Are You Getting The Best Out Of Your Task Management Software

Posted on January 21, 2023

If you’ve ever had to manage projects, people and everything in between, chances are you have to sift through countless task management software and each one has its own features and functions.

Without a doubt, the best task management software should be up and running in seconds, enable countless integration, import and sync with ease, ensure complete customisation and help you manage your projects in one place.  

Project managers need task management software that support their project planning, assists in completing tasks and making quick checks of assigned tasks. The user should also be able to easily view and filter task lists, reprioritise tasks and view what’s next in line.

A single project can have many tasks to be completed, some concurrently while others may require the support of teams to meticulously complete it within expected timeframes. 

Luckily (for today’s managers), there is a plethora of task management tools to consider. To help you avoid wallowing in the ocean of options, it's best to examine a small set of task management software that meets your business needs, analysing key reviews to enable you hit a bulls-eye option the very first time.

  • The Ultimate Guide to Task Management Software
  • Finding The Best Task Management Tools on the Market
  • The Deep Dive Into Task Management
  • Project Management vs. Task Management
  • Most Reliable Technology For Managing Tasks
  • Facilitating Task Management
  • Effective Management of Your Team’s Tasks
  • Understanding Your Task Management Tools & Software
  • Tracking Tasks Using Management Software Features
  • How To Update Task Lists?
  • Can I Share Task Lists?
  • How To Save Time With the Right Task Management Software?
  • Choosing a Task Management Software

The Ultimate Guide to Task Management Software

Ask any seasoned project manager and they will tell you that working on a new project can sometimes seem like climbing a high mountain. Hence, the most effective way to handle such a project would be to cut it out into a string of tasks.

Being able to manage everyone’s tasks in the project is what helps project managers to remain relevant and effective in completing projects on time.  

The most critical part of managing projects is simply task management. Basically, task management refers to the colossal to-do lists of every job that must be completed.

This often becomes overwhelming when handling the more complex projects that feature high volume tasks and numerous work streams.

Thankfully, there are countless digital solutions designed to streamline management of tasks.

Finding The Best Task Management Tools on the Market

In the past few decades, the task management software market has significantly evolved. If you have a small business, you may require a simple tool to help you run your project even on a slim budget.

Conversely, enterprises Project Management Offices need more scalable and robust solutions. No matter the size of your business, there’s an all-in-one task management solution for you.

While majority of solutions on our list tick all the boxes for what the best task management software must have, they are not entirely free but have trail versions for a given number of days to enable project managers to try them out.

The Deep Dive Into Task Management

Task management is a term that describes the way project managers handle tasks through the project’s life cycle which includes planning, analysing, assessment and reports on the progress of individual tasks.

Following the project step by step enables managers to closely monitor their projects at every stage from start to finish, ensuring successful completion.

Huge projects can be broken down into a sequence of tasks that will see a project completed within the expected time frame. Hence, task management is a crucial part of your project management.

While theoretically the term task management simply refers to the long task list of every component of the project, this methodology might not be ideal for managing multifaceted projects with varied workloads.

Fortunately, in this time and era digital solutions are readily available and easy to outsource. Whether you’re looking for support, advice or guidance in effectively handling your projects, or software to help you achieve your targets, the system is a click away.

Here, you’ll get valuable information about task management solutions. Use this guide to find everything you need to learn about task management.

Project Management vs. Task Management

The words “project” and “task” management are intertwined and can sometimes be confusing. Yet, they are quite different.

Basically, tasks refer to a unit of any given job, and task management involves managing every aspect of a single task. Projects come with timelines for each individual task. Hence managing projects encompasses the management of all tasks in a project.

Project management and task management apps are closely related and are interchangeably used to describe tools, though the main difference between project and task management software is in their comparative scope. 

Essentially, a task management tool is basically a to-do list that allows users to store and systemise tasks. Based on how complex a tool is, the software may also incorporate various features for due dates, prioritisation, alerts, assignments and attachment of files, though these may be unnecessary.

Project management apps are designed to sort and track numerous tasks, sub-tasks, communications and documents needed to run and successfully complete projects.

These apps can also create several programs and projects, assign tasks or sub-tasks, distribute resources, share files and evaluate data points.

