Task Management usually becomes a dilemma at some point for every business, or to be more precise for every person.
Personal task management works hand-in-hand with personal organisation and time management. Let’s face it some people are just good at organising their own personal time, space and tasks. These people tend to see organisation and planning as a priority, as an essential element before any of the actual day’s work can be started. Others view organisation and planning as a wasteful activity. They’d rather get on with the real jobs that need doing, rather than spend valuable time trying to plan the whys and wherefores of actually doing it. No prizes for guessing which group gets their work done on time!
But what about organising and scheduling other people’s work, about managing projects, teams and individuals. In these cases someone else will do the planning and the foot soldiers if you will, are left with their preferred tasks of actually ‘doing’ the jobs concerned. If someone else is willing to take the responsibility of defining who is going to do what and when, then there are plenty of people who feel quite happy being left to get on with the job.
All well and good, but of course schedules and tasks would then need to be communicated to the ‘worker bees’ actually doing the jobs and perhaps most importantly progress on completion of tasks would need to be reported back all to the project managers, those with the responsibility of delegating the tasks and of course taking overall responsibility for the completion of the project. Technology can help here.
Spreadsheets, originally designed in manipulating numbers, calculations and financial forecasts have quickly evolved in to useful tools for producing ‘task lists’. More sophisticated versions can even include names and target completion dates. However, if you look at the more closely, spreadsheets aren’t too far removed from rather old fashioned bits of paper. They can inadvertently be changed or lost and generally don’t have the ability to be tied together in any form of cohesive integrated project.
Technology can do better. To be more specific, Task Management Software can do better. Tasks can be created and assigned to individuals; integration with e-mail allows communication of those tasks and details to be automatically sent to the assignee (the person getting on with the job). Tasks can have completion dates associated with them and those dates can in-turn be automatically displayed on a project calendar. Furthermore any changes to tasks, allocations or dates can be immediately reflected across the whole project timescale. Integrated task management solutions are now available.
In one further interesting twist when a task is completed an e-mail can be sent to the originator of the task confirming completion. As is often the case, this refinement came from the real world client specification “I’d like to assign tasks to my staff at the beginning of the day and then I’d like an e-mail alert sent to me as soon as each task is completed. So, when I’m out of the office I’d like to hear my Blackberry pinging all day”.