Categories
Legal Document Management System Productivity

What to Do if Your Remote Team’s Feedback Loop Sucks

remote-team-feedback

You’re working on a vital project. Jon’s just completed the edits on the ebook you’re supposed to publish tomorrow, but Mary has no idea. She’s working on an entirely different task no one knows exists.

So, there you are, waiting all afternoon for Mary to give you the final approval on the ebook layout, wasting time on reddit.

Her Slack’s set to away, and you can’t remember whose responsibility it is anyway, so you assume everything’s probably going to be alright. There are enough memes to keep you busy while you wait.

The morning comes. Your boss is fuming. You can feel his anger through Slack. “We’re supposed to be sending this book to our email lists right now — why isn’t it ready?”.

Jon thinks Mary was supposed to do it. You think it’s Jon’s fault. Mary’s gone silent. You all hate each other a little bit right now.

The reason this whole mess was allowed to happen is because of a poor feedback loop.

A feedback loop is the process of communication that happens around a shared task or project. If one person’s responsible for finalizing edits, they need to let the next person know their progress because the work all depends on a sequence of tasks completed in order.

If you’ve ever been part of a situation like that (I know I have), then it’s because your team’s feedback loop is broken. That’s ok. It’s easily done in remote teams. In this article, I’m going to go through a few measures we take at Process Street to stop this kind of thing happening.

The cure for no feedback loop: set expectations right now

In an office, you might mention to someone on your way to the keyboard vending machine that you’ve just got done with whatever they were waiting on you for. Remotely, there aren’t too many opportunities for natural conversation. That means you should make sure your team is keeping records updated. Whether that’s commenting in Trello or another project management app, the team needs to know that task updates go in one concrete place that everyone can see.

If you’re using Trello, comment on the card then drop a link to the card in Slack — your team’s group channel, not direct — and then whoever’s up next on the task can get the information they need and know where they should update you. This is the sort of information that should go in your employee onboarding process so there’s no chance for confusion.

The cure for a slow feedback loop: daily standup meetings

They’re not just a developer thing. A daily standup meeting gets everybody in the habit of communicating properly. It works like this; you get on a group call in the morning, and the team leader addresses each member one-by-one. They ask:

  • What did you get done yesterday?
  • What are you working on today?
  • What do you need help with?

Standup meetings are a key part of Agile methodology, a set of project management guidelines that aims to abolish radio silence, long sessions of unchecked work and slow feedback loops. Usually, it’s used by developers but we adapt it into our marketing process because developers always get all the fun.

A tool like appear.in or Google Hangouts is ideal for standup meetings because you get a fixed link for the team, and you can pop in or out at any time. Get everyone to add the link as a calendar event timed for 9am, so when the notification goes off, your team can hop onto the call and get going as quickly as possible.

By putting what everyone has accomplished into context, the team knows what their next task will be and the gap between iterations will be 1 day at most. This isn’t a substitute for centralizing your updates in Trello or another project management app, but it does make damn well certain that everyone is one the same page because notifications are easy to ignore.

The systems you need to put into place

You can’t expect your whole team to become master communicators overnight. You’ll need to lay the foundations, first.

At a bare minimum, you need all to be using the same shared task list that allows for comments and @mentions. On top of this, agree on a fixed chat app and a fixed video chat room for notifications and standup meetings. The chat app should have a group for your team where all team project work is discussed, so members are passively updated as work happens.

A fluffier, harder to grasp system you need in place is teamwork and rapport. It’s hard to grasp because there’s a difference between professional communication and being friends at work. It really helps to try and make friends, and usually contributes to a more relaxed and productive environment. The content creation team at Process Street gets on nicely. We have custom emojis. We sometimes Photoshop each other’s faces onto inanimate objects. This sort of thing helps free communication.

Another thing you could try to get everybody talking is recognizing achievements in company channels. When the group chat is filled with positive messages, people want to contribute to the conversation and it feels natural to keep your team in the loop and look out for each other.

Celebrating achievements also inadvertently announces progress on a project, even though its main purpose is to give a great employee the recognition they deserve.

Final thoughts on solving feedback loop problems

Not all remote teams are created equal. You’ll have members with all kinds of different experience, personalities and habits.

Understanding this is important when solving communication problems, but it’s key to remember that it’s all about encouraging the development of productive habits in your team.

Implement these guidelines, and you’ll never have to deal with awkward ‘I thought you were supposed to do it’ moments again.

Categories
Legal Document Management System

Business Document Management Software

Businesses of various sizes need to introduce some kind of document administration system. A document management system (DMS) is how a company’s computer network can save and access applications and documents for many workers situated anywhere in the world. This could function as the actual computer network within a building or the large worldwide network that multinational corporations may have for their workers in the United States Of America, India, Brazil. A working document administration system has security controls that only their workers can have access to through their community and auditing mechanism to enable them to view activities performed within the network.

