
Friction points don’t cause entire projects to collapse. However, they can chip away at your workday, and the general efficiency of your team, until you feel like you’re not getting anything done. That can mean missed deadlines, going over budget, and frustrated team members. Here’s a look at some common friction points.
Meetings and notifications
Your team is definitely working on more than one project right now. No matter how you’re keeping track of everything, you’ve probably run into some limitations. Maybe you have a slew of projects in a project management tool like Trello or Asana to capture your team’s work.
If you want a holistic view of what’s going on, you need to flick through projects, looking through tasks for due dates, comments, blockers, and so on. That, or you rely on meetings to get all of that information. Meetings for individual progress reports, meetings to gauge the health of your team’s projects, meetings to generate ideas…
Then there’s all the emails and Slack messages. How quickly do you get buried under replies?
And what happens when you’re collaborating with other teams? You need to set up meetings to strategize, execute, and even just stay updated. That’s enough to make anyone feel swamped.
Manually updating tools
Project management tools are supposed to make your life easier. But when everything your team’s doing is spread across multiple boards and projects, just keeping up is a hassle. You’re spending hours of your day on busywork to stay up to date.
And what if your team is using more than one tool? Or you’re collaborating with another team that has their own setup? Without some kind of integration, you need to have an eye on both tools. Not only because you need to know what’s happening on both sides, but because you have to keep each tool updated so everyone else is in the know, too.
That was a huge friction point for John Fuller of the University of Oregon. One team used Jira, while another used Asana. He needed to spend hours in each tool, meticulously copying over information until every Jira issue matched up with an Asana task.
That means tons of work, hours of your day lost, and yet another thing on your plate. But you need to do it if you want your team to work efficiently. Working with outdated information means requests fall through the cracks, people get frustrated, and collaboration goes out the window.
Forcing one tool on everyone
If you don’t want to do hours of data entry every week, it’s tempting to force everyone on your team to use the same tool. It makes sense on paper; if everyone’s work is concentrated on one platform, it’s easier to know what’s going on. That means getting more done faster. It makes your workflow smoother, right?
But does everyone on your team want to work in one tool? Probably not. They’ve each got their own favorite way of working, and that means being partial to one platform which might not line up with your vision. Nobody wants to be the person forced to work in someone else’s tool.
And what about when you need to work with other teams? Are they going to jump into your tool whenever they need to work with you? Or are you going to jump into theirs?
How Unito can help
Unito syncs changes across tools and even within the same tool. That means tasks can be replicated from Asana to Jira, the same Trello card can exist on more than one board, and more. How does that help you and your workflow?
Meet when you want to
No one wants to eliminate meetings completely. Some things, like a good brainstorming session, are only possible when you put everyone in one room and get a conversation going. But that doesn’t mean you want to meet every time you need updates from your team. Scheduling, preparing, and running all these meetings can be overwhelming, especially if you’re not a trained project manager.
With Unito, you can have the information you want where and when you want it. Are your team’s tasks spread out across multiple Asana, Jira, or Wrike projects? Create one project to serve as your overview of what everyone else is doing. Sync their tasks to your project, and you’ll see every change and update they make. Keep an eye on blockers, deadlines, and everything else you need to know.
Don’t get overwhelmed by meetings. Cut the ones you don’t need, and only meet up when you want to.
In our case study with the University of Oregon, we revealed how Unito can save you hours of work by integrating Asana with Jira. But no matter which integration you use, Unito’s sync means you’ll never have to manually transfer information between tools.
If you sync an Asana project with a Trello board, creating a task in Asana will create a card in Trello and vice versa. An issue in Jira can be synced with a task in Asana, meaning any update on one side will be replicated on the other. This means everyone can stay in the loop from their own tool.
This is how cross-team collaboration should work; you glance over and get an idea of where the other team is at. Because transferring information between tools manually is just busywork, and the time spent on that could be used to manage your team and their projects. Take back control over your time with the sync.
No one gets a tool forced on them
People are most comfortable with their own tool. If you force them to use someone else’s, you’ll definitely see a drop in the quality of their work as they adjust. Depending on the person, that can be days, weeks, maybe even months. Not only that, but you’ll be dealing with a frustrated team that can’t get access to the information they need as they adapt to the new tool.
With Unito, as long as your team is using one of our integrations — they probably already are — they can stay in their own tool and still collaborate.
This makes your team more cohesive and removes a significant hurdle for collaborating with other teams. Whether you’re bringing in developers from Jira or marketers from Trello, you can hit the ground running.
You also get to avoid doubling up on licenses for tools that have overlap. Without Unito, you might need to get Asana and Jira licenses for everyone. But with the ability to sync between these tools, you can make sure someone’s only working in the tools they absolutely need.
The Unito team coordination workflow in practice
Let’s set up a hypothetical scenario. Say you manage a multi-disciplinary team. You’ve got designers, writers, and developers all working together towards the same goal. Your designers and writers work in Trello, while your developers use Jira. As their manager, you need to keep an eye on everything your team is doing.
Without Unito, your workflow relies on you jumping between tools — and boards — to stay up to date. Whenever you’re managing a cross-functional project, like adding copy to a new product feature, you need to check both Trello boards and Jira projects. Then you’ll need to book meetings just to make sure everyone’s on the same page.
Here’s how simple it is to sync up your overview board with your developers’ Jira project:
- Sign up for Unito, authorizing access to Trello and Jira.
- Select your team’s Trello board and the dev team’s Jira project.
- Adjust rules if you want to filter out certain cards and issues.
- Use the automatic field mapping or customize the mapping to your needs.
- Sync away.
Five steps, and you can see everything your developers are doing in Jira. Any issues they’re working on become cards on your Trello board, and any comments you make will carry over into Jira. Repeat this process for the boards the rest of your team uses and you’ll be able to see everything your team’s up to from one Trello board.
You’ve eliminated the friction points in your team coordination workflow and achieved true collaboration.
Ready to streamline your workflow?
Getting a team to work together and drive forward as one is already challenging. Throw in cross-team collaboration and disparate tools and you’ve got a recipe for blockers. With Unito, you can smash through them and create your dream team coordination workflow.