In order to be effective task managers, we must first identify and map out the business processes, workflows and ultimately the individual building blocks of any process: tasks. It is also necessary to ensure that our staff and team members are suitable experienced, trained, led and motivated to meet defined objectives we typically measure via carefully selected metrics, known as Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).
By breaking work down into its constituent tasks, we are then able to construct a workflow which will assign responsibility and accountability to individual staff, and while most work requires the input of multiple staff, it is vital we can manage and follow the flow of work across the entire business.
In addition, multi-tasking implies organization of work tasks by the individuals themselves, and frequently this leads to a juggling act. To be able to juggle, requires a task management system that is flexible, coherent and used by all the staff who are required to make inputs into the process.
In many instances, a basic collaboration tool is put in place, and it can be a spreadsheet, or even a wall with a series of post-it notes on it. However, such solutions do not scale well, and they are also very limited in their ability to foster collaboration, particularly across any distance beyond the immediate vicinity of where they are placed.
It is almost impossible to track where individual team members are with progress on individually assigned work, nor where the project as a whole stands. Notifications and alerts are practically non-existent, and resource utilization is based more on guess work than on hard information, which means bottlenecks and lost time are common.
There has to be a better way to manage tasks and there is.
Enter the task management system, typically providing a feature set which will include the following:
- Task assignment
- Role-based permissions
- Notifications and Alerts
- Automated Workflow
- Audit Trail and User Log
- Calendar – which should sync with your Outlook calendar too
- Internal chat or messaging system
- Resource utilization and allocation features
- Intuitive UI for fast and easy user adoption
- Reporting tools
- Business Intelligence functionality if required
- Centralized task repository
- Artifact storage – for instance file attachments and documentation
By having your team or business working from one task management tool, everyone is able to identify what they should be doing and when. Full accountability can be imposed, with a flow of work from one task assignee to the next, and automated notification of work progress, completion, delays and the avoidance of down time and production bottlenecks.
Team productivity is enhanced, because each person knows what their responsibility is at any and every stage of the workflow. Managers and supervisors are also able to gain full visibility into the workflows, and in many instances in real-time, which allows for rapid and effective decision making.
Time is saved and productivity enhanced, with all staff having one tool to guide them through the business processes you design, and of course, if you are able to gain visibility within a process, you can measure what you see, and if you can measure what you see, you can improve upon it.
Jane Wrythe is a writer on business and technology topics with a focus on Low Code enterprise task management and business process management. She is currently working on a project for Swift Systems, the owners of JobTraQ – Lean BPM.