Tag Archives: Team Management

Improving business processes & increasing effectiveness by 80% with DropTask

The Vestack Group of companies deliver a broad range of services and each company has their own goals, hierarchies and communication channels. With Group wide goals and provisions also in place, CEO Shaun Kennard, was in need of a solution to coordinate the multitude of activities.

Shaun Kennard - CEO, Vestack Group“As CEO, I faced the problem of keeping tabs on all of the key activities that were being undertaken within each company and the progress that was being made. Trying to communicate with others, as well as set, delegate, and action different tasks based on various topics and companies, became very challenging. Many tasks were emailed to others, but once sent, they were assumed to be delegated or done, and were not followed up with – which became a nightmare in itself.

“I was primarily looking for a balance between price, functionality and simplicity.”

Through some research, I came across DropTask. I did investigate a few other software options but I was primarily looking for a balance between price, functionality and simplicity. In the end I decided on DropTask. I received very good support from the team at DropTask, which I must admit made the decision even easier.

As with any new business tool or process, it did take a bit of time to change people’s attitudes and to get our staff using the software. The primary factor in getting our staff on board was buy-in from management; once they bought into the app we gradually moved more and more support functions into DropTask. We also offered basic training and support to all of our users, but with DropTask’s biggest advantage being that it is so visual and takes a simple approach, it is very easy to use.

HOW WE USE THE APP

Using DropTask within the team

Our method for using DropTask is easy; each company creates their own projects with the name of the company and the specified topic as the project title. Within the project, secondary topics are defined using groups; each group contains our tasks and everything that needs to be done.

Whether its meetings, financial feedback or risk management progress, many of our projects are continually updated and will never be completed. As they don’t have logical start or finish dates, DropTask is used as an ongoing tool for our tasks.

DropTask has been effective in seeing some projects through from inception to completion, such as event days. All stages of the project are managed in DropTask; from the initial planning and task allocation, to preparation and evaluation after the event has been held. We would also envisage using DropTask to manage the launch of a new product – from the inception stage right through until the final launch.

“Many of our projects are continually updated…DropTask is used as an ongoing tool for our tasks.”

DropTask is also used as a short and long term planner by each user. Consequently, their time management can be made much more effective by planning their day, listing the key tasks (as Subtasks) to their daily planner and then ensuring they focus on it. All team members are encouraged to use the app to its full potential. Not so much in terms of the different features, but thinking about our business processes and limiting the management thereof on DropTask only; thus not duplicating systems.Scheduling and managing meetings in DropTask

For example, in addition to meetings being scheduled through DropTask, we also have the app open during meetings, so interactions can be immediately recorded and actions created. As a result, we have moved away from diaries, agendas and minutes.

“I would argue that in respect of the matters we use DropTask for, we have increased our effectiveness by 80%.”

We have found that the functionality of DropTask is spot on; we’re not overloaded with unused icons and features and the visual simplicity reduces the busyness of projects and prevents data overload. Since using DropTask I would say there has been a 20% increase in each person’s productivity, and an even bigger influence on business effectiveness. By this, I mean the way that we deal with issues, delegate tasks, remind each other and ensure focus. Effectiveness will of course impact productivity, and I would argue that in respect of the matters we use DropTask for, we have increased our effectiveness by 80%.

We have been offered various alternative task management tool options, but with DropTask working the way it has, and with it also continually improving key functionality within the Group, I cannot see us moving to another solution.”

Improve your productivity and effectiveness by signing up for free today at www.droptask.com/signup

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To build the team, build the trust

Team Trust

At the foundation of any strong team, is trust.  Building trust between individuals can take time, but once gained, can result in a truly productive team that will harness individual strengths to form a strong, cohesive unit. See below for our top tips on how you can build trust in your team.

Get personalGet personal

It’s easy to fall into a routine where you’re so focused on the things that you need to do, that you forget to engage in everyday conversations that don’t involve deadlines or progress updates. Remember, each person in the team has their own story, values and hobbies and getting to know them on a personal level can create a powerful sense of trust as well as comradery.

Have integrity

Have integrity

In order for trust to be built, an open and honest communication policy should be followed. Honest mistakes happen and promises are sometimes broken, but it’s important to come forward and accept accountability while putting personal consequences to one side. This courage will give confidence to your fellow team members who are relying on you to do the right thing.

Consider everyone equalConsider everyone equal

Whether there’s a new member in the team or a long-standing colleague, be sure to give fair weight to feedback and new ideas – as well as the credit that’s due for them. Acknowledging someone’s contribution regardless of their position will help to convey how much value they bring to the team, and this show of respect will help to build the foundation; resulting in a happier and more productive workforce.

New to DropTask? Learn more about the benefits by signing up for a free account today.

