As a church communicator, you are aware that having a consistent project management tool and process for collecting communications is necessary. There is no shortage of options out there. All of these products promise to make collaboration and project management a breeze. But there’s a problem here. All of these products work, but only if you AND your team use them.
This is the difficult part—not because your team is incapable or incompetent, but because everyone has their way of doing things, and trying to teach a new process can be cumbersome and time-consuming. So what do you do? How do you develop a system that works for everyone? How do you choose the right tool for the job?
The key to creating a successful and efficient way to collaborate with your team is to start with your team.
Here is a helpful guide to review with your team before choosing a communications tool or creating a process:
What do we need to organize and why? All of the tools that promise to organize ALL aspects of your communications are great when you have a larger staff or team with lots of ongoing projects and several people working on them, but if you have a small team and you just need to organize your communications requests, you may not need an entire platform. Either way, discussing with your team why choosing ONE way to stay organized is essential. They are more likely to try a new process if they understand how it could help them create better content for the team and your church.
What, if any, is the current process? How is it working? Whether your team has a defined process or not, it is a useful exercise to ask them to articulate what THEY think the process is. You might find that each person or ministry group thinks their current way of doing things works. Perhaps you receive emails from one team, texts from another, and sheets of notebook paper from yet another. While all these processes may work for that group, hearing how many different methods are being used to communicate may make finding the “issue” more clear. Perhaps everyone uses the same process—email, for example—but things are falling through the cracks.
What would YOU change about how things are working now? If you are in the market for a new tool to help organize and manage communications, it is probably because your current process, or lack thereof, is causing problems. Like mentioned above, either things are falling through the cracks, you are overwhelmed by the volume of requests, or ministries are frustrated because they don’t know how to use the process effectively.
Review potential tools (and give examples). Once you know what the problem is, look for a tool that solves it. If email works for everyone else, but you have trouble keeping track, look for a product like Zapier that can help you organize emails into a spreadsheet. Do you have a team that needs specific task lists? Try Trello, an easy project management tool that is great for making checklists.
Your team should agree on a tool. The most important thing is to make sure your team is willing to engage with the new process. Are they using one of these tools for another project? If they are already familiar with one, that may be an excellent place to start. The tool is only going to be effective if it is used. When your staff or volunteers are engaged in the process from the start, they may begin to understand the necessity of creating a process to help make everyone more effective.