Before I co-founded Rindle, I went to school for telecommunications management. Also known as voice and data communication, this included everything from building cables, installing them, patching them down, and networking computers together. Not the most exciting stuff, but I did successfully land my first job out of college, and my career was on its way.
Even then, I had a natural tendency to take the lead on whatever I was working on. If there was a problem, I was happy to take on the challenge of finding a solution. As internet use grew in popularity, I unexpectedly fell into a project that involved building a web app—something I knew very little about, but I was confident I could figure out. Luckily for me, I was right!
From that point on, I worked my way up, gaining experience with each new project, company, and client with whom I worked. With each step along the way, I was always faced with the same question:
How should we structure our team’s work?
One common thread that I found—and learned the hard way over the years—is that the level of complexity within the work and workflow structure is, at times, unnecessarily high. Either there are crazy amounts of unmanageable projects being created, complex methodologies being implemented without good reason, or just a general lack of structure or what I like to call, “Free For All.”
I quickly learned that keeping things lean, mean, and clean leads to better organization, successful projects, and happier teams.
So, how should we structure our team’s work? That very question is the inspiration behind this ebook. I wanted to take my years of experience and feedback from our customers here at Rindle and offer an easy, simple baseline to follow for structuring your own team’s work.
Why is Structuring Your Team’s Work Important?
Before we get into how to structure your team’s work, let’s talk about why. Structure has a 100% impact on the way your team works, how they get things done and, ultimately, whether or not they accomplish their goals.
The interesting thing about structure is that without it, you run the risk of chaos, confusion, and inefficiency. But too much structure creates barriers for your team, slows down work, and increases frustration.
Both ends of this spectrum stifle productivity. Where you need to be is right in the middle: enough structure to stay organized and get things done but without overdoing it and frustrating the entire team.
So, How Do We Get There?
The methods that I discuss here will help you create a structure that will maximize efficiency and minimize frustration for you and your team. By the time you finish reading, you will have all the tools you need to make implementing your workflow a breeze.
First, we will review the building blocks that make up the very core of your team’s workflow structure. These include the different types of common workflows, projects, and tasks that make up the foundation of how your team operates.
Next, I will show you how those building blocks can be combined in different ways to best fit your team using the holy grail of workflow structures, or what I like to call the Hub & Spoke Model.
Lastly, we will discuss exactly how to blueprint your own workflow following the different examples and practices I have laid out, so that you and your team can be on your way to workflow happiness in no time.
Let’s Lay Some Groundwork
Though many of the concepts we’re going to discuss can be used in different software solutions, I will be using Rindle as the base for the examples provided. In some cases, suggested solutions can only be implemented in Rindle due to proprietary features.
Let’s learn about a couple of Rindle’s features next.
Think of how frustrating it is when you have numerous—often disparate—tasks, projects, and/or deliverables, but no way to manage them effectively. Here at Rindle, we use “boards.” Unlike static lists or outlines, boards are dynamic and flexible, and can organize tasks in many different ways. We favor the term “board” because it represents a simple, organizational entity that is customizable for various use cases.
A typical board might look like this:
One of the things that makes Rindle uniquely powerful is the ability to have tasks exist on more than one board at the same time. Instead of treating boards like a closed ecosystem where what's inside only lives in one place, Rindle boards are more like playlists in iTunes. One song can live in more than one playlist, each in a different position within the playlist.
You can do the same for tasks in Rindle. We call them “mirrors.” An exact mirror of a task in multiple locations.
We've built mirrors into the core structure of Rindle because viewing the same information from multiple perspectives is essential for collaboration. This is especially true in a world where people and teams alike have their own workflow and organizational styles.
Allowing tasks to be mirrored on different boards means different teams can have access to multiple views of the same work, without losing collective view of discussions, history, ownership, or status.
Automations help you streamline a board’s task management process and workflow in a way that makes sense to you, based on rules that you have set. Rather than being forced into adopting a certain process, Rindle’s flexible automations offer you the opportunity to control your workflow and, ultimately, save you time.
Automations are rules that have triggers and actions. For example, a simple rule could be:
Trigger- When a task is moved to the Done list
Action- Mark the task complete
Here are some examples of things you can automate:
- The creation of Tasks and subtasks
- Assigning people to tasks
- Setting the start and due date of a task
- Adding and removing tags
- The creation of mirrors
- And much more...
Okay, the groundwork has been set. Let’s jump in and talk about workflows.