The following are the benefits of DMS:
– A company saves money and space on computer storage by having information stored right into a network instead of actual drives. In addition, a company can reduce their paper wastes by relying on documents being digitized onto a document administration system.

– An employee can search and access important files from their computer system. No time is wasted going through file cabinets to search for papers or to search workplaces just to find records.

– Managers can identify when somebody is accessing documents using security and audit controls.

– Offers excellent record keeping in accordance with electronic parcel service. Thus, if a file is deleted, there are simple procedures to be followed in order to recover files, especially if these documents are required by the authorities from regulatory agencies.

Business Document Management Software

Additional reading: http://www.fedex.com/us/officeprint/commsols/industries/

Categories
Legal Document Management System

Automated Document Management System

Document automation (also called document assembly) is the design of systems and workflows that assist in the establishment of digital documents. Included in these are logic-centered systems using segments of preexisting documents or information to be integrated into new files. This procedure is progressively used within specific groups to assemble letters, contracts and legal instruments. Document automation systems can also be used to automate information featured within a series of files, variable and conditional documents.

Automation systems allow businesses to reduce data entries and the time spent proof-reading documents, and minimize the risks related to human error. Added advantages include: savings in terms of time and money due to reduced paper-handling, file-loading, storage, distribution, postage/delivery, facsimiles, waste, work and phone.

Record Modelling is an Important Part of Record Automation.

Record modelling examines the basic arrangement in files. It looks at the arrangement in content rather than the arrangement in file formatting which is the classic domain of word-processing tools. Since file content is frequently viewed as the temporary effect of a creative process, the art of file modelling is still in its initial stage of development. Most file modelling comes in a types of file templates evidenced most generally as word-processing documents, refillable PDF types and now XML templates. The specific strength of XML in this context is the way it can form document elements in a tree-like arrangement, and its distinct separation of content and fashion.

Automated Document Management Software

Supplemental reading – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Document_modelling

Categories
Legal Document Management System

Document Management for Law Firms

Reliance on digital communications such as word processors, email,etc. without a corresponding strategy for managing the document they produce causes a unique array of issues to occur.

Through enterprise document management, establishing routine workflow becomes easy and thus could ultimately increase productivity and reduce operational expenses, particularly materials documents that production requires. This is especially true with companies striving to ensure that beneficial alternatives can be maintained.

Even documents that aren’t controlled by legal or governmental entities should comply with confidentiality standards. Generally, electronic content can be obtained more easily than paper files and records. Lawyers may use EDM to establish the kinds of document that must be given privacy.

Regulations over confidential reports are prevailing over businesses. Flexible customizable EDM options enable companies to comply with regulations and check when documents have been managed in accordance with such regulations.

Compliance with reports confidentiality requires that specific documents are accessible not only to authorized employees, but also to authorized persons working outside the business organization. Enterprise document management system takes into account critical aspects of documents that can be accessed, thus reviewed or revised.

Enterprise document management provides the required paper trail to trace up how the documents have been managed, particularly the revisions that could be done by different authorized users. It is important to know which part of the documents contain approved revisions and which part of the document differs from the original content.

It is never economical to manage and store massive volumes of papers/documents. Added costs include payments to couriers and off-site storage to easily retrieve such documents.

With the implementation of an enterprise document management system, companies may take advantage of its efficiencies in documents safekeeping facilities over centralized/high-speed network of data storage systems capable of containing large volumes (terabytes) of digital information.

Authorized personnel could save and access multiple copies of documents on cost-effective data storage systems and could maintain productivity even when there are occurrences of natural and man-made catastrophes, and other misfortunes even in the legal aspects of documents management.

When tens of thousands of documents stored in boxes and file cabinets, it could still be a challenging task to know when a number of these documents have to be eliminated. Utilizing the digital retention scheduling of the Enterprise document Management program can ease that burden.

Many companies use case management applications to track problems from beginning to end of the document processing, however, actions pertaining to specific documents are frequently tied to or required by the procedural examination or information-tour through the document management system. If the documents are paper-established, information should be inputted manually (and correctly) into the situation management program.

Current EDM systems can incorporate using a company’s situation management system so that, for instance, when actions are taken on an electronic document, the case management program triggers off alerts to signify the case has entered the next phase in the document management process.

Many EDM systems also align well with other IT initiatives. For instance, if a company’s IT department can virtualize its data-centers, it can also virtualize its document management system.

Check out this Document Management System for Law FirmsEDM