Most Reliable Technology For Managing Tasks

Task management apps help project teams to effectively manage their tasks. If you’re not proactive, you could be working reactively and that can be quite unproductive.

You can’t work and accomplish a lot efficiently if you were more reactive to your last email, call or message you received.   

Effective management of the project at task levels enables people to continually prioritise their work and save time on having to figure out the next task and when it should begin.

This is crucial considering the many distractions in this time and age. Regardless of how focused, dedicated, diligent and enthusiastic about completing your projects successfully, even the most greatest of us are susceptible to distractions every now and then.

Without reliable task management tools and software, it can be difficult staying abreast with your assignments and ensuring that every team player meets their deadline with consistency.

The use of task management apps comes with several benefits including:

  • Ability to give highest priorities to tasks in your to-do list.
  • Being able to view and track the progress of tasks assigned to your teams through the project’s life cycle.
  • Being able to know the timelines and the available time for completing tasks within the project
  • Integrating tasks and grouping them for better operational efficiency.
  • Accessing all tasks any time and from anywhere to evaluate progress.

Facilitating Task Management

Management of tasks becomes faster and quicker when the best tools are used. Whether relying on a simple spreadsheet, sticky notes or complex software, effective task management will be determined by the tools selected.

While you may be familiar and comfortable with using sticky notes or a simple list approach, it becomes difficult to assign and reassign tasks, group similar tasks and prioritise them in an excellent order.

But once tasks have changed or shifted, it becomes tricky to update them without wasting time redoing them.

The best task management app will enable you to automate your project’s processes and give you the flexibility to set up and update tasks. This is done by simply listing tasks to be completed by people in the project and adding new tasks or sub-tasks to every item as required.

Moreover, the task management software does more including:

  • Generate lists of tasks for easy dissemination
  • Define custom views that simplify projects
  • Filter tasks based on timeframes of a day, week, or month
  • Store detailed information of tasks and links to relevant files
  • Tracking task time against a project’s overall timeline
  • Drag reports of billed hours for employees including vendors, freelancers and consultants.
  • Simultaneously manage and access several tasks with some clicks.

Effective Management of Your Team’s Tasks

Project managers should steer to manage projects more effectively as well as each team member’s tasks. While a manager may complete their work on time, the same might not be said about other members of the project.

More often than not, project managers waste time following up other team members to find out their progress, even when the assignment is scheduled and what needs to be done.

With task management software and applications, project managers can save lots of resources. When an action is taken during a meeting, a manager will only need to make a note and add the same to the task management tool.

The project manager will then assign the task to the rightful team player and this will automatically reflect in their own to-do lists. This enables team members to easily access and be immediately responsible for their workload.

The best part of it is that project managers can easily monitor the progress of teams and see how specific tasks on the project are proceeding.

Moreover, they can filter tasks within the project based on available resources and check on what each team member is working on and their workload, with a single glance. Project managers can send team members reminders about an impending deadline.

To-do lists in task management software are usually connected with the resource reporting feature, and this allows managers to see how the workload is distributed.  

Furthermore, project managers can be able to determine whether the work is evenly spread out or not. This saves time and reduces duplication of tasks as it helps to reprioritise and reallocate resources as per the need.

Understanding Your Task Management Tools & Software

Once you’re signed in, you’ll be able to view available tasks and work allocated to each team member in a given day or week. The assignments can further be split into separate tasks that a manager can prioritise as the project evolves.

For instance, if your access is limited to a resource or team member during early morning, be sure to front-load every task assigned to them so that it may be tackled at the required time. 

When you click on a task, you can view comprehensive details of any assignment. Sometimes, a manager can add notes and hyperlinks, update task status and upload task files.

Everything required for the project for a given day or week will appear at one place accompanied with visual reminders of what should be done and by whom.

The software will then highlight in red any overdue assignments. This comes in handy in helping to identify and place urgent tasks on your to-do list on top or change the expected task completion time.

The best task management software will also enable you to schedule notifications or get an email at a specific time with pending tasks for that day, the next task to be completed and overdue tasks.

Tracking Tasks Using Management Software Features

Based on your preferred task management software, there may be a column indicating “% Complete”, which shows the team’s progress in the project’s life cycle. Anything above 0% is a clear indication that your project is ongoing, and once the task hits 100%, it should be complete, and you should be moving forward to the next task at peak efficiency.

