You save a draft of a new product design and send it out to the team. A couple of colleagues add comments and edits and send their updates back to the group as an attachment. And just like that, there are now three versions in circulation.
As more team members add their feedback, the versions multiply like bacteria, and soon, nobody knows which file is the “real” up-to-date version.
This is a classic example of what happens when project information and communication are fragmented and siloed. The same thing happens when you don’t CC all relevant team members on an email about a project or when two people change a task’s due date during a Slack conversation and forget to let everyone else know.
When you can’t quickly find all the relevant info you need for a project, problems can crop up for both team members and managers alike. Team members regularly spend extra time chasing down current info to do their jobs—one study showed 49% of employees spend 30 minutes to two hours every day doing so. And the pressure to control all the minute details of a project can tempt even the best managers to transform into micromanagers.
That doesn’t sound like a good way to do things, does it?
But it doesn’t have to be this way. When you prioritize making information visible, you end up with happier, more productive teams.
Here are 3 reasons why your org needs to go all-in on visibility.
1. Visibility Fosters Accountability
One way that visibility helps teams is by acting as an accountability partner. When workloads, project milestones, and due dates are out in the open for anyone to see, it encourages people to bring their A-game.
According to an OSU study, we’re more likely to hit our goals when we share them with higher-status individuals. “Higher-status individuals” could mean your own manager or supervisor, but it doesn’t have to—the study’s authors say it can be anyone whose opinion you care about. Maybe it’s a senior team member or an executive sponsoring your project. That’s why it’s important that you make work information visible to everyone—that way, all team members know supervisors, colleagues, and even other teams can see their work.
Accountability also boosts employee engagement and happiness. Research shows that 85% of employees are happier when they see their colleagues take ownership of their work, and accountability helps over 82% feel more engaged at work. And it’s well known that engaged employees are far less likely to quit than disengaged ones. Greater visibility means greater accountability and engagement with less turnover.
How Trello Generates Visibility and Accountability
Trello Enterprise delivers on visibility, offering teams multiple ways to view tasks in their current projects and workflows.
Timeline view encourages everyone to set realistic expectations about how much time they need for their project tasks. It also makes it easy for all team members to see when different parts of a project should be completed. This helps to keep projects on schedule.
For example, let’s say there’s a task that has to happen before the next one can start, and its deadline leaves very little room for error (or sick days). Team members can spot the potential time crunch before it happens and proactively offer to lend a hand.
Dashboard view helps team members and leaders see how many (and which) cards are overdue or have blockers. It can also show how many tasks are on each team member’s plate.
This makes it easy to collaborate: if team leaders spot a team member who’s overloaded, they can offer to help, or team members can see if they’re approaching max bandwidth and reach out to someone who might be able to assist.
2. Visibility Creates Transparency
Transparency is another big benefit of creating visibility at work.
When everyone is working off the same single source of truth, they can more easily see when projects change. For example, if a key task gets delayed, team members can quickly adjust their work priorities and schedules to accommodate the change.
Transparency also creates opportunities for team members to observe and learn from each other. As one Harvard Business School study points out, transparency and visibility into processes can improve observers’ motivation, self-worth, and identification with the customer. Plus, it can help employees better match their own efforts to those processes.
This kind of transparency also helps create psychological safety—the belief that the team will not embarrass, reject, or punish you for speaking up. This is a major part of a positive employee experience.
According to the NeuroLeadership Institute, transparency:
- Boosts employees’ creativity by making them feel safe
- Removes ambiguity, helping employees feel more certain and accepted by their colleagues
- Fosters a healthy balance between exclusion and overinclusion
How Trello Creates Transparency
Trello Enterprise’s new views are all about pulling back the curtains and creating more transparency.
For example, with Table view, team members across different departments can get a high-level picture of where things stand for the parts of a project that matter most to them, separating the signal from the noise.
This is especially helpful for remote and hybrid teams—no more trying to sync up calendars when you have a quick question about a project, no more losing a day while you wait on someone to eventually get back to your email or chat. You can get the info you need right from Trello and keep humming along.
3. Visibility Makes Managers Better
Managers have a difficult job—they have to motivate their team, coach team members, oversee multiple projects, communicate up to their superiors/execs, and more.
With so many demands on their time, the temptation to micromanage is always lurking—especially now that remote work has increased.
Chances are, you already know that giving in to that temptation is a bad idea. But you might not realize just how bad: micromanaging costs companies billions of dollars in lost productivity by pulling employees away from productive work.
Micromanaging not only ticks off employees but also keeps them from getting more done. In fact, a 2020 Harvard Business Review study showed that the COVID-19 pandemic made knowledge workers more productive by cutting down on the number of meetings.
When managers have visibility into their teams’ work, they don’t have to pester people for status updates. They can see whether one of their team members is overloaded or when a project is under-resourced. They can get a bird’s-eye view of how a project is coming along without dragging everyone into a soul-sucking status update meeting.
Visibility also makes it easier for managers to empower and trust their teams, which can be a big win for lowering turnover and cutting personnel costs. According to a BambooHR study, 72% of non-managers say a boss who appears to not trust or empower them is “not acceptable or a deal-breaker that would make them want to quit.”
How Trello Makes Managers Better
Trello Enterprise’s new views make it easy to have all the information a would-be micromanager would want... without having to actually be a micromanager.
Timeline view makes it easy to identify tasks that lack start or due dates and may have slipped through the cracks during planning. That way, managers can work with their teams to figure out how those tasks slot into the overall project schedule.
Spotting potential timeline problems early can be the difference between delivering a product in time for its splashy launch and having to delay the rollout, creating chaos across all the teams whose work depended on hitting that release date.
Dashboard view makes reporting and communicating up easy—no more looking for the right Google Sheet and then trying to pick through everything to find the most important information. When managers get a one-line email from an exec asking what’s happening with a project, they can quickly find and relay essential details.
Of course, if you happen to like how spreadsheets function, Trello’s got you covered, too. Table view gives you that familiar grid layout while presenting information more richly with smarter filters, helping you see how all the pieces fit together across projects and boards.
Start Creating Visibility Today
Every company has an opportunity to make its information more visible and easier to access. You won’t get from zero to 100% visibility overnight or in one step—but when you start with the basics, share your goal/vision with your people, and work to continuously improve visibility, you’ll be amazed at the results.
Learn more about Trello’s new visibility-boosting views, available to Enterprise customers.
Good or bad, we’d love to hear your thoughts. Find us on Twitter (@trello)!