How to Optimize Team Coordination Workflows With Unito

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!

Keeping teams aligned is its own full-time job. Unfortunately, the people responsible for this typically have a pile of other tasks to take care of. From running in and out of meetings to keeping stakeholders, investors, and the CEO informed, team leads and executives have a lot on their plate. To keep teams aligned, these leaders need to build a team coordination workflow. Everything that needs to happen to keep teams working efficiently is part of this workflow, like arranging meetings, reaching out to collaborators, and finalizing a strategy deck. For this workflow to be effective, these leads and executives need access to the right information at the right time.

With Unito, leaders at every level can get an overview of what their team is up to from a single project, no matter how many projects and tools the team is working in. Here’s what that looks like in Asana.

Team coordination for team leads

A team lead will often head a team of people with different skill sets. A team of salespeople will have some specializing in outreach, others on inbound requests, and account executives. A product team will have front-end developers, back-end developers, and product managers. And a website team? Well, let’s take a look.

The workflow without Unito

A website team has a nice mix of multi-disciplinary folk. You’ll have developers who are responsible for the website’s back end, designers taking care of the visuals, and copywriters. Whenever a project — say a new landing page — needs to get done, it has to pass through all of these people and not necessarily in a linear fashion.

Managing this team requires a lot of organization and oversight. The team lead has to be aware of what everyone is up to, make sure that everyone’s hitting their deadlines, and always keep projects flowing smoothly.

That may mean regular emails and Slack messages, daily stand-ups, and the occasional status report. It probably means too many meetings. The team lead may be using a tool like Asana to keep track of each project and everyone’s contributions, but the rest of the team might be working across multiple projects or even multiple tools. Developers love using Jira, for example, while designers might prefer the Kanban view of Trello.

Tasks might get lost in this sea of projects, and team leads are left trying to copy and paste updates between tools to keep track, which eats up valuable time from their own tasks. At the team lead level, a team coordination workflow that just works means saved time for the lead, and better communication across everyone in the team.

And when projects inevitably ping pong between team members because of feedback? Nothing gets lost in translation, and everyone’s up to date on deadlines and comments.

Where Unito comes in

Unito’s two-way sync gets work management tools to play nice. That means information from multiple projects can get consolidated into a single project within a single tool. Say the copywriters have multiple projects because they’re expected to work with different teams on copywriting requests — like a help center, a new app, or an infographic. A team lead has to have an eye on each one of these projects in order to have an idea of what their copywriters are up to and what their workload is. Without Unito, that means flipping through Asana projects — and who knows how many of them there are — to keep track of even more tasks. Otherwise, the team lead has to consistently meet with the copywriters and block off a ton of time to get to the same goal. With a multi-sync, the team lead can congregate all of the team’s tasks to a single project, so everything their copywriters are up to shows up in one centralized place.

The same thing can happen across tools. If the team lead’s developers are working in Jira, Unito can sync Jira issues to an Asana project as tasks. That way, the team lead can see all — or just some, with the right filter — of the issues their team is responsible for without leaving Asana.

Put the two together, and a team lead can easily get a bird’s-eye view of what their team is up to, and more effectively communicate with them throughout any project.

How to set up a team coordination project in Asana

Here’s what a team coordination workflow looks like for a team lead when it’s enhanced by Unito. We’re going to use this scenario; our team lead heads a squad of four developers. These developers don’t often all work on the same project, but they usually collaborate with developers from other teams — and the occasional freelancer — on multiple projects. A label is applied to each issue our squad works with. The squad’s name?

Our team lead’s goal is to have all their squad’s work in one place, along with their own work. They’ve set up an Asana project called team lead coordination to do this. It’s set up in five sections: team tasks, work due today, overdue work, major project alpha, and my work. Here’s what this project looks like before populating it with tasks from other projects.

Because the developers in the Saruman squad are all working from Jira, our team lead can set up a multi-sync with Unito to carry over tasks from each Jira project to the team project in Asana. This will consolidate tasks from multiple Jira projects into Asana in just a few clicks. Because our team lead still wants to know which project a specific task belongs to, they set up tags in Asana for each of the three Jira projects their team is involved with. Then, when setting up their multi-sync, they can assign each tag to its respective project. That means tasks coming from the Bug Fixing project, for example, will automatically be marked with the Bug Fixing tag.

Another Unito feature that’s crucial for this workflow is the filter. Because our team lead only wants to sync tasks that the Saruman squad is responsible for, they need to set up a filter for this, so only tasks with the Saruman label will be synced.

That’s because Unito’s sync is two-way by default. This means any information added to a task in one tool is automatically synced with the associated task in a synced project. This is what gives our team lead the ability to add a comment on a task from Asana and have it appear in the same issue in Jira. Here’s what the team lead coordination project looks like once everything is done syncing.

Now, in a perfect world I’d have multiple users in my demo projects to assign to each task and issue rather than my own ugly mug. But rest assured that, because assignees are synced across tools, our team lead would be able to see who each task is assigned to without any manual work. In fact, you’ll notice that the bugs assigned to me in the Jira project were automatically assigned to me in the Asana project.

