Project management for collaboration Fresno 2018

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Principles of Project Managing

  • It doesn’t matter what tools you use, you have to have project managing practices
    • You and your team have to have shared agreements
  • Make it as easy as possible for people to be in the tools together
    • Large groups can be difficult and require compromise
    • Keep it simple, accessibility is key
    • If there are barriers between team members and the tools they won’t be able to effectively join you
  • Basic Must Haves
    • Communications channels - real time (calls, chat groups, etc) and not (email, etc)
    • A place to track progress
    • A shared place for files

Questions from Group

  • “Managing Up” - dealing with leading a project, but not being the top position
    • Responses: Shared agreements (address what happens in these situations from the beginning),
  • Problems with accountability, even with shared agreements
    • Responses: No follow through, be weary of “retreat high” where everyone signs up for everything but then doesn’t come through -- have to recognize that people have good intent. You have to create an environment where people are comfortable with sharing why they weren’t able to complete the project etc. Be sure to maintain communication and be sure that people haven’t taken on too much. Be open to redelegating.
    • Responses: Be aware that work might move slower because people can’t take on new projects
    • Responses: Have a “kick-off” meeting with the entire group where you go over agreements, rules and responsibility, build the environment, find ways to support mutual accountability. Understand people’s motivations. Find the shared purpose.
    • Responses: “When is it a project?” - be aware of when something becomes a project without officially being deemed one
  • Struggling with Project Managers who are unorganized and don’t take the lead where they should/forcing you to manage up
    • Responses: Have a weekly, scheduled one on one check in
    • Responses: 360 staff evaluations
  • Meeting Fatigue - coworkers who don’t read emails, etc. and meetings are wasted recapping information
  • How do you take a breath and celebrate wins
    • Responses: Staff appreciation days
    • Responses: “Fun days”
    • Responses: Celebrate even the small wins
    • Responses: If you can’t devote that much time, it can be as simple as longer breaks, relationship building time, long lunch, no working lunch, communal lunch, etc. (FBU does Monday 15 minutes yoga)
  • Not losing information when staff leaves
    • Responses: Staff binders of all projects, knowledge, etc
    • Responses: Knowledge sharing and handoff meetings

Key Takeaways

  • It’s never too late for a kickoff or reboot meeting where everyone can get on the same page
  • “Move at the speed of trust”
    • You can’t move too fast with groups of people who haven’t developed trust
    • What you want to do will outpace the relationship capacity
  • New staff have to have time to get to know the org, get to know the people, get to know the mission and the faces of those they’re helping
    • Don’t bombard them with only the negatives of the nonprofit world
  • “It feels like nothing got done because the agenda was so packed”
  • POP Model (for meetings, orgs, campaign goals, anything)
    • Purpose, Outcomes, Process
    • Purpose: (It can be for anything) “Why are we here”
    • Outcomes: “What are we going to walk away with”
      • You have to have realistic scoping
    • Process: “What are we going to do to get there”
      • For a meeting, “Process” is the agenda
    • Nobody knows everything, together we know more


  • Asana (Basecamp on steroids) - free for under 15 team members
  • Airtable
  • Nation Builder
  • UKUU (Wordpress Plugin)

Tool Selection:

  • Being clear about the purpose
  • Setting clear guidelines
  • Create a ritual around it
  • Someone needs to do the research to find something that meets everyone’s needs
  • You have to have a clear understanding of your needs
  • Outline to needs assessment toolkit