A task management tool is used to help connect all the processes involved in the movement of a task from one stage to the next: planning, commitment, execution, reporting, etc. Powerful and effective task management tools handle all task-related aspects such as status update, time limits, assignees, priority, notifications, etc. Through the use of task management tools, individuals and teams alike can collaborate to achieve their goals. Project managers benefit greatly from the visibility and transparency created by today’s task management tools. They support companies’ workflow organization and provide insights into improvement initiatives.
What Are the Key Components of a Task Management Tool?
The key components of task management tools include the ability to visualize tasks to achieve greater transparency and prioritization techniques to help streamline the workflow. Furthermore, tools that support analytics capabilities help you analyze your task management and make more accurate project planning.
Visualization is the basic and most important feature of a task management tool. By visualizing a project’s tasks, project managers and team members receive an instant view into task allocation, cross-team dependencies, deadlines, importance, etc. Visualization brings not only transparency into the workflow, but also alignment on a team level, where the state of each task is fully evident to everyone.
Prioritizing tasks is the ability to assign importance to tasks. It allows bringing attention to urgent or emergency issues such as equipment failure or resources shortage. There is a variety of ways to visualize the priority of a task such as color indicators, a specific arrangement of the tasks, or using work types, depending on the task management tool itself. Task prioritization is a powerful way to streamline the critical tasks in your workflow and effectively manage them.
The ability to analyze the distribution, execution, and delivery of tasks, enables key insights into your team performance. It also enables more accurate delivery forecasts. Project managers can easily identify workflow bottlenecks, such as the stages where tasks spend the most time in the process. Thanks to task management tools that gather all that information, they can now use it for analysis and continuous improvement of the work process.
What Are the Types of Task Management Tools?
The task management tools are management boards designed to visually represent the tasks you or your team is working on. The types of task management boards are highly dependent on your business context, the number of tasks you’re handling, the level of task variation, etc. You can find a list of the most widely used task management types below.
1. Online Task Management Tools
Virtual task management tools are centralized management boards accessible from anywhere and updated in real-time. They are an ideal opportunity for remotely distributed teams to have a transparent view of the state of each task or project. The tools eliminate the need for constant status updates. Project managers, C-level managers, and team members alike benefit greatly from having an overview of the workflow at a single glance, managing capacity levels, and monitoring productivity.
2. Electronic Task Management Tools
Digital task management tools are task management solutions that allow you to handle tasks through a digital task board. Most electronic task management tools are simple and narrow, which makes them ideal for handling day-to-day assignments. On the other hand, their limited capabilities may require software integration to another feature-rich project management solution.
3. Manual Task Management Tools
Manual task management tools represent physical boards or whiteboards used to handle tasks. These tools do not have any digital aspect, so their flexibility and functionalities are quite limited. Manual task management boards are useful for tasks that change very seldom or standardized ones.
What Are the Benefits of Using a Task Management Tool?
Using task management systems brings a wide range of benefits from visualization of the work at hand to in-depth analysis of task distribution, time to delivery, optimized planning, etc. Here’s how both project managers and teams can benefit from the use of task management tools.
- Manage Everything from a Single Place: Task management tools ensure transparency and greater visibility over task distribution and delivery.
- Identify Bottlenecks in the Workflow: Mapping the progress of tasks to be completed for a given project facilitates the identification of emerging impediments in the process.
- Centralized Access to Task Management Board: Provides real-time updates about tasks and reduces the need for status updates.
- Optimize Resource Management: Monitoring and tracking task management allow allocating capacity to a specific project at the right time.
- More Collaborative Environment: A task management tool where tasks are visually represented enables team collaboration and knowledge sharing.
What Are the Best Task Management Tools?
The best task management solutions represent digital task boards with task visualization and prioritization functionalities, as well as excellent analytical and integration capabilities. Some of the best task management tools and prominent project management solutions are listed below:
How To Choose the Right Task Management Tool?
When browsing the task management solutions on the market, capabilities such as visualization signals, prioritization techniques, and automation can make all the difference. A list of the key task management features is included below.
- Planning and creating tasks. Task management tools can help you visualize, organize, plan, and clarify the details of your tasks. It is the most basic functionality for managing day-to-day assignments.
- Prioritizing tasks. More advanced task management tools allow a variety of ways to prioritize your tasks such as the use of color indications, visual signals, or priority columns to customize the level of importance of your tasks.
- Delegating tasks. Besides customizable task configuration, advanced task management tools are equipped with capabilities to assign tasks to a specific person, triggering immediate notification so that nothing goes unnoticed.
- Task breakdown. Task management software allows the detailed breakdown of tasks and capacity allocation with respect to the present capacity and other running projects. Such features are especially useful to project managers.
- Performance and time tracking. Tracking the completion of tasks and performance are key indicators for the success of project execution. Advanced task management tools allow tracking of logged time, priority, deadlines, etc.
- Reporting features. Analytics are crucial for assessing the quality of project execution. Having a toolset of intuitive and insightful reporting capabilities makes tasks delivery and planning the basis of more accurate project forecasting.
- Automation capabilities. Automating activities such as tasks or subtasks creation, prioritization, or task assignment eliminate the waste of time for manual adjustment and boosts project efficiency.
- Integrations. The ability to integrate a selected task management tool to use alongside other software is an important benefit to advanced solutions on the market. It allows smooth incorporation of the new tool into the current processes.
What Is a Task Management Example?
1. A basic example of task management is the ability to break down items that are too big into smaller, more manageable tasks. For that purpose, some task management boards allow you to create additional sub-columns, merge tasks, remove irrelevant tasks, or plan their execution for the next business quarters.
2. More advanced systems for task management allow you to create and distinguish between different levels of task priority. To achieve that, you can use red-colored elements to mark tasks with critical priority, for example. Another way to approach task prioritization is to customize your task management board to include a specific row or column designated for emergency tasks only.
3. An example of a state-of-the-art task management tool involves tracking task performance and making use of these insights through comprehensive reports. For instance, you can measure how many tasks have been handled to complete project X, how long each task spends in the workflow on average, or if there were any outliers. Thanks to these findings, you can optimize your team task delivery rate and forecast future project delivery.
What Is a Task Tracker?
A task tracker is a software application for breaking down work into smaller tasks and tracking their delivery. It facilitates task distribution, tracking time to completion, logged time, and generally, provides an overview into personal or team productivity. Task tracker solutions are especially useful during project execution where project managers need to match capacity with budget and time.