By now, you know that BuildBook is a powerful tool to keep your clients informed, accountable, and happy -- but did you know it could do the same for your internal team? Using BuildBook’s suite of features and the time-tested Agile process, you can increase your team’s efficiency, prevent costly delays, and run better projects.
In this post, we’ll cover:
- Setting up your Pro Team
- The basics of creating a Project
- Setting expectations your team
- Agile communication best practices
Pro Tip: If you're new to this style of project management, check out our Agile Series here.
Step 1: Invite Your Pro Team
Once you create your BuildBook Pro account, tap on your avatar in the top left of the “My Projects” screen to view your Account Settings. Under Company Profile, tap Users + Invites. Next, tap that big plus, add your colleague’s email address in the pop-up, and hit “send.” Repeat this step for every person you want to add to your internal team.
Remember: Pro Team members are your trusted colleagues and employees -- not just any sub on a project (and definitely not your clients). Team Members can create Projects and change your Team settings -- so invite with discretion.
Step 2: Create a New Project
Next, we’re going to turn a basic BuildBook Project into a lean-but-powerful team-management tool.
From the “My Projects” main screen, tap the big orange plus. Then complete the following steps:
- Project Type: select “Other Renovation” (ok, it’s not exactly true, but it’ll do for now)
- Project Location: feel free to skip this step, or just use your business’ main address
- Project Name: type “[Your Company Name] Team Space”
You can skip the last two steps because your entire Pro Team is automatically added to the Project.
Step 3: Set Expectations
The most important part of adopting a new process and communication is telling everyone involved exactly what’s changing, when, how, and why. First, create a new post in your team project so anyone who joins knows right away what’s up.
Tap on the Project name and then tap the orange button on the bottom of the screen. Select “Post” and type an announcement to the team explaining how you’ll use the app. Here’s some suggested copy:
Welcome to BuildBook. From now on, we’ll use this project for all of our internal communication. Use it to post project updates, questions, photos, and documents. When action is needed, we can assign tasks to each other to keep track.
Along with this new tool, we’ll be adopting what’s called the Agile process: the gist of it is more frequent communication in short, controlled bursts, ensuring that we all know what’s happening on our projects. The promise is that it’ll reduce project delays, overages, and other things that make our clients -- and our jobs -- miserable.
Questions? Tap below to comment on this post (pro tip: you can add photos), and read these articles to learn more about the basics of using BuildBook: https://help.buildbook.co/en/collections/1591505-understanding-the-basics-of-buildbook
Thanks for your patience and support as we get up and running here. More to come.
Now that the project has some info in it, let’s make sure your team is aware of what’s going on. Send an email to everyone you invited in Step 1 explaining the shift to BuildBook. We recommend something like this:
I just set up an account with BuildBook -- an app designed to help us better manage our clients, subs, and projects. An added benefit is that it can help our team communicate and collaborate as well. By now, you’ve received an email invite to join BuildBook; please accept that invite and download the app.
Once you’re in the app, check out the project called [Your Company Name] Team Space. In that project, I created a post explaining how I plan to use BuildBook for internal communication. Please read that thoroughly. If you have questions, you can comment directly on that post.
To make this work, we need to commit to using BuildBook for all written communication. It’s easy to use, and has many benefits over text and email, so I expect the transition to be smooth.
See you there,
After you send that to the team, head back to the app to continue on to Step 4.
Step 4: Snackable Updates
One premise of Agile is that the longer you wait to do something, the more the scope of the effort increases -- along with the margin of error. So we aim to decrease the effort of communicating by doing it more often.
So in Agile, we check-in -- very briefly -- every day, just to make sure everything is on task. This is called “the Standup”: in it, you’ll cover what each team member worked on yesterday, what they’re working on today, and whether they are blocked by anyone/anything.
Important note: calling out “blockers” forces your team to acknowledge early and often if they’re waiting on someone else, or if they need you to step in. Sometimes, the blocker is unavoidable -- like the weather or shipment delay -- but at least you’ll know whether to communicate that to your subs and your clients.
To get going, first create a post explaining the standup to your team. Try this:
Today we’re kicking off a new Agile method called the Standup. Each weekday at 9:30am, I’ll create a new post to update you on my progress, my priorities, and if I’m blocked (or delayed) by anything. Short and to the point, like this:
Yesterday, I worked on [your response].
Today, I’m working on [your response].
I am blocked by [your response].
Ok, team -- your turn.
The key to making any habit stick is to make it predictable and persistent -- so post your Project updates each day at the same time, and require your team to do the same. The rewards will become clear in due time: likely within the first couple weeks, you’ll start to hear themes and be able to spot recurring blockers or lapses in communication.
Step 5: Reset, Recap, Wrap, and Celebrate
The standup is a great low-touch way to stay in touch with your team -- and the benefits are amplified by occasional, larger updates. Mondays are great for setting up expectations for the week and letting your team know about any major changes -- like a new project starting, a change in scope on a project, or a material change in schedule.
We recommend creating a “week-ahead” post Sunday night or first-thing Monday morning, inviting your team to chime in with any major changes you’re not aware of. If you need something from someone on your team -- say, a signed contract or a project update -- tap the “+”, choose Task, and create a new task assigned to them.
Then, on Friday, it’s time to celebrate: wrap up your week with a post calling out notable progress, major wins, and kudos to team members. This is a great use of Photos -- share site updates, before-and-afters, and selfies. (Ok, maybe not the last one.)
Bonus Tip: Shared Documents
Most teams need access to the same files all the time, and a lot of internal effort is wasted in asking for, seeking out, and re-sending those files. But with BuildBook, you can easily store common documents like pricing sheets, blank contracts, and selections lookbooks. And when viewing the file, your team can download it, save to Dropbox or Drive, or forward it via email or SMS.
Just email your files to [email protected] and then look for them in Account Settings, under Pending Documents.
So that’s a lightning-fast intro to Agile communication. Try it for a couple weeks and we’re confident you’ll start to see improvements in your team’s awareness of projects, progress, and priorities. If you want some tailored advice for how to run a better shop, click the orange chat icon on the right to reach out to us.