Post 3 placeholder image

3 Management Basics Everyone Needs to Know

Are you managing others? If so, you probably know firsthand that traditional project management is broken. To truly manage a team, you need a new kind of tool—one that's designed to manage people, not projects.

We built out of our own frustrating experiences as managers. We were plagued with emails, meetings, and random check-ins trying to figure out what was going on, and no one ever seemed on top of things. The tools we were using didn't help. At best, they simply listed the work we needed to do; They did not create the sense of control and clarity that we desperately needed.

So we spoke to hundreds of managers and learned how they tackled their top management challenges. We've discovered three fundamental things that help the best managers around the world create happier, more productive and more successful teams. These are the principles we built on, and as of this moment, we have 15,111 teams working smarter and achieving more with

1. Set clear goals

People need a goal to focus on what's important, motivate them toward a concrete outcome, and give them a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment when they reach it. If your goal is as simple as "Finish this list of tasks for the next week," that's fine.

When you manage without a goal, you take on one task at a time. You want to avoid that, as it will cause your team's motivation to wane. Think of climbing a mountain as a team, but instead of seeing the top, managers tell everyone where to step next. Loses team orientation. They don't know how far they have to go, and most importantly, they lose motivation when the climb gets particularly steep. They climb more slowly or drop out altogether. People feel that their work is an endless, futile and boring endeavour, simply because they do not see the bigger picture.

For us, the solution is to build a culture of transparency and that is inherent in our product. A board shows everyone exactly how tasks fit into the larger context of the process, who is responsible for what and where things stand. Even the tallest mountain looks like you can conquer it all together when it's all laid out on a vision board.


2. Manage by time

Without proper time management we lose our sense of control. A detailed project hierarchy never helps planning, because it leaves out the sequence of execution. Real work is always organized by dates and deadlines, so there's no point in starting with a detailed to-do list. Instead, you should plan a detailed list of all the tasks you will complete this week, next week, and the week after. Managing by time creates an achievable goal, a sense of urgency and forces the team to make smart decisions.

We have a great post on how to create a weekly task board for your team; See: 3 Ridiculously Simple Steps to Skyrocket Your Team's Productivity. And last winter, we made time management even easier by releasing our Timeline feature, which is similar to a Gantt chart, except it's simple, intuitive, and focused entirely on people.

3. Give recognition

Validation is one of the most powerful tool managers, but sadly, almost all tools on the market ignore it. What happens when you complete tasks in traditional project management tools? It disappears! This is exactly the opposite of what should happen. A manager should say, "Good job," or at least acknowledge, "Hey, it's done."


Have you heard Dan Ariely's great TED talk on the science of what motivates people? Getting recognized for your work is one of the top factors. takes people's identification needs to a new level. Everyone looks at the weekly task list and when a task is marked as “Done”, it turns green. Everyone knows, and recognition comes from the entire team, not just the manager. It is fast and powerful. As a team, you can focus on the shared goal of going green all week and recognize each other and celebrate together. That's why people say is addictive and makes teams happy.