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If you’re just getting started, project management is like learning to drive a car.
You have to keep your eye on different things all at once... coordinate different parts of your body... and somehow communicate with other drivers on the road, who are all struggling to do the same thing.
Similarly, project management requires you to keep your eye on tasks, schedules, budgets, and people all at the same time. Everyone on the team must coordinate and communicate with each other.
And just like in driving, the stakes are high in project management. It can mean the difference between failing or succeeding in meeting your goals... how productive, motivated, and engaged you and your team members are... even how much stress you all experience.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a one-person team or the leader of several teams. Your ability to produce deliverables within deadlines and given the resources available is critical.
Tools like monday.com can ease the load.
With a visual dashboard of your project, you can delegate tasks, monitor progress, and be alerted of potential problems before they turn into crises.
You also have a central hub to communicate and collaborate with your team members.
Read on to learn the main steps of project management and how you can become an exceptional project manager with monday.com.
How to Do Project Management with monday.com, Step-by-Step
In the rest of this article, we’ll pretend that I'm the head of a content team composed of a writer, a designer, and myself. Our project involves producing a whitepaper on collaboration and publishing it on the company website as a lead-generation offer.
Here’s how to manage this project using monday.com:
1. Create a Project Management Dashboard
Begin by creating a project management dashboard or a place where you’ll record and keep track of the various elements of the project. In monday.com, this is known as a board. Similar to a car’s dashboard, the board gives you an at-a-glance view of the project and alerts you to potential problems.
Create a New Board
On the left sidebar, click the + sign beside Boards.
Choose a Board Template
You can create a board from scratch, use a template, or import a template. Using a template is the easiest way to get started.
Select Choose from a template.
Click See More Templates to view the templates available to you.
Scroll down through the list to preview each template. Select the one that shows most of the elements you want to track. It doesn’t have to be perfect; you’ll be customizing the board later.
When you find a template you like, click Use.
The Create board dialog opens.
Select the Board Visibility Setting
Type a name for the board, then choose a visibility setting and click Create Board.
monday.com has three visibility settings:
- Main. A main board is visible to anyone who is a team member in your monday.com account.
- Private. A private board is visible only to you, as the board creator, and other monday.com users you invite to the board. You can make a board private only to you while you’re building it out and then change its visibility setting, or share it with team members, when you’re done.
- Shareable. A shareable board can be shared with people outside your team or company (for example, clients, interns, or freelancers).
The new board appears.
It's easy to make your way around a board:
- Click on an item to type text, replace the text, or edit its settings.
- Drag-and-drop objects to move them around the board.
- Don't know what an icon is for? Hover over it and a tooltip appears.
2. Break Down the Project Into Tasks
Break the project down into the specific tasks that need to be completed. Type each task as a separate line on the board.
By default, any board template you choose will already contain line items under several headings or groups. For now, type your tasks under the first group, in any order, as each task comes to mind. You can change the order of the items later on.
Organize Tasks Into Groups
When you’re done listing all the tasks under the project, organize them into groups.
You can group tasks in several ways. You can group them by week, by project phase, or by any other category you wish to use. This is your project, your board, and you get to decide how to organize it.
Once the project tasks have been listed and organized into groups, you’re ready to build the rest of your project board.
3. Add the Elements You Want to Track
For the next step, think of the project elements you want to document and track. Each element will be a column on the board.
Delete Unwanted Columns
Go over the board and delete any columns you won’t be using. To delete a column, hover over the column header and click the drop-down arrow. Then click Delete Column.
Create New Columns
Create a column for each project element or detail you want to see.
To create a column, go to the right-most side of the board and click the + sign. Then choose a column type from the drop-down menu.
The basic column types are:
- Status. Can be used to visually track the progress of tasks, set task priority, or place each task in a category
- Text. Add any type of text such as a phone number, address, or comment.
- People. Assigns each item to a specific person
- Timeline. Identifies the duration of a task by specifying the start and end dates and enables you to have a Gantt chart-like view of the project
- Date. Sets due dates for tasks and provides notifications of due dates
- Tags. Associates each task with a keyword with the use of hashtags
- Numbers. For any type of number, such as item cost, quantity, number of hours, etc.
To track deadlines, make sure you create a Date column, if the template you picked doesn't have one yet.
If you want to track an element that isn’t captured by any of these column types, click More columns. This brings you to the Column Center, where you can see even more column types, such as ratings, time tracking, world clock, and many more.
Set Up Column Details
At any point, you can change the column settings. Click on the downward arrow in the column header to display the options available to you.
To change the order of the columns, click and hold a column header, then drag it into place.
This is also the time to customize the status column. Click on any Status column cell, then add, delete, change the label, or change the color of a status. Drag-and-drop status labels to change the order in which they appear.
When you’re done, click Apply. The changes you make apply to all the Status cells in that column.
4. Set Deadlines and Create Timelines
Now it's time to set deadlines for each task. Click on the date cell then select the due date. Click on the Add time toggle to add a specific time when the task is due.
5. Delegate Tasks
With the board items and columns built, it’s time to assign the tasks to team members. We leave this for last, because every time you assign a task, the person receives a notification with a link to the board. And so, you want to make sure the board is ready before sharing it.
Add Team Members to the Board
To add team members to the board, click on the people icon at the top of the board.