From this project, our team lead can quickly get a read of their team’s workload just by looking at this project instead of flicking through projects or — gasp — having to go into Jira. Labels have been automatically assigned to each synced task, matching them up with the Jira project they’re from — orange for bugs, blue for website development, and purple for new app features. They can even check the health of a big team project — like revamping a dashboard — by giving it a section in this project.

And because everything from comments to attachments and due dates are synced, team leads can interact with a task directly from their team coordination project and still have full access to any information they need.

An executive overview workflow

Being an executive is something of a double-edged sword. You have immense power to affect the decision-making process within a company. However, the information you’re relying on as you’re making those decisions is warbled and changed by the layers it has to cross in order to reach you.

The workflow without Unito

Pick an executive in your organization and look at their calendar. How much uninterrupted time do they have in a day? An executive’s schedule is packed with meetings, to the point that a single meeting running late by a few minutes has a cascading effect on the rest of their day.

But the meeting is the best way for an executive to get the updates they need to do their job. They can’t always just send an email; their inbox is already flooded as it is. And Slack? It’s just as bad. So they set up round tables with department heads and team leads in order to get the high-level information they need. After that, they usually need to meet with the CEO and the board so they can pass the information along, as well as whatever initiatives they’ve decided to cook up.

Beyond this, executives are usually the champions of the biggest, department-wide strategies and initiatives. Being the figurehead of such a huge, unwieldy project depends on accurate information, proper strategy, and alignment. Just like in war, executives need the right intelligence at the right time. And it had better be accurate.

Where Unito comes in

Imagine a CEO setting up a project in Asana to track initiatives happening across their company. This project can be simple enough, with columns labeled Started, Halfway, Wrapping Up, and Complete. Without Unito, every single initiative would need to be added and tracked manually.

This kind of project can only exist with Unito. Because the sync works across tools, it doesn’t matter what platform the teams use. Lead Developers can send Jira issues and Epics towards an Asana project, the Head of Marketing can throw initiatives from Trello into it, and even GitHub repo requests can be added to it. That makes one single Asana project the centralized place to overview the different initiatives that make up a single strategy. Instead of worrying about where all the information is, an executive can spend more time working on the strategy and getting buy-in where necessary.

How to set up an executive overview workflow in Asana

Here’s how you can set up a single Asana project to get an overview of everything your department is up to. I’ve created a simple Asana project to serve as an executive overview, with columns going from planned initiatives all the way to done. The goal is to populate these columns with tasks representing initiatives from other teams, which will move through the project as they are worked on.

For this example, I’ve set up a board on Trello for a marketing team, populated with different initiatives.

When you start setting up a sync between this board and the Asana project, all you need to do is connect your tools, select the right projects, and sync away!

But for this use case, I want to show you how you can use some of Unito’s features to get the most of this executive board, starting with filters. Say you don’t want every single task on this marketing board to show up in the executive overview. With filters, you can selectively sync cards, so only high-level initiatives end up on the executive overview board. This can be done by applying a “High-level” label to the cards in Trello that you need synced, and then selecting the “Only sync cards with any of the following labels” option and choosing the “High-level” label.

Another feature we can use for the executive overview board is tinkering with the sync’s mapping settings. By default, a sync will try to find lists and columns with matching names and map them to each other, so that cards in a “To Do” list end up in a “To Do” column. But in this case, the names of the columns don’t match up.

There are plenty of reasons why that could be the case. For a marketing team, it’s important to know when an initiative is with designers versus when it’s with copywriters. But to an executive, both of those scenarios just mean the initiative is past the starting point, and not quite wrapping up. Furthermore, a marketing initiative may be completed when all the assets are done and everyone’s agreed on the strategy. But to an executive, it might only be done when it’s published. By using Unito’s mapping features, we can make sure all our Trello cards end up in the right list.

And once our mapping is properly set up, we can finish our sync and look at the result.

Our executive overview project is automatically populated with initiatives from the marketing team. Note that only the cards given the blue “High-level” label show up here, and they end up in the appropriate list in Asana. Everything that’s in the Trello card, from attachments to comments, end up in Asana, so an executive can drill into each card for any information they need. They could also leave their own comment, which would get carried over to the marketing board. Plus, whenever a card is moved from one list to another in Trello, it will automatically be moved in Asana. So no executive has to worry about asking a team for progress before manually moving a card. They can check their board and know everything they need. No emails or meetings required.

That said, an overview board populated with cards from a single board isn’t a very realistic use case. So here’s what our board looks like after creating a few more Trello boards and a Jira project.

This is a real overview. By syncing labels and tags, I’ve also been able to color-code tasks depending on which team they’re coming from. With this kind of board, an executive can know what’s going on with each team at a glance, but can also drill into specific initiatives as appropriate and communicate directly with collaborators. And they can do it all without filling their calendar with meetings.

Coordinate away!

A solid team coordination workflow is vital for aligning your teams. If your workflow depends on meetings and endless emails, you’re probably spending more time setting up projects than actually doing the work. With Unito, you can eliminate friction points and maintain alignment from a single Asana project. Ready to set up your team coordination workflow?

What’s next?

1. Ready to start? Try Unito free for 14 days!
2. See the power of Unito in action.
3. Read more blog posts about how you can use Unito.