5 team communication best practices, tools and methods
As the market reality and professional culture change, the practices of team management keep on evolving. The rise of remote work pushes managers to look for the latest solutions, tools, and best practices that help to organize the work of virtual teams.
Smart team leaders always keep a close eye on the most recent innovative communication methods that allow creating high-performing and well-coordinated teams. Fortunately, today they have many tools at their disposal that help to make internal team communication more straightforward and effortless.
In this article, I explore five different team communication best practices, tools, methodologies for 2019.
Ready to revamp your team communication? Let’s dive in.
1. Consider daily stand-up meetings
Over the last few years, the agile methodology has gained many proponents and today agile is one of the undying buzzwords in the world of project management. While some aspects of the agile methods can be very beneficial for organizations, many people now see the shortcomings and limitations of agile.
Still, it always pays to check whether one or more of the typical agile practices could help our teams communicate better. One of the most common agile methods is Scrum, a methodology where teams work in short cycles called sprints, which are preceded by a sprint planning meeting and finish with a sprint retrospective.
As part of an ongoing sprint, teams meet every day for short daily stand-up meetings where they update one another about the work accomplished yesterday and plan the work to be completed during the upcoming day.
As a result, everyone is kept on the same page, and it’s clear where the project is going and what the next steps are. I believe that daily stand-up meetings are an excellent strategy for teams that struggle to create a type of transparency.
It can be especially fruitful for remote or partially virtual teams. Project managers can use daily stand-ups to reinforce the company mission and build a sense of a common purpose which is extremely difficult to do when managing remote employees.
2. Use a Kanban board
Another productive agile strategy is Kanban. Organizations interested in improving their internal processes should definitely consider setting up a Kanban board for at least one of their teams to test out its capabilities.
A Kanban board is a board that visualizes all the tasks in a project. The tasks are divided into different columns marked as, for example, “backlog,” “to do,” “in progress,” and “done.” Naturally, it’s possible to personalize the Kanban board and include more or fewer columns, depending on project requirements and team workflow.
One glance at a Kanban board is enough to understand where the project is going and how far it is from its completion. A Kanban board can be a simple whiteboard hung on an office wall, but the best results always come from digital Kanban boards.
Atlassian’s flagship software Jira includes the option of setting up Kanban boards for teams. That way, the team’s work becomes fully transparent as all team members know what others are working on and how each of their individual tasks contributes to the bigger picture. That way, updating one another about task status is no longer an issue.
Again, this technique comes in handy especially for remote teams where team members just don’t work at the same office, and asking simple task status questions can quickly become a burden.
3. Keep your door open
The open-door policy is certainly nothing new. But I believe that in 2019, it gains a new significance – especially in the face of a remote workforce which is becoming a significant global trend.
So how can we keep our doors open as team leaders if some or all people that we work aren’t at the office with us? The open-door policy gains new meaning in the remote context.
In my experience, one of the most efficient ways of “keeping the door open” digitally is setting up a dedicated chat room channel on messaging apps like Slack. Instead of creating only channels dedicated to specific projects or departments, it’s a good idea to open one channel where team members can ask questions.
Encourage team members to come forward with new ideas, consult projects with you, or reach out to you if they have any doubts. Having a dedicated channel for that helps teams to understand that your doors are always open and you welcome their opinions. That way, keeping the door open helps to empower team members to go the extra mile in their jobs.
4. Create a knowledge base
Another excellent strategy for boosting team communication is creating a company wiki where you share the essential information about the project. That way, all team members will have access to all relevant information. They won’t lose any time looking for files in email conversations. Everything they need will be available in a single place.
You can create a knowledge base by using a tool like Atlassian’s Confluence. Building a knowledge base is in itself a team-building experience as team members can work on documents together and refine their wiki to reflect their experiences on the project. The editor featured in Confluence allows simultaneous editing and collaboration.
Confluence also includes some advanced features that help teams to create wiki pages together, link them to one another, and create a database of resources that help everyone working on the project understand its goals, scope, and mission-critical aspects. That way, Confluence opens the door to another level of collaboration.
5. Strive to improve your process
Finally, one essential best practices for boosting communication is the awareness of the team workflows and processes – combined with dedication to their optimization. Team leaders who fail to take a step back and revise their team communication processes once in a while may lose on some key opportunities for growth.
Be sure to schedule a check in with your team members once in a while and ask them what could be improved about your communication. Are there the tools they’re not using anymore? Do they want to bring in new communication solutions?
You need to know these things and grow your team in a way that empowers individual team members in shaking team processes, including communication.
Communication is key to the work of every team
Without proper communication, teams can’t collaborate efficiently and lose a lot of time on updating one another about task progress, clearing up misunderstandings, and finding information.
By implementing these best practices, tools, and methodologies, you’ll make sure that your team can communicate smoothly and take your business vision to the next level in 2019.
Do you have any questions about improving team communication with the help of innovative tools like Atlassian’s Jira our Confluence?
Get in touch with our consultants; we have ample knowledge and experience in implementing teamwork and communication tools in organizations of all sizes.