Planning and managing a project in any business, big or small, is critical to getting things done. It can be a chaotic process if not handled the right way. So many things can go array if everyone on your team isn’t on the same page whether it be scheduling conflicts, missed email, someone not having access to critical information, etc.
With G Suite, you can kiss all of these problems goodbye. Let’s take a look to see how you can plan and manage a project from start to finish more efficiently and easily keeping your team on the same page throughout the process.
To get the process started, you’ll want to create an email group. You can send email to your team using one email address, making sharing super easy by setting up a Google Groups email list.
A cool feature about email groups in G Suite is that when you add a new member, that member automatically gains access to all of the previous content shared with the group, effectively saving you a ton of time getting the new members up to speed.
How to Create a Google Email Group
- In Groups, click CREATE GROUP.
- Enter a group name and group email address.
- If you want to, add a description of the group. You can also set the group’s primary language.
- Next to Group type, select Email list.
- Next to Basic Permissions, choose who can view topics, post, and join the group. For more information, see Get started with Groups.
- Click CREATE.
- Click Invite people to join the group.
- Enter email addresses of the people you want to invite to join the group.
- Click Send invites.
Create a Project Calendar
Create a team calendar to track your projects, meetings, milestones, and tasks and share it with the individuals you are working with to complete the projects at hand.
How to Create a Calendar with Google Calendar
Create a team calendar:
- Open Google Calendar, and on the left next to Add calendar, click More > New calendar.
- Name the calendar and add a description.
- Click Time zone and select your time zone.
- Click Create calendar. Your new calendar appears under My calendars.
- (Optional) To update any calendar preferences, point to it and click More > Settings.
You can create as many calendars as you want using the same process!
Share a team calendar:
- Under My calendars, point to the calendar you want to share, and click More > Settings and sharing.
- Choose an option:
- To share with individuals—Under Share with specific people, add the person or the email address of the person you want to share with, and click Add people > Send.
- To change wider sharing settings—Under Access permissions, select Make available to public or Make available for organization name.
Set Up Periodic Check- In Meetings
Schedule team meetings to make sure everyone is on the same page throughout the project timeline using Google Calendar and Google Hangouts Chat or Video conference calls connecting them wherever they are. You can Create the meeting in your team calendar. Send an invitation to everyone at once using your team’s Google Groups email address.
Creating an Event in your Team Calendar
- In Calendar, click an empty time slot in the calendar grid and click Event. You can also click Create .
- Add an event title, date, and time.
- (Optional) To create an event using another calendar, next to your name, click the Down arrow and select the calendar.
- Click More options or Save.
Create a Team Site!
Custom build a team site / dashboard where everyone you work with can access relevant information, projects and resources. This can be done by using Google Sites where you can add text, pictures, buttons, links, drive files, embed videos, etc all while making it look however you want.
Click HERE to check out more about Google Sites.
Now that we are all finished setting up the framework, let’s get started with Storing your files.
Create a Project Folder in Google Drive
Use Google Drive to store all of your project files in a shared project folder in My Drive or Team Drives.
Working with a team, it is best in this situation to put the Folder in Team Drives and add all of your team members to it so they can easily access any files put into the folder to simplify sharing.
If you haven’t already, create a Team Drive and add members. Give all members at least Contributor access so they can collaborate on files. For instructions, see Get started with Team Drives. Then, create folders in the Team Drive and add files.
Create a new folder:
- On the left, click a Team Drive or existing folder.
- Click New > Folder.
- Enter a folder name and click Create.
Upload an existing folder from your computer:
- On the left, click a Team Drive folder.
- On your computer, drag an existing folder into a Team Drive. Or, click New > Folder upload. Navigate to the folder and open it.
Add files to a Team Drive:
Requires at least Contributor access
Any files you add are owned by the team. If you leave the Team Drive, your files remain.
- On the left, click a Team Drive.
- Drag an existing file (that you own*) from your computer or from My Drive into a Team Drive. Or, click New and choose an option:
- To create a file, select the file type you want to create, such as Google Docs.
- To upload a file, click File upload. Navigate to the file and open it.
- Double-click a file to open and edit it.
If the project got started before setting up your Google Drive folder, it is important to gather all of your existing project files and put them in the Shared folder for easy team access.
The best way to find specific files in Drive, especially when you have to go through hundreds of files, is the Drive Search bar.
Search for files or folders in Drive:
- In the Drive search box, enter a word or phrase.
To help you search faster, Drive suggests search terms as you enter text.
- Click a suggestion to open it or click Search to see a list of results.
Use advanced search options:
- On the right of the search box, click the Down arrow
Choose any option or combination of options to filter your results further.
- Type—Search by file type.
- Owner—Search by file owner.
