Task management, for those who aren’t aware, is the process of managing a task from its conception to completion. The process, as Wikipedia rightly puts it, involves planning, testing, tracking and reporting. Task management can be in form of process management and serves a strong foundation for efficient work flow in any organisation And in today’s highly technological world, a task management system, essentially an automation tool, can make task management a whole lot easier and simpler.
Good automation vs. bad automation
Automation, as you all are probably aware, can be good or bad. Good automation is that which simplifies repetitive tasks that are error-prone and labor-intensive. Bad automation, on the other hand, is the automation of tasks that are better handled manually.
Now, you wonder, why do you need to know this? The answer is simple. There are tasks that are better left in the capable hands of an automation solution – issue tracking in a big company with several different departments is one example – and there are those that are better done by human hands. The point, therefore, is before investing in an automation solution, first, ask yourself: Do I really need one?
Characteristics of a good task management system
If your answer is yes, here are some character traits to look for in a good task management system:
1. Real-time visibility
When driving a car, you know that zero visibility can be fatal. The same is true for projects, especially those that require constant monitoring to meet or exceed end-result specifications and beat agreed-upon deadlines. With real-time visibility, you have a sense as to whether or not everything is smooth sailing, on time and on budget.
2. User-friendly interface powered by drag-and-drop technology
It may be the era of computers, but not everyone, unfortunately, is computer-savvy. A good task management system should understand that coding and other complicated computer manipulations are not everyone’s cup of tea. That said, the user interface should be simple and easy to use, and can be tweaked by simply dragging and dropping stuff in the dashboard.
A properly designed workflow can benefit a business in ways more than one. However, there are workflows that call for changes even after they had been implemented. In cases as these, your task management system of choice should support on-the-fly alterations without the need for workflow stoppage or disruption.
4. Interoperability with third-party software
At a time when e-mail was the height of technology, Microsoft Outlook was a pretty useful piece of application. (It still is today, as a matter of fact.) If your business has been relying heavily on MS Outlook for your communication needs, a good task management system shouldn’t force you to ditch MS Outlook altogether. The right automation solution should be able to seamlessly join together third-party applications through API (application programming interface).
5. Team collaboration
From the immortal words of Henry Ford, “Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success,” one can gather that collaboration in the workplace is the precursor of success. A good task management system should encourage team collaboration every step of the way.