Managing A Remote Business | Part 1

Jeff Herbert | Web Consultant

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Four Pi CEO, Chris Long, has been working remotely for 10 years and has built a successful remote-first business - so he knows a thing or two about the best team productivity software and technology for remote teams, local teams and travelling team members.

In a recent Four Pi Facebook Live Video, Chris discussed the basics of managing a remote team, provided insights into the Four Pi remote digital agency and project management software that can help keep your employees productive and keep business booming.

Watch the videos below and continue to Managing A Remote Business | Part 2 to hear about Trello, Jira, remote worker best practices, transitioning between project management platforms, backlog management and video meetings.

The Basics of Trello | Managing A Remote Business

An efficient remote team needs to utilise a project management platform to aid employees ability to keep track of projects, team progression and individual tasks.

What is Trello? Trello is an easy to learn cloud-based Kanban-style list-making project management application which could potentially be the perfect project management tool your business needs when working remotely.

What is Kanban? A kanban is an agile method of managing projects or tasks making it a great way to track what you’re doing but have the flexibility to move things when projects don’t go to plan or adapt along the journey.

Cloud based system. Trello runs on iOS, Android and your web browser meaning you can access the project management system anytime, anywhere and can rely on it always be up to date for your entire team.

A simple and effective Trello board setup is: To Do / Doing / Done. As Chris demonstrates in the below video, a super-simple setup of a Trello board is segmenting tasks into status columns. Adding a Trello Card to the board resembles a task - you can label it, attach information, images, documents and further details then assign a team member to take ownership of the task.

Visual satisfaction of completing tasks. The kanban Trello board has a simple drag-and-drop functionality to move tasks as their status develops. As your project matures your team will visually see the progress of their work that delivers job satisfaction and motivation.

The Basics

✔️ Kanban-style list-making system

✔️ Agile project management

✔️ Flexibility to move & adapt within projects

✔️ Communication with team members

✔️ Quickly share links/documents/images for max productivity

✔️ Maximise time efficiency

✔️ Easy and visual card & task status

Available on all platforms

☁️ Cloud Based System

✔️ iOS

✔️ Android

✔️ Windows

Trello Best Practices | Managing A Remote Business

Trello is easy to learn but the way your team operates will be the key to your remote working success. See below for Trello best practices to up-skill your team quickly and make them Trello professionals in no time.

Team communications within Trello Cards. Instead of sending instant messages or emails regarding a task, Four Pi remote employees keep task-based communication within the centralised location where ALL task details are stored.

Trello Cards offer fantastic commenting, team member mentioning and notification systems meaning multiple team members can interact within a card and be kept up to date.

Another benefit for Trello’s in-card communication is that your progression is all stored and recorded. A new team member or manager can easily step in and be brought up-to-speed of a project simply by looking at the communications. Equally important is the archived information that may be handy when you're-visiting a project in the future.

Use Bookmarks to keep track of your Trello boards. Trello has a great user interface that displays all the boards that are relevant to you. If this isn’t enough, our pro-Trello tip is to utilise web browsers Bookmarks so you can quickly navigate to active projects or tasks.

Assign due dates to projects. Trello has a ‘Due Date’ feature which has an excellent notification system attached to it. Assigning a due date to a task will apply a coloured visual representation to the Trello Card and provide you in-Trello notifications and email notifications several times when the due date is approaching. When the task is overdue, it will turn red and you’ll be notified that you’ve not completed it on time.

Communicate In Trello Cards

✔️ Make use of comments and team member mentions

✔️ Keep relevant information in Trello cards

✔️ New team members can quickly catch up

Bookmark Your Critical Boards

✔️ Manage many Trello boards easier

✔️ Bookmark important Trello boards

✔️ Utilise your Trello home board

✔️ Use web bookmarks to help

Schedule Reminders & Due Dates

✔️ In app notifications

✔️ Email notifications

✔️ Due dates gives you plenty of warning for upcomings tasks

✔️ Visual colour status

🏆 Trello Boards within Trello Cards - for experts (give it a go!)

❌ Missing timelines (see an upcoming Jira video to see a great Project Management alternative)

Jira vs Trello | Managing A Remote Business

It’s time to introduce the Jira project management platform, owned by the Australian company Atlassian, into our conversation.

Four Pi web agency was using Trello for approx. 6 years for their project management needs but have recently switched to the Jira project management platform which suits our operational needs much better. In this remote working project management video we’ll hear the comparisons between Jira and Trello.