- Location—Search by location (including items in the Trash or Starred). You can only search for folders that are in My Drive or Team Drives. If you want to search a folder that is shared with you, you need to add the folder to My Drive first.
- Date modified—See items that were recently modified by anyone (not just you).
- Item name—Search for a term in the file name.
- Has the words—Search for files that contain certain words.
- Shared with—Search for someone that has access to the file.
- Follow up—Search for files you own with suggestions, or files with action items assigned to you.
- Click SEARCH.
Move a file to a folder in My Drive:
- Select the file.
- Click More > Move to designated file share folder.
- Select the folder and click Move or Move here.
You can also drag files and folders to a folder in My Drive on the left.
Attach project files to meetings in Calendar
You can add files to your meeting invite like meeting notes, email attachments, and current project plans so your team can be ready to fully discuss the issues at hand before the actual meeting. Helping everyone be efficient and productive with their time.
- In Calendar, create or open an event.
- In the Add description section, click Attach (paperclip).
- Select a file and click Save.
Creating a Project Plan
You can map out your project plan an add tasks by utilizing Google Sheets.
After you’ve created the sheet, add it to your Team Drive or Share Folder.
Create a project plan:
- In Google Drive, click New > Google Sheets > Blank spreadsheet.
- Click Untitled spreadsheet and enter a new title for your project plan.
- Add column headings. For example, you might track the tasks for a project and include columns for task owner, due date, status, and comments.
- Add content to the sheet to track the project plan. After you share the sheet, other people can add content as well.
Adding task descriptions
Some column headings and tasks may need more explaining. No worries! You can add a note to it by:
- Select the cell(s) that you want to add a note to.
- Click INSERT> Notes
- Type your description
- Click anywhere outside of the note to close it.
Adding List Options
You can let people choose from the options in a list within the spreadsheet
This is useful for tracking progress in a project plan and creating status columns (Started, In Progress, Completed)
Create lists in a cell:
- Select the column where you want to add the choices.
- Click Data > Data validation.
- Next to Criteria, select List of items.
- Enter the choices separated by commas.
- Click Save.
- (Optional) To see the choices, click the arrow in a cell under the column.
Adding Progress Trackers
See how your project tasks are progressing with conditional formatting rules. For example, add colors to make completed tasks stand out from tasks that haven’t been started or are in progress.
Set up progress trackers:
- Open Sheets and select the column that you want to apply the formatting rules to.
- Select Format > Conditional formatting.
- Set up the rules. In this example, you assign a different color to tasks that are Complete, Not started, or In progress:
a. On the Single color tab, under Format cells if, select Text contains.
b. In the box under Text contains, type Complete.
c. Under Formatting style, click the list to choose if you want the background or text to be colored.
d. To assign a custom text or background color, click Text color or Fill color (the paint can). If needed, you can specify a color for the text and a color for the background.
e. If you want to add more rules, click Add another rule and follow the same steps. For example, assign a red background to Not started tasks and an orange background to In progress tasks.
f. Click Done.
Get updates on your projects with email notifications! You’ll know when someone’s made a change to your project plan, who and when they made it, and what exactly changed. You can also choose how often you want to be notified.
- In the spreadsheet, select Tools > Notification rules.
- Select when and how often you want to receive notifications.
- Click Save.
- Click Done.
Most of this blog has covered the material regarding how to best setup a project using G Suite Apps like Sheets, Forms, Drive and Calendar. Now we can actually get into Managing these projects. The set up part takes the most work, but once everything is in place it is very easy to Track, Change and Collaborate with your team to get the job done.
Get Status Updates on Tasks
In Sheets you can open your project plan and change the status
Sending Status updates before a Team Meeting
- Open your project calendar
- Double click on the designated team meeting
- Under “Guests” click “Email”
- Enter your latest status updates
You can also communicate with your team via Hangouts Chat to talk quickly and update statuses on the fly!
Notifying Team Members
You can of course compose an email using your contact group, but you can also email members from your Team Drive.
- Click your Team Drive
- Click the down arrow and there’s an option to “Email Members”
- Change the subject and enter your message
- Click send and everyone in the team drive will get your email!
Finalizing Shared Documents
When you are FINALLY finished collaborating with your team you can change your share settings or archive your project files so other collaborators won’t be able to edit the Final Drafts of files.
click here to learn more about sharing a final document in the Google Learning Center.
Creating an End of Project Report
When your project is finalized, you can create a Post Project Presentation to share and collaborate on with your team. For example, you might review what was done, why it was done, what went well and what didn’t, and next steps.
You can create effective, collaborative presentations that everyone can contribute to in real time with Google Slides.
You can also create end of project surveys using Google Forms and save the input to a linked Google Sheet for future innovation and efficiency.