Type a person’s name or choose an entire team.
Note: To appear on the People list, a person must already be in your monday.com account. If you want to share the board with someone who isn’t in your account yet, click Invite a new team member by email. Then, type their email address and click Invite.
Reminder: If you want to share the board with people outside of your company or organization, make sure the board’s visibility is set to Shareable.
Assign Each Task
Click on a People column cell, then choose from the list of people that appears.
You can also assign the task to a person who isn't on the board yet, by sending them an email invite through the dialog box. To do so, click Invite a new team member by email.
6. Update and Track Progress
Now you and your team members are ready to use the board to manage the project!
Update the Status of a Task
Your project management dashboard is helpful only if it accurately reflects the status of each task. To update the task status, click on a status cell. Select a status from the options.
Track and Monitor Tasks on the Board
Your project board lets you track the progress of a project at a glance. With the color-coded status cells, you can easily see which activities are completed, which are on-track, and which deadlines have been missed.
You can also hover over the cell beside a status to get more details, such as how much time is left before the task’s deadline. The timeline cell indicates how much time remains on each task.
You can see reports in several ways. For example, type a team member's name in the Search/Filter Board bar to see how they're doing on the tasks assigned to them:
Or, you can use different filters to see exactly the information you want. Save your favorite filters as a view, so you can easily access it later on. Click Filter and select one or more filters. Now click Save as new view.
To switch to a save view, click the downward arrow beside Main Table, then select a view from the drop-down list:
7. Communicate With Team Members
If you’re concerned about a particular task, you can easily communicate with the person assigned to the task.
Click the speech bubble beside the task name and type your message in the dialog box that slides in. Now, click Update.
Note: You can use text formatting in your updates, as well as include hyperlinks and even a checklist.
A number appears beside the speech bubble to show how many updates have been added to the task.
Make sure to @mention a specific person so that they’ll get notified about the update you posted. When that person logs into monday.com, the update appears on their bell notifications.
They will also get email and desktop notifications, if they’ve enabled these on their monday.com profile settings.
8. Share Files
Another way to facilitate project management is by using monday.com to share files with your team. Shared files are associated with a specific task or line item. No more back-and-forth emailing of files!
To share a file, click the speech bubble beside a task and then click Add Files to find the file in your computer. When you find the file, click Open.
The files you uploaded appear in the Files List.
Files can also be found through Search Everything.
Tip: As the name implies, you can use Search Everything to find, well, everything in your monday.com account.
9. Close the Project
Once a project is complete, you can close it by archiving the board. To archive a board, click on the ellipsis and select Archive This Board.
You can still view archived projects by going to Search Everything and clicking Archived Boards.
Tips for Project Management on monday.com
1. Get Everyone “On Board”
Make sure everyone involved in the project is added to the project board. Remember, even people outside of your organization or company can be added to a board by making it a Shareable board.
And then, make sure everyone uses the project board on monday.com for their updates, notes, and file sharing. To ensure that team members have the appropriate permissions to update the status of their tasks, go to Board Permissions.
There are several permissions to choose from:
- Edit Everything allows everyone subscribed to the board to change the content and structure of the board, create new items, edit column names, change statuses, and create item updates.
- Edit Content allows non-board owners to add items, change statuses and cells, and create item updates. However, they do not have permission to edit group and column titles and to rearrange the structure of the board. This permission works well for board users who are external to your organization.
- View Only allows non-board owners to view the board's contents and write updates.
- Edit rows assigned to them in the Owner column allows anyone non-board owners to only edit the content of the items assigned to them. They can, however, communicate by posting updates on any item on the board.
This article has detailed explanations of board permissions. By keeping all project-related information in one central location, you streamline communication, save time, and improve collaboration.
2. Customize Your Home Dashboard
Your Home Dashboard can also provide an at-a-glance preview of your projects.
By default, the Weekly Tasks widget shows items you own. Add other team members to this widget to see tasks assigned to them as well. To do so, click the gear icon in the upper-right corner of the Weekly Tasks widget and choose the name of a team member from the list. Click Done.
Explore and add other widgets to your dashboard to help you keep track of your projects. In the Home Dashboard, click Add Widget > More to see all the widgets available.
The widgets under the Staying on Top category are particularly useful for project management.
Your monday.com Dashboard is a powerful organization and productivity tool that deserves its own post. Read more about it here.
3. Integrate the Board With Your Calendar
If you use a digital calendar, integrate it with your project board. Click the downward arrow in a date or timeline column. Select Column Settings > Sync.
Follow the rest of the instructions, depending on which calendar you wish to sync with. monday.com has direct integration with Google Calendar. You can also integrate other calendars, such as Microsoft Outlook, iCal, and others by using the column’s webcal URL.
Manage Projects Better With monday.com
As you’ve seen, monday.com provides robust features for project management. You can create and assign tasks, set and monitor deadlines, track the progress of projects, communicate with team members, and share files—all in one organized, central location.
Given all these features, it’s hard for even the tiniest details to fall through the cracks. You and your team members can stay on top of your areas of responsibility.
Of course, the best way to determine if monday.com is the project management tool for you is by testing it in real life. Create a monday.com trial account. It’s easy, it’s free, and it doesn’t require a credit card.