Proper PPM (Project Portfolio Management) software helps managers develop their soft skills that are essential for effective team building. BigPicture helps managers with the most cumbersome mundane tasks. By working more efficiently on hard-skills-oriented objectives, they acquire more time on soft aspects of their work. Yet, miracle apps do not exist. In some areas of management, humans won’t be replaced by machines anytime soon. Building connections between managers and their teams is one of those. This article presents key aspects to focus on when building a perfect, harmonious connection with your teams and fellow managers.
How to connect with your team?
On the internet, you can find many articles and lists explaining how to connect people in the workplace. Those come in handy as a starting point for further research. Here are the most popular and effective methods:
Listen and react
People need to be heard. It’s not always complaints or accusations about a bad work environment, but a much smaller caliber. Hearing and responding to suggestions, observations, or plain conversations with team members is enough to create a sense of welcoming and empathetic environment.
Large-scale organizations tend to frustrate their employees with unclear communication. A pro-connection workplace must be an open forum where employees are well-familiar with the processes in force, know who is responsible for what, and can check work progress at any time. It builds mutual trust and confidence, and BigPicture is a great way to ensure everyone has access to a Single Source of Truth, i.e. Jira.
Make it horizontal
Almost everyone has seen photos from Facebook or Google HQ, where the higher-ups, developers and other employees work hand in hand in the same space. It’s not just a good PR move, but a clear signal that management doesn’t hide behind soundproof glass doors but is available and approachable to everyone. SoftwarePlant’s founders, for example, work just a few desks away from the author of this article (unless we all work remotely for health and safety reasons).
Create a workplace tailored for teams’ needs
Some large organizations enforce new tools and software on employees to ensure the yearly innovation quota is met. It usually makes employees frustrated and tired rather than excited that their higher-ups flushed their work habits down the drain.
To reconcile the old and the new, employees often keep using their legacy tools and manually copy data to the new ones – demanded by upper management. Effectively this means more wasted man-hours and duplicated data that can soon transform into potentially harmful junk data. Fortunately, such situations can be prevented. PPM software like BigPicture makes it possible to both let teams use their favorite tools and provide management with reliable, aggregated, standardized data.
Although the idea might seem hackneyed during the pandemic, yet creating online events and parties is still a valuable tool to build a connection with the teams. Possibilities are huge, as managers and team leaders can use both video conference tools (Zoom, Google Meet) to meet or prepare quizzes (Kahoot) and games (online shooters or more casual Among Us). With these, remote-working team members can still bond and get to know each other better. Sure, online events cannot fully substitute real-life interactions but, as they say, beggars can’t be choosers.
Drop the yearly evaluation
Classic management often resorts to employee evaluation after a longer period of time. Quarterly or yearly meetings, where both sides try to sum up a large chunk of work, are not always the most efﬁcient way to convey feedback. Most workers appreciate when guidance is provided on an on-going basis. On the contrary, many workers are not fond of this kind of feedback. That’s why PPM software is changing the evaluation. Team managers can check project status at any time and easily identify blockers. This way, they can give up-to-date feedback and work with employees on their weaker spots without waiting weeks or even months for another evaluation meeting.
What else can be done?
Every process can be shortened, and every decision can be made quicker. At least that is the ideal companies should strive for. PPM tools allow users to measure stats for every process and product and then allocate workforce and abilities to improve workflows. This is both effective and beneficial for employees whose talents and needs are met. It’s always important to keep interested parties informed and in the center of change.
BigPicture is a great tool for managers in this case that it gathers, standardizes and visualizes data thus making key information as transparent as possible. It eliminates one of the biggest threats in a company’s culture: lack of direction, data, and information flow. These can seriously harm every organization, and proper tools with good implementation can become a powerful ally for every team leader and manager.