So which one worked the best, on average? None of the above, unfortunately. It was a decidedly low-tech PM approach, notionally borrowed from a past A/V production department, which seemed to yield the best results. This department had a huge blackboard that it used to track personnel used for its projects. People referred to it each and every day as they walked past it (it was in a “lobby” between the offices), and there was never an excuse to double-book a team member or forget a deadline. I adapted a version of it for a whiteboard, using standard planner-style methodologies. I began to refer to it as a “warboard”, which lent a certain urgency and importance to it.
How to create one? Well, put up a whiteboard in a place that each member of the team visits or passes several times a day, such as a production room, a hallway, or even a lunch room. It should be a fairly short walk from any of the offices, and front-of-mind. It should be a large board (minimum 5 feet wide): if you only have small ones, put up two or even three. Devote half the space to the “hard landscape”, a two-month block calendar with deadlines, employee in/out days, holidays, and major resource allocations (such as a boardroom or a major piece of equipment in use). The other half, devote to the projects and team members. Write down each major project, the team for each one, and the deadline. Then for each team member, write down their next two or three actions. The PM should update these lists whenever tasks are completed or set; he or she should also have a “master list” on file for project tasks –this can come from a Gantt chart– as well as a list of all reference materials and to whom they are loaned.
This looks like a keeper.