Task management is one of the guiding principles of leading a project. You are there to help your team organize their work. When those tasks are simple, then there are a wealth of worthy task apps on the market, but when you’re running a project that has greater complexity you need something more.
Task management is more than a lengthy to-do list, it involves a process by which you follow a task through its lifecycle, from planning to testing, tracking to reporting. For this kind of work you need software that offers a more robust set of features and tools molded to fit the unique demands of managing a project.
So, what are those tools you must have to get the most out of your task management software? We’re glad you asked, because we’ve assembled what we consider the most crucial features you’ll want to have in your task management software. Before you buy, make sure your product has the ability to do the following.
After you make your list of tasks, then next thing is prioritizing them. Some are going to demand immediate attention, others can wait. Some tasks may need to be completed before you can even move on to the next one. All this is part of efficiently managing your time and your team’s time, so you need a software that can do this.
The software should allow you to see everything you’re working on at once. That way you can figure out how much time needs to be allotted to each in order to meet your project deadline. The software should permit you to group tasks together so that similar work can be done at the same time.
You also want to have the ability to update these priorities, as they’re are going to change as you progress through your project’s lifecycle.
When you manage a team you have to communicate with them, and that goes double so when you’re assigning tasks. It’s important that they know what it is they need to do and what the timeframe is for that task to be completed so you stay on schedule.
Therefore, your software must be collaborative. It has to be online and you need to have access to it over whatever device you happen to be using, whether in the office or out in the field. If the software offers home pages where you can automatically keep everyone in the loop when new files or comments are added, that’s even better.
The more buy-in you give your team, the better they’ll work. Empower them with easy task management for all their projects, so they can see their personal task list or the multiple task lists they’re assigned to, and also be able to stay in communication with you and the other team members. You want to facilitate a collaborate team culture.
It’s crucial to have a real-time view of the status of your tasks as they are started, while they’re being worked on and then checked off as completed. Whether that’s done by a list or color coding, it doesn’t matter, but the addition of a Gantt chart to create a visual representation of the progress of the task list is best.
Gantt charts give you a bird’s-eye view of the work, and they can be easily updated as your team completes tasks, if you have the right software. So, you want to shop around for a product with status updates that can easily be added to a Gantt chart by dragging and dropping data on your spreadsheet.
You live and die by the hard deadline dates on your calendar, so you want to have a software program that allows you to easily sync that information. You can set milestones to mark the move from one phase of a project to the next, and even note on the calendar that when these milestones are met then it’s time for a little team celebration. You’ll not only be managing your tasks better, but building team loyalty.
It’s even better if you can add email notifications to your calendar on the task management software. By automating this you free up your time and design a system to alert your team or remind them of important dates throughout the project’s lifecycle.
You need to estimate the time each task will take and their dependencies, so you want to have a tool that will help you do that. You have to get the task duration right, and then be transparent with the team so they are clear when the work has to be done. Don’t over extend those tasks, keep them between half a day to four weeks in duration, at most.
The software will allow you to avoid micromanaging, while at the same time staying aware of your team’s strengths and weaknesses, so you can allocate those tasks accordingly. And when you have a very big task, you’ll be able to break it down into smaller, digestible smaller tasks. That’s where the tools of a good tasks management software system really earn their pay.
There’s also more features and tools that you can have or add to your software suite. But if your task management has these five listed above, then you’re on your way to managing resources easily, no matter how complex the project you’re running may be.
When it comes to having the right tools to manage tasks, then look no further. ProjectManager.com has a full collaborative online suite of software tools manufactured by project managers for project leaders. Why not give it a spin for yourself? Take the free 30-day trial by clicking on the banner below.