Task management software has evolved from days of personal information management to managing complex projects. From managing tasks on day-to-day basis to handling details of complicated projects at enterprise levels, such software has become integral part of project management. A project can be managed efficiently when the tasks related to the project are planned, scheduled and executed properly.
Basics of project management
Software devised for task management can work wonder for managers by simplifying and streamlining their operations. Almost all types of projects involve daily tasks and organizations adopting project management can benefit from specialized software designed for managing tasks at various levels.
Let us have a look at fundamentals of project management.
- Project management strives to create conducive conditions where a defined goal can be attained by a group of people. It may not eliminate all risks and issues related to a project but provide standard procedures and processes to deal with them.
- Project management has a definite beginning and end. Projects usually require a substantial percentage of resources on temporary basis whereas organizations mostly depend on full-time staff. Project management reduces risks involved in completion of a project, increasing its chances of success.
- Triple constraints of project management are referred to the cost, scope and time involved in the project. The projects must be completed within scheduled cost and delivered within scheduled period. The managers should ensure that the project remains within the defined scope of work. Satisfaction of customers is also considered as a crucial factor of project management.
- There should be an efficient tracking or monitoring system to find out whether any task is lagging behind. A well defined and structured project monitoring is backed by responsive reporting system. Timely reporting helps in early detection of errors.
Task management and project management
Managing tasks effectively can improve project management in several ways. Planning, following up, reviewing and closing stages of a project are divided into several tasks. Successful completion of these tasks results in successful closure of the project. Let us have a look at on how to manage these tasks effectively.
- Identifying goals of the project is the first step. This usually involves brainstorming to figure out needs of the project. Proper assessment of needs leads to formulation of detail action plan for project completion. This stage also involves estimating financial and other requirements of the project. A draft schedule for project completion is also prepared at this stage. The main project gets systematically segregated into manageable tasks at this stage.
- The next stage involves putting the plan into action. The tasks are completed according to schedule in this stage. Physical changes occur, resources are mobilized and utilized and the project gradually moves towards completion. Documents and data related to projects are generated and managed. Task management comes to play actively at this stage.
- Specialized software for managing tasks helps in preserving and organizing huge database. It also plays crucial role in maintaining schedule and reminding managers or members concern about important deadlines. Challenges that may arise during these processes are tackled by contingency plans. Software for managing tasks quickly identifies emergency situations and sets alerts for quick resolve.
- Delivering the project to client and closure is the final step that comes after comprehensive review about the end product and ensuring customer satisfaction.
Managing tasks with software
There are several benefits of managing tasks with Task Management Software devised for task management. If you are planning to use software for task management then look for some salient features in it.
- Look for user friendly interface, built-in task reports along with ability to customize templates and fields according to project requirements. The software should support user defined data fields including OLE (object linking and embedding) fields that allows you to insert MS word, MS Excel documents, video clips and sounds.
- Look for software that can help you in budgeting of task and project. The software should be preferably equipped with automatic task scheduling and automatic data backup. Software that you select for task management should have a responsive reporting system in place.
- You can guard against missing deadlines and allocate your resources efficiently. Using software for task management gives you an instant view about the status of several tasks that are in progress. This in turn improves productivity and customer satisfaction.
- A comprehensive reporting system helps in quick identification of probable errors. You should be able to open tasks by deadline date, name of team member or by date entered. It will be added advantage if you can sort tasks by deadline in next week or next month. The software should also reveal the number of tasks that has been closed last week or last month.
Task management software has become essential part of project management for an organization. It streamlines and manages tasks that are related to projects and helps in improving performance and productivity of an organization.
Note by the Editor: This was a guest post.