Team members are allowed to update tasks manually as they continue or the project manager can do the updates during reviews and status updates.

The data provided flows automatically and is reflected in timesheets and the manager’s project dashboard and timelines get updated to reflect the team’s progress and what remains of the project.

How To Update Task Lists?

When teams are busy trying to meet the project’s targets, they can be tempted to procrastinate updating their to-do lists, and project managers can fail to get a true picture of the status of the entire project.

The best way to keep your finger on the pulse of the project and track its progress at every phase is for each team player to update their to-do lists once an item has been successfully completed.

Alternatively, managers will require every team member to update task lists every end of day and mark them off as completed tasks.

Again, a manager can scan through to-do lists for each team member that is yet to be updated and make necessary changes on new input delivered by the member. 

An update to the to-do lists is fast and easy, enabling every team member to start their days with a clear overview of pending workloads and what should be prioritised.

Project managers should always spare some few minutes at the end of a day or week to perform updates as team members update their timesheets.

Can I Share To-Do Task Lists?

While task management is more focused on project managers, it becomes more effective when everyone in the team has visibility.

The right task management tool will make it easier for managers to share task lists with everyone on the team. Team members can track progress of project tasks as they zero in to change the status of the items that are linked to them. 

To ensure more clarity, managers need to separate their own tasks from project-related tasks, as they should not be shared by other team members. 

How To Save Time With the Right Task Management Software?

It’s smart that you ensure optimal productivity every hour you’re at work. Effective management of your tasks and your team’s needs time, but when it is done right, it saves time.

Without the help of great task management software, project managers easily get overwhelmed, miss deadlines, lack clear priority and mismanage teams and resources.

Ignoring useful task management tools can ultimately cost you money, time and make the project even more complex.

Here are top tips to help you save time with your task management app

Tip 1 – Prioritise your workload

With a single, centralised task list for the project can be helpful, though it doesn’t guarantee productivity. Always prioritise your tasks and delineate tasks that are more urgent. With the software, project managers can update the priority and urgency of various tasks on a daily basis with just a click.

Tip 2 – Get organized.

Project managers should stop sending reminders, task lists and meeting action points via emails. Immediately there’ a fresh entry, a manager should quickly update the to-do list, schedule and allocate it to the respective team member. While this seems straightforward, the routine of “touching” an item just once can really help to reduce your cognitive workload.

Tip 3 – Use a real-time calendar.

Your calendar is a very important resource, however if you still use paper to track tasks or a spreadsheet, it’s time to upgrade.

Linking a real time calendar to a task management tool can make it easier and faster to assess your task schedules and track their progress.

In addition, you’ll achieve faster and more spontaneous visibility of your tasks as per day, week or month.

This will help you know beforehand the coming busy days, have enough capacity and when to delegate. As such, you’ll manage your time more effectively, and your teams will have more clarity for the projects.

Tip 4 – Tracking your time.

Time is certainly a precious resource. You can employ timesheets to help you know which tasks take up much of this resource. When you determine where you or your team members spend most of the time during a certain period, it will be easier to give priority where this resource is needed most. 

The ability to track time as tasks are completed ultimately saves time when a project manager has to remember precisely what was done, by whom and when. The most accurate way to capture time used is to record it at the time a task is being carried out.

Tip 5 – Less meetings means more work time

To spend lesser time in irrelevant meetings allows you and your teams to spend more time working on your tasks. In any way, who loves those long meetings or chaotic back-to-back days?

Meetings should be left for times when critical decisions are to be made and queries answered, and tasks have to be set up to complete some work outside the team’s expected timelines. Everyone will thank you later.

Choosing a Task Management Software

While the market has numerous task management tools and software to consider, collaborative projects are becoming easier to manage. Fortunately, finding the most ideal tool for your needs is possible. All you need to do is take time to try 3-4 tools before you make a decision.

As you sign up for those free trials, be sure to note down their pros and cons to help you compare and make an informed decision.

Involve your team and let them help you choose the best option, after all, they’ll also be interacting with the software. With this, you’ll wish you got the task management app way before.

Image Source: