Completing tasks faster may seem effortless for large teams. Before you judge your team’s efficiency and productivity levels based on the number of people, remember Einstein was a successful team of one. Small teams are typically made up of two to ten people. By contrast, large teams can include upwards of 100 people. While it may seem easier to oversee fewer people, small team project management has its own set of challenges.
Depending on the scope of a project, fewer people may mean more work. You can help avoid stress by identifying potential stressors, ensuring next-level communication, balancing the workload, and ensuring your team has the right tools for the job. Small teams also allow for coachable moments and personalized training to help build skills and increase employee engagement. Let’s look at four steps to set your small team up for success.
Provide Tools That Simplify Things For Small Teams
Does your team have the bandwidth to take on a new project? It’s tempting to rely on your memory or an email calendar to help manage a small team. But that can be a costly mistake. According to management statistics, project priority changes are a leading cause of project failure. The slightest distraction can cause you to forget to relay important information to your team.
Project management tools, such as Time Tracker by eBillity, make it easy to check the progress of current projects, share files, follow each team member’s availability (including scheduled vacations), and potential budget constraints. Investing in the right tools can help you focus on more important matters.
- Measure key performance indicators (KPIs)
- Monitor estimated hours against actual time spent
- Develop checklists for quality control and simplify feedback discussions
- Provide accurate estimates using job costing insights
- Mitigate risk factors that impact project priorities, timelines, and delivery
- Improve time management strategies
Manage Small Team Communication
Communication is crucial for all stages of a project, from the initial brainstorming sessions to project completion. Small teams have an easier time getting to know everyone and brainstorming ideas together, which helps promote unity. But Time Tracker’s newest feature helps teams stay connected and can mitigate issues.
- Instantly push out announcements
- Ask questions or conduct surveys company-wide
- Team members can easily update the group regarding their progress
You also want to keep the lines of communication open with clients. Whether they are hands-off or prefer to be included in each step of the process, you want to make it easy for clients to share their feedback. Smooth and succinct communication helps your small team meet project goals, make decisions, and pivot objectives when everyone is on the same page.
Accountability Action Plans Improve Completion
Once you’ve established a solid line of communication, develop an accountability plan. Your plan should delegate responsibilities within the group and define the project’s goals. Not only will this help manage risks and identify problems before they become more significant issues, but it also ensures your small team understands your expectations as a manager. Here are some ideas to get you started.
Small Teams Need SMART Goals
SMART goals are an excellent tool for small team project management. These goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based. You want to define project goals and create a roadmap to give your team a better idea of scope and expectations. Create milestones to help encourage success and keep team members on track throughout the process.
Identify Strengths and Weaknesses
There’s one significant advantage to managing a small team. It’s easier to get to know each person. You build a stronger team when you can assign tasks based on the strengths and weaknesses of your team. Sometimes a team member can struggle with tasks or fall behind for personal reasons. Not only can this disrupt the project timeline, but tension can develop within the team if the workload becomes unbalanced. Being able to sync schedules and quickly reassign tasks can help keep a project on time and on budget.
Understand and Allocate Your Resources
You have three primary resources for every project, people: tools, and time. Though multi-tasking may be a hallmark of small teams, effective resource allocation can reduce latency and improve productivity by 40%. Three things can help you avoid challenges during a project when managing small teams.
- Delegate tasks among your team based on strengths and deadlines
- Targeted scheduling of employees and time management
- Invest in tools that help increase efficiency and communication
Employee Engagement Matters Even for Small Teams
Employee engagement and employee happiness are not the same. You want your team to find joy in their work, but making them feel valued and providing professional growth opportunities are equally important. Surveys may give managers some clues into your employee thought process, but here are several easily executable ideas for building engagement.
- Set up weekly one-on-ones.These feedback sessions help track progress, discuss challenges, offer advice or assistance, and even update or revisit priorities.
- Remember your remote workers.Even though they are not onsite, remote and hybrid workers still require your attention and leadership. Look for ways to highlight their involvement and contributions to the project.
- Provide growth opportunities. Providing professional advancement solves two problems for employers. It can motivate workers and help minimize retention problems at a time when companies are not able to give merit raises.
Two Keys That Increase Success When Managing a Small Team
No matter the size of your team, keeping employees on track and the project on time are the keys to long and short-term success. Time Tracker by eBillity offers the flexibility and monitoring needed to reduce common challenges to small team project management. It’s a convenient mobile platform that helps teams keep in touch, monitor budgets, and confirm project completion. If you’re ready to take your small team management skills to the next level, sign up for a free 14-day trial today.