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Manage a team using Gmail

If you're a manager in a small company (we define a small company as one that hasn't been forced to deploy an organization-wide project/task manager), then you'll know that using Gmail to check project progress is both intuitive and full of little frustrations.

Fortunately, ActiveInbox was designed in part to help manage our own company, and so it can help you…

Make sure that colleagues reply to you

When you send the email, or a reply, that you need a reply to, then:

  • If it's time-sensitive, give it a Due Date. It'll then appear on your Today list when it's due.
  • Otherwise mark it as Waiting On. You can then check your Waiting On list in the future for anyone that hasn't replied.

It's a good idea to add a To Do to remind you what to do when they reply (or otherwise after a few days you may have forgotten, and will waste time trying to remember).

As an extra safety net, ActiveInbox will also show you the number of outstanding tasks for a person everytime you reply to them (in the blue rectangle next to their name). Use this to check if they haven't replied to anything, and if so, give them a nudge in the email you're writing.

Always know what to do next

It's very important to be able to scan your task list and instantly know what the task is about. But this is difficult with email subjects, which a lot of the time you didn't write, and quickly become irrelevant as the conversation evolves.

Instead, write To Dos for each email, and ActiveInbox will prominently show you the next To Do for each task in your task list.

You can also prioritize your task list, by dragging the most urgent task to the top.

Move your projects forward by communicating in Gmail

If you're very project focused, you can easily create projects, and then see them listed in your Gmail sidebar.

Just click the 'Project' dropdown in a conversation, and you can create a new project. You can also create sub projects by using a forward slash in the name - e.g. Project/Sub Project (you can even use this just for representing big tasks that span several emails).

To view the project, click into it from the top Review Bar (or our sidebar - just click the bottom-left cube).

You might find it helpful to group you Today view into a section for each Project. Just click the 3-line menu icon in the Today view, and select to Group By Project.

Integrating Gmail with your project manager

We realise that a lot of companies will have a separate project manager for team collaboration. To make it as easy as possible to keep that 'backbone' tool up to date with your most recent discussions, we want to integrate project managers into Gmail.

If you want a particular tool integrating, please tell us on the forum (and if someone else has already nominated a tool, please join their discussion).