Atlassian owns both Trello and Jira. In 2017, Atalsssian acquired Trello for US$425 Million adding it to their impressive project management products. In the proceeding months, the tech industry noticed that Atlassian’s flag-ship product Jira and their new product Trello got a little closer to each other in terms of features and performance.

‘It’s like Trello but better’. Using a similar kanban interface, Jira offers more features and benefits such as the Roadmap feature which helps visualise projects across a date line. This will help your team visualise the project outline, reach milestones and prioritise tasks in specific orders.

Jira can integrate with other workplace productivity tools. With Jira’s ‘next generation’ project boards your company will have the ability to integrate workplace productivity tools such as Google Drive and Slack (we have videos and articles discussing the benefits of Slack: Part 1 / Part 2) which can streamline your processes even quicker.

Trello is FREE for a certain amount of boards. If your business hasn’t used a project management platform in the past then Trello is an excellent place to start. Being free for a certain amount of boards, the visual element to the user interface and its basic features will be ideal for remote teams to pick up and learn. For more enhanced and in-depth requirements then Jira is almost- certainly the better project management system to choose.

Trello pricing details: https://trello.com/en-AU/pricing

Jira pricing details: https://www.atlassian.com/software/jira/pricing

Jira & Trello

✔️ Owned by the same people - Atalassian

✔️ Similar kanban interface

✔️ New team members can quickly catch up

Jira Benefits

✔️ Has a Roadmap - visualise projects and set project timelines

✔️ Excellent for software developers

✔️ Integrations with other platforms

Trello Benefits

✔️ Free for a certain amount of boards

✔️ Great for smaller teams

✔️ More visual

Transitioning Between Project Management Platforms | Managing A Remote Business

During the Facebook Live Video a viewer asked a question regarding the complexities of transitioning a team from one project management system to another.

Question: Is the transition from Trello to Jira or Atlassian difficult?

Transitioning from Trello to Jira or Atlassian is easy. Jira has a migration tool that can transfer data from Trello to Jira which brings across all your information, projects and tasks.

Though the migration tool is great we do NOT suggest using it for large projects.

In terms of upskilling employees to Jira, our Four Pi staff had no issues learning the new interface, tools, features and best practices when using Jira.

Pro Tip: Before you start to migrate it’s worth taking time to clear out old tasks that are weighing you down and probably won’t be done. Validate your data so you have an opportunity to start with a clear path ahead.

It Can Be Easy

✔️ Jira has a migration tool for Trello to Jira

📝 Quick Tip - migration tools are great when data is valid and cleaned out of old tasks

✔️ Get your team on board - the learning curve is small & they’ll see the benefits

Adapting Spreadsheets to Trello Processes | Managing A Remote Business

Another viewer question asked Chris a question during the Facebook live video stream.

Question: We organise a lot of projects into spreadsheets, how do they adapt to a system like Trello?

Adapting spreadsheet-based project management systems will be very easy to transit into Trello, Jira or other project management platforms.

Trello is essentially a row and column system with enhanced benefits such as due dates, comments, document and image attachments, collaboration, task delegation and many more visual and user interface enhancements. Updating to Trello will be a breath of fresh air for your company.

Many businesses use spreadsheets as a method of project management and keeping track of tasks. Using restrictive methods like that will not work with remote workers because they lack the collaboration functionality, so instead, we suggest shifting project processes to Trello where everyone involved can contribute, see project status and view key project details.

Can you adapt spreadsheets into Trello processes?

✔️ YES - Trello is essentially a row and column system so it should be an easy transition

✔️ You can have an endless list of tasks in a column

✔️ The kanban system will be a greater friend than a spreadsheet

✔️ Leave comments and important info on each task

What’s Next?

Continue reading and watching videos in Managing A Remote Business | Part 2 here: https://4pi.com.au/blog/managing-a-remote-business-part-2

This videos above are clips from a Facebook Live on the Four Pi Web & App Development Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/4piweb

See the full Managing A Remote Business video playlist : https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLZrl9Ih8iMdzptoY5xa2t8Zp5XUW_yksV

For more remote working tips and guidance you can follow the official Four Pi Web & App Development channels:

Four Pi Webite: https://4pi.com.au

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/4piweb

Instagram: https://instagram.com/4piweb

Twitter: https://twitter.com/4piweb

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/4pi-web-and-app-development

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