Email Project Management – Should You Use It?
Email is still perhaps the most common method of communication for teams when reaching out to stakeholders in the business, or to clients. However, this can create a challenge. Switching between emails and task boards – or, worse, trying to copy information from email requests into tasks on your boards – can end up being very time-consuming. It’s also not uncommon for information to be copied incorrectly, leading to the potential for mistakes, or using more time to double-check and correct any errors.
This is why some managers prefer to go back to their inboxes for project management. A trend more widely known as email project management is an answer to cumbersome project management systems and I wanted to explore the reasons behind it.
What is email project management?
Email project management is a project management approach where instead of using a PM tool, everything is done within the email itself.
And by everything, I mean everything – communication, taskmanagement, scheduling, file sharing, analytisis, and more. Instead of going to a proper project or task management solution, managers and teams choose to stay within their emails to perform all these functions.
Now, to be fair, this is certainly not for everyone. Email project management requires very good organization, preparation and commitment from the whole team. Since email is designed with a different function in hand, using it for project management will not come naturally. And if you are not careful, can quickly become very messy.
What to consider for email project management?
If you are set on trying this approach out, there are a few things you will need to check off your list.
First, you have to create a system on how you will manage the workflow within the email. Think about:
- Creating, assigning, and tracking tasks
- Best ways to give feedback and hold discussions
- How are you going to report progress for the customers or the stakeholders
Secondly, you will have to evaluate your email solution to ensure it has everything needed for email project management. No matter, if you are using Outlook or Gmail, here are some ideas what to look for:
- Kanban boards
- Meeting scheduling
- Workflow automation
- Shared inbox
- Creating groups
Third, you will have to prepare the team. Even though you are excited about shedding additional tools and going forward with email project management, your team can have a very different idea. Ensure they are on board, before pushing changes on them.
Email project management through integrations
This is one possible route for email project management, however, it is not the only one. You can still enjoy managing a project from your email account by choosing a task management solution that offers email integration.
By using some form of email integration with your project management software, you can avoid many of the common problems, save valuable time, and concentrate on the project itself rather than administration.
What is email integration in project management software?
Email integration is when you are able to connect email accounts with your project management software, for the purpose of sharing and tracking information and messages related to your project, without forcing everyone to communicate directly through your project management software itself.
This integration allows you to manage projects from your email inbox, and to communicate via email from your project management tool. This way, you can create and assign tasks from your email that shows up automatically in your project management tool.
Benefits of using the email integration
There are several potential benefits of integrating email with your project management software, including:
- Email integration can save you time going outside of your project management software to check project updates. It helps speed up the process of creating and updating tasks, as well as replying to your colleagues directly.
- You can save and store all relevant email messages under the appropriate tasks, making them easier to search and reference if needed.
- You can maintain easy and efficient communication with relevant stakeholders via multiple email providers without forcing them to use a single, centralized comms tool that they don’t know or setting up a specific email address for them.
- It’s convenient for most business users, both internal and external.
- It helps ensure that vital information is tracked by project and task automatically and doesn’t get lost.
- Using Teamhood, you can send emails directly to a specific task board this way automatically creating a new task.
- Using Teamhood’s integration, you can convert email work requests directly into tasks without manually copying information between systems, thus saving time and avoiding the risk of errors.
How and why to use the Teamhood board mailbox
- Create new tasks straight from your inbox
When your team receives work requests via email, or if you have received an urgent task via email, simply forward that email to your Teamhood board mailbox. The tool will convert the subject line, body text, and attachments in that email into a new item.
- Auto-assign new tasks/items
You can also assign tasks to team members in Teamhood by adding them as CC recipients of the email. If that team member’s email address is the same as their Teamhood user email, they are auto-assigned to the item.
- Integrate with external stakeholders
To allow external stakeholders, suppliers, etc., to communicate with your team in Teamhood via email, it’s simple. Navigate to the workspace settings and enable the feature ‘Allow anyone to send emails to boards’.
Copy the board mailbox by opening the Action menu next to the task board’s name and share with those you want to allow to integrate their email with your boards. They will be able to gain access.
Ready to start using email integration in your projects?
Email integration is a great way of making your internal and external communications more efficient, transparent, and fully traceable. Now that you have a good understanding of how to use this feature in Teamhood, and the potential benefits of doing so, take a look at our project management use case to explore more of the benefits of using Teamhood for your projects:
Passionate content marketer looking to bring better solutions to the project management space.
2020 - Present Marketing specialist at Teamhood.
2014 - 2020 Marketing manager for Eylean.