Are you looking to improve the efficiency of your business? Perhaps you are having issues keeping on top of managing a project, its team members, or find yourself constantly 'under pressure' to meet project deadlines. Perhaps you should look into Team Management Software.
There has been an explosion in options available over the last few years but they all tend to share the same, or similar services. In the following article, we'll explore what team management software's offer and look into the benefits of them.
What is Task Management?
Generally speaking, task management is any form of activity in which an individual or team leader tracks the progress of a task through its life cycle. This individual will usually be responsible for making key decisions along the way depending on its progress.
In order to achieve this effectively some form of a formalized tracking system is needed. This could be by using time and tested methods like Gannt diagrams/charts, spreadsheets, reams of paperwork, a whiteboard or any other form of more traditional methods.
However, there has been an explosion in using task management software packages over the last few years that can lighten the load for any project or task manager. They can help you effectively organize and manage tasks through functions like task creation, planning, assignment, tracking and report generation.
These reports form the keystone of task management and allow for a very flexible and intuitive analysis of the overall efficiency of team members, departments or the organization as a whole.
Of course, they can't help you deal personally with unrealistic client expectations or deadlines or HR issues, but they can help you mitigate the impact of them on task management.
After all, the last thing you want to do as a task manager is get bogged down in the minutiae of micro-management.
How can Task Management Software help?
Existing Task Management packages tend to be either free or paid for, as you'd expect, and can run as standalone packages, LAN-based or Web/Cloud-based or a mixture of all.
Their size, complexity, functionality, and tools will depend widely on the task management requirements at hand. The size of the organization and staffing levels, whether that be an individual, SME, medium-sized businesses or large corporation will also dictate the type of Task Management software needed.
That being said they will generally all provide:-
- Task and sub-task creation and assignment functions etc;
- Some kind of admin control for changing settings/credentials etc;
- Some form of notification and report generation tools;
- A calendar;
- Security and access controls;
- Mobile capability and integrations with other systems e.g. chats, document storage and;
- A method of sorting of some kind.
Some may also offer real-time views with easy access to all related content and message exchanges between colleagues. With a centralized task management software tracking individual tasks, flagging up delays or pinch points, and determining the efficiency of any sub-group of the team is a breeze.
Most tools allow users to visually manage a task and to see the history of completed, pending, overdue and ongoing tasks. The reports generated by the tools may contain details such as the start date, deadline, overdue date, task budget, main tasks, subtasks, and time allocation.
All in all, they provide fantastic leverage to help you deliver on your promises to clients and "stay on target".
What is Project Management and How Is It Different to Task Management?
Tasks and projects are related, often intimately, but are in fact quite separate things. Projects tend to have a clear and, usually, defined or set beginning and end.
At the end of the project, there will usually be a completed service, like a survey report or any other kind of product. A task, on the other hand, is a single unit of work within a larger boy of work.
Although the above might seem pedantic it is an important distinction and one that helps you make an informed decision on what kinds of management tools you could consider.
We've already covered task management above but project management software tends to be far more in-depth than task management software solutions. Excellent examples, like monday.com, are a one-stop shop for any floundering or want-to-be Project Manager to take control of the project an hold on tight.
Project Management Software will tend to include some form of task management capabilities along with other "bigger picture" functions and metrics. These can include the estimated and actual team member effort, resource management, and dependencies.
Project management software can easily become overwhelming for people who just want more of a checklist (aka task management software).
What are the advantages of using team management software?
A good team management software will usually enhance team member collaboration and coordination. It should have some form of ability to manage team members workloads, schedule work (and meetings) and collect the status on pending, in progress or completed tasks.
Depending on the makeup of your business and task(s) at hand you may need more than one form of team management software to meet your individual needs.
Whichever one you choose they will all generally provide the following benefits:-
- Maximise task management and improve team collaboration - They will, if used properly, keep your team on target. Lack of control in this area will cost you, and the company, loss of time, reduce efficiency and you could miss out on billing clients for completed tasks.
- Keep your tasks on a list in one place - They allow you to manage tasks easily in one place. You can add new ones, prioritize them, set reminders for upcoming deadlines and generally get organized.
The can also be used to store critical files and other digital documents for all who need access to them.
- They are reliable and secure - Task management software provides excellent security for any sensitive data you may need to store or use as part of the tasks at hand. Task management software provides security features that enable you to restrict access and protect sensitive information.
Some will also let you control what information can be shared for meetings etc without revealing any confidential information.
- Delegation has never been easier - Team management software packages make delegation of duties easy peasy. Delegates will know where they stand and be able to better manage their time to meet any deadlines.
- Adding and sorting new tasks is easy - Further to the above anyone can add new tasks and assign it to anyone else, all instantaneously.
- Provide metrics and KPIs - They provide vital metrics on things like time spent. Without this, it can be nye-on impossible to determine which areas of work you spend the most time on. This can provide useful data on areas that could benefit from automation or that need more resources for future tasks.
- They are flexible and scalable - Most good software packages are customizable to your business needs. They tend to also be scalable so they can grow with your business without needing to replace it further down the road.
- They are great for money and time management - The ability to track every minute spent on a task, and money, team managers have never had a more powerful tool for keeping tasks (and projects) on target and within budget.
- They make colleague communication issues extinct - Poor communication between team members is the most often quoted biggest hurdle for any task. With these tools team members get instant and trackable, communication aids.
- Task management software provides much-improved accessibility - Most modern task management software come with some form of cloud-based storage or interface. This eliminates the need to download 'bulky' software and team members have 24/7 access to it - so long as they have internet access of course.
Team management software is great for automating and streamlining business activities. They provide unparalleled communication and collaboration between team members.
By using them effectively they can provide a massive boon to your business which could be all you need to beat the competition.
Afterall "time is money".
How team management software can help to schedule content calendars
Great team management software tends to also include functions for scheduling and shared calendars. These can be used to centrally control and distribute information on team meetings and other collective events.
Not only that they can be used to arrange meetings with customers, suppliers, business partners, and shareholders to name but a few.
Not only that but any time actually invested in said meetings can be tracked and logged and included within any metrics and reports for the task or project. They may also include some form of booking resources for things like often-booked meeting rooms (a common hurdle for meetings).
For external meetings, calendar integration streamlines the process of finding a mutually convenient time and date without the need for a long email stream. This not only saves everyone's time but offers great flexibility for all party members - just suggest a few options and let your client "feel in control".