There’s a fair amount of overlap between collaborative work management, project management, and task management, although they each have different objectives.
Equally, many of the software solutions available on the market today including Monday, contain features that enable all three workflows to a greater or lesser extent.
However, the focus of this article is collaborative work management, and how Monday facilitates it alongside features in the project and task management domains.
What is collaborative work management?
Gartner defines collaborative work management solutions as task-driven workspaces that support business users in work planning and execution.
The best performing products in the market offer a combination of features, most notably the below:
- Project planning and workflows – Gantt charts, kanban boards, and workflow timelines
- Task management – to-do lists, assignees, progress tracking, and deadlines
- Cross-team engagement – notifications, discussions/messaging, access controls, and file sharing
- Data analytics – custom and out-of-the-box reports and dashboards
- Integrations with third-party applications – email, calendars, CRM, documents, and other collaborative work management tools
- Mobile app – dedicated mobile apps on iOS and Android offering a strong level of functionality comparable to the desktop experience
Monday offers all of the above, plus a lot more
Let’s walk through some of the ways Monday has implemented these features and demonstrate how effective they can be for improving team productivity.
Project planning and workflows
Monday enables the essential high-level view of a project. To facilitate this view, planning is critical to articulate all of the necessary work throughout the project lifecycle.
If you’re looking to more efficiently manage a project, then jumping straight into the project board workspace is the best approach.
In the above screenshot of “Dean’s Big Project”, I’m using groups to represent project stages (in this case Planning, Execution, Launch, and Monitoring). Within those groups are activities that represent large tasks and can be broken down into smaller tasks.
I’ve created several activities against each group, assigning owner(s), and setting the status, priority, timeline, and cost.
Once you have the basic structure in place, you can adjust the project and activities into different visualizations, such as a kanban board, Gantt chart, or workload view.
You can create and manage tasks in various ways via Monday. For example, they can exist as part of a project, or entirely independently (as tasks not related to anything else), similar to a basic to-do list.
If you recall in the previous section, I mentioned activities can exist as large tasks and broken down into smaller tasks. What’s intuitive about the Monday task management setup, is that upon creating a task board workspace for your team, you can connect each “small” task to an activity (and therefore to a separate workspace).
If you’re presenting the 30,000-foot view to your senior stakeholders, the timeline view with the project phases and larger grouped tasks (i.e. activities) provides the visibility needed.
On the other hand, if you’re collaborating with the marketing team on underlying tasks within that domain, then you can drill down into a linked marketing activity to generate a more granular view.
This viewpoint is available via different visualizations too (just like projects), such as a kanban board by “status”.
Monday has team engagement and collaboration features throughout. It’s part of the core offering – being able to do almost everything with your team or stakeholders when it comes to managing your day-to-day work more effectively.
The file sharing capabilities are very flexible – you can upload and manage files on project and task boards. Add them as updates to tasks, and to a particular status of an activity or smaller task. Equally, you can link to attachments from third-party providers such as Dropbox and Google Drive.
Notifications and messaging
Monday has its own notifications system, and you can customize it to trigger notifications for different types of events. Notifications can exist in isolation (within the Monday product itself), or linked to your third-party email.
Additionally, there’s a built-in inbox system that looks similar to a social feed. Depending on your configuration, other users can see and interact with the items delivered to the inbox.
Messaging and discussions with your team are possible via updates in projects and tasks. Although Monday doesn’t have a feature for private/direct messaging, you can integrate with other products that offer these capabilities. See the Integrations section for more details.
Having the ability to control the permissions and access of your workspaces is key. This is particularly important if you have external stakeholders, guests, or other teams accessing Monday, yet you don’t want them to edit certain areas.
An example configuration:
- A project board must have an “owner”, and an owner can do everything on the board
- The owner adds ‘Stakeholder A’ to the project board, and restricts their access to edit specific rows only (i.e. activities they’re the owner of)
- ‘Stakeholder ‘A’ is unable to edit the activities assigned to ‘Stakeholder B’
- The owner creates a task board within the same workspace as the project board, yet only ‘Stakeholder C’ can see the task board, and the owner restricts their access to view it only
It’s great creating workspaces and collaborating on your team’s day-to-day tasks, but doing so in isolation without advanced analytics is somewhat bizarre in today’s data-driven world.
It’s a necessity now for enterprise software products to have the capability to easily and quickly collate data. Moreover, they also need to transform this data into different and meaningful visualizations. When it comes to collaborative work management tools, this often means custom reports and dashboards.
With Monday, dashboards are available and they integrate with many types of widgets containing elements of your workspace data. You can customize the look and feel of the widgets to represent the data in various ways.
Reporting functionality in Monday forms part of the workspace views, as well as the dashboards. For example, using the ‘Main Table’ view on a project board, you can input advanced filters to display data based on column values and conditions.
Equally, you can sort, color, hide, and pin columns to get the required report output. Then, you can select “Save as a new view” to re-use the custom report when needed.
If you discover limitations with the reporting data, then there’s always the option to export it to Excel and manipulate it further.
Integrations with third-party applications
As is the case with custom reporting and dashboards, it’s a standard expectation to connect data from multiple third-party applications to an enterprise tool.
Monday provides third-party integrations in abundance, from email clients and CRM systems to discussion channels and support ticketing platforms. There’s a lot to play with to maximize your team’s collaborative work management practices, and it’s a straightforward “point-and-click” process for most integrations.
You can apply and change particular rules for all integrations, and this can determine how the third-party data is displayed.
Mobile app and functionality
In addition to a browser and desktop app, Monday also offers a mobile app on the iOS and Android platforms. Upon testing on an iPhone (with iOS), the UI is highly responsive and it provides a very similar experience to the desktop-based platforms.
You can comfortably collaborate with teams and maintain productivity while away from your office space.
Extra Productivity Feature – Automation
Implementing automation into your day-to-day can have a huge impact on increasing productivity. Many people often think there’s a lot of effort required to automate their work. There’s an outdated belief that to automate a task, you must be technical and “engineer” a complex process to get things going.
That’s possibly true for automating advanced and distinct processes. However, it’s becoming more common for enterprise software vendors to offer automation features within their own products, and Monday does exactly that.
The Automations Center in Monday enables the ability to automate plenty of (otherwise manual) actions and events. The triggering of the actions and events follows simple logic through a textual sentence structure.
You can automate the triggering of notifications, the shuffling and creation of board items, the assigned person of activities and tasks, and much more.
Starting with Monday
Although Monday can be overwhelming at first, you can put it into practice very quickly (and effectively) with just the basic features. As you become more comfortable with the interface, expanding your setup with the more advanced features won’t take long at all.
Monday offers a 14-day free trial for its Pro features (no credit card required!). If you’re exploring the idea of onboarding a small, medium, or large team to Monday, then this is the perfect way to begin evaluating what you can achieve with the tool.
Upon completing the free trial and deciding to continue, you can sign-up for one of the paid plans. They start at $8 per user per month (minimum of 3 users) for the most basic plan. That plan lends plenty of functionality to appreciate the benefits of a high-quality collaborative work management solution.