3 Steps to giving productive feedback

Here at DropTask, we understand the importance of communication in the workplace – particularly when working with others and progressing towards your goals. From sharing ideas to delegating work, communication can take many forms. But one type of communication that is often avoided, is feedback.

The process of giving and receiving feedback can be a delicate one – managers can find it hard to deliver feedback, and employees fear the worst. According to the Harvard Business Review, most people assume the worst when review meetings come up, but as feedback plays a key role in the development and success of employees and the organization, it shouldn’t be avoided.

Feedback allows for problems to be identified and solved, helping to improve both the quality of work and success of the business. Below, are 3 tips to help you give constructive – not destructive feedback, so both your employees and your company can flourish.

1. Make it immediate
Schedule a meeting When it comes to giving feedback, don’t beat around the bush. Schedule a quick meeting to share your feedback and address any problems. The sooner you nip an issue in the bud, the sooner you can move forward in the right direction. In addition to addressing specific matters immediately, frequent performance reviews should be conducted – on a monthly or quarterly basis, to air any concerns and to ensure everyone is on the same page.

2. Offer solutions

Sit down and offer solutionsIt’s all very well being critical about how someone has performed, but without a clear plan or suggestions for progression, behavior is unlikely to change. It’s important to offer positive suggestions on how they could do things differently or give guidance on how improvements can be made. Ensure that individual responsibilities are clearly understood and provide supporting documents, so all necessary information is available to do the job well. Leading in the right direction will improve team productivity and help the business to be successful.

3. Be positive
Praising a team memberNot all feedback needs to be negative – it’s important to give credit where credit’s due. So, don’t forget to praise your team when a goal is reached or when they’ve done a good job. Taking the time to let them know you’re grateful of their contributions will improve motivation and the attitude towards their job – plus, when negative feedback needs to be given, they’re more likely to take it on board rather than taking it personally.

New to DropTask? Learn more about the benefits by signing up for a free account today.

Are you doing too much? How shared planning can save time & improve work processes

With team members each using different methods for managing workloads, and with no easy way to view all activities, Hamish More – Director of People & Capability for the New Zealand Fire Service, was after a more streamlined and collaborative solution that the whole team could use.Hamish More, Director of People & Capability for The New Zealand Fire Service

“Before DropTask, there was no consistent approach for planning and managing tasks within my department, and team members were all using various methods. There was a common complaint from our people of “we’re doing too much”, but with no clear overview of all activities, no-one could easily explain – or ‘see’ what was causing all of the busyness. To overcome this problem, I wanted to adopt a shared planning approach and so needed a tool which would give a visible indication of the number of activities we had under way, and allow for the whole team to contribute.

“DropTask appealed to me most because of its unique visual interface and the ability to ‘see’ relationships between tasks.”

While searching for apps and tools to help manage workloads, I looked at a few options, but DropTask appealed to me most because of its unique visual interface and the ability to ‘see’ relationships between tasks. I signed up for the free version of DropTask and within a matter of weeks a large number of the team were using DropTask PRO.The New Zealand Fire Service TeamDropTask is used on a daily basis by the team in a variety of ways – all of which are hugely valuable to us. I primarily use it to track reporting on projects, so I know which reports need approving. In one DropTask project, Cameron Hawke (Project Manager for our Service Resilience & Development Team), has set-up a sequence of groups – one for “drafting”, one for “ready to approve”, and one for “approved”, others also include “closed” and “rejected”. Applying a Kanban-like method of working, we manage the process by moving tasks between these groups. When a task hits the “ready to approve” stage, I’m assigned to that task and I instantly receive a notification (both within the app and via email) of my new task – I then have 5-days to either approve or reject the attached report for that task.

“…they had an “aha” moment when they saw the large visualization of our work.”

I also use DropTask to manage the team’s activities; the visual nature of the app allows me to get a good idea of the amount of work just by glancing at a project and seeing who is assigned to what. I’m then able to present and share this information with other colleagues to illustrate our workloads. If I need to delegate new tasks, or re-assign existing ones, then the drag and drop functionality of the app – which I love – makes it quick and easy to do so.

DropTask Project using iPad AppDropTask has surprised many people in the team; they had an “aha” moment when they saw the large visualization of our work, and started seeing where most of their time was being spent and why they were so busy. Now, by prioritizing our work in DropTask, we’re able to better utilize our time by focusing on what’s important, and spending less time on – or even putting on hold, low priority tasks.

“DropTask has helped introduce efficiencies and effectiveness.”

I would say that DropTask has helped introduce efficiencies and effectiveness around our reporting and has also given me a far better oversight of workloads and status. It has saved me a lot of time by helping to make our work processes much easier and faster.”

Collaborate with your team and see what DropTask can do for you by signing up for free today at www.droptask.com/signup

Already a DropTask user? Share your story with us at contact@droptask.com for your chance to be featured in a future post!