The concept of project visibility can be tricky to master. The right strategy empowers your team to collaborate with others, increases communication and engagement, and promotes a company culture of transparency and cohesiveness. 

But even still, it’s often overlooked — which can lead to a lack of alignment between team members and overall inefficient project management. In this article, we’ll walk through what project visibility is, how it benefits your team, and the steps you can take to keep everyone on the same page (and on the right track). 

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What is project visibility?

Project visibility is the practice of organizing data and information that helps team members see the big picture of the entire project. Doing so makes it easier to understand the project’s full lifecycle and the progress made because they can see current and next steps — as well as any potential risks. 

True project visibility helps you analyze:

  • Project performance and metrics
  • Resource allocation 
  • Task status and progression
  • Deadline complications and potential risks

An effective strategy includes visually presenting all factors in a centrally available location that every team member can access and understand at-a-glance. Simply put, anyone who needs to see the project information should be able to conveniently do so. 

This kind of visibility does more than drive the success of a single project. It also promotes overall collaboration, accountability, and transparency, which are all components of improving employee satisfaction. When each team member knows what steps need to be taken to accomplish a task and in which order, and whether other tasks have been completed, they’re much more likely to succeed. 

4 components of project visibility

As mentioned above, understanding what exactly project visibility is can be tricky. Let’s break it down by the main factors: 

1. Goal definition: Visibility starts with a clear understanding of high-level goals. What’s the point of the project? What does each task accomplish? Setting project milestones gives your team a true vision of success and sets a clear roadmap of what it takes to get there.  

2. Status updates: In addition to consistent team meetings, written updates and visual dashboards give your team a better sense of project progress. The format you use, whether it’s a shared document or online tool, should be updated in real-time to reflect the current status of the project. 

3. Role identification: Make sure employees are clear on what they’re responsible for and when, and make each individual task visible to the entire team so everyone is on the same page. 

4. Risk documentation: Risks are a factor of every project — but when clearly outlined, they’re easily avoidable. Making the risks public to your team puts more eyes on the issues and gives them a better chance to stop them in their tracks. 

Benefits of project visibility 

Here’s how project visibility benefits your team on a more granular level: 

Clear roadmaps for better collaboration 

Your team can’t collaborate well if they don’t have a solid understanding and vision of what they’re collaborating on. By giving everyone a concrete starting point and direct access to project information, they’ll have a solid place to orient themselves and conduct more productive discussions around each phase of the project. 

More predictable deadlines 

When an employee is blindsided by an upcoming deadline, it’s likely because there wasn’t true visibility into what those deadlines were. Timelines shrouded in mystery decrease the motivation to deliver, but project visibility provides both clarity and accountability. If everyone knows when deliverables are due, they’re more likely to get the job done on time. 

Streamlined workflows

When team members have visibility into task completion timelines and when their own responsibilities need to be fulfilled, they can plan and balance their workloads and request additional resources or time — resulting in an increase of employee autonomy, optimized workflows, and a lower possibility of bottlenecks and blockers. 

How to improve project visibility

Creating an effective project visibility strategy is clearly important to the success of your team — but how do you do it? Here are a few easy ways to get started. 

Create a communication plan 

Consistent, timely communication is key to project visibility, but oftentimes team members don’t think to communicate their progress or know when they’re supposed to do so. Creating a plan lays out who is expected to communicate what at various points of the project. The plan should specify: 

  • Who sends the communication
  • When they send the communication
  • Who they send the communication to
  • Which communication channel to use

Send consistent status reports 

Creating strong visibility at the start of a project doesn’t guarantee it’ll continue along the way. Maintaining a solid stream of information throughout the lifecycle of a project requires regular status reports.

The format of these reports is up to you — it can be a weekly email that highlights completed tasks and milestones, or meetings where the team can view the progress with visual charts. Regardless of what you choose, make sure they’re conducted regularly and shared with all the necessary stakeholders. 

Use task management software 

The right technology makes it easy to provide the crucial visibility your team needs to ensure the success of every project — especially as your business and workload grow. For example, Harvest helps you track time across tasks and projects and keeps everyone aligned on the progress. 

Additionally, Harvest provides visual reports into hours spent on various tasks so you can keep projects on track and support your team where needed — and even plan for smoother projects in the future. 

Designate a project manager

To fully execute on task delegation and effective communication, it’s best to have a dedicated project manager to take the reins — especially if the project is lengthy or complex. This person shouldn’t have the responsibility of completing any tasks themselves so they can focus instead on the health of the project. 

Conduct meetings with purpose

We’ve already discussed how consistent communication is key, but it’s important to ensure your strategy and status meetings are providing value. At the start of a project, set the direction and vision, communicate goals, and collect the necessary information for project schedules. 

As the project progresses, continue to provide information on an ongoing basis through productive status meetings. 

Provide a shared resource channel

No matter how productive your meetings are, your team still needs the ability to access the information that was discussed — or it could get lost in the shuffle. Put every resource necessary to the success of a project in a centralized location that all team members can easily access. 

The format could be a shared Google Drive or a shared space in Slack or whatever your communication platform is. Regardless of what you choose, make sure you keep all the resources up to date and include any developments that occur throughout the lifecycle of the project. 

Doing so makes it easy to communicate decisions made, timeline updates, and reprioritizations so your team is on the same page at all times. 

With the right strategy in place, project visibility is easy to accomplish and highly beneficial to the success of your project — and team. And with helpful tools like Harvest, achieving true visibility isn’t much of a burden. Get started with a free trial today to discover how simple it is to keep your team aligned and on track.