9 Features That Make a Great Task Management Tool
With so many task management tools offered, how do you decide which one to choose? Take a look at this list of features to narrow the list.
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With the soaring number of task management applications, finding the ideal tool can be time-consuming and confusing. The criteria for each tool depends on the organization, their needs, and requirements, as well as work processes. A range of features, ease of use, reliability, security, and expense can greatly affect your choice in management tools.
So how do you make sure you are investing in the right tool that can facilitate your task management without complicating work processes?
Whether you need a simple to-do list app or a sophisticated tool to help your team achieve tasks, it is important to understand the exact requirements. The right tool should be equipped with the appropriate features suitable for your work patterns.
In short, the ideal task management tool should work towards enhancing your efficiency and improve your productivity, not add on to the existing workload.
Despite the fact that an ideal task management tool must conform to your work policies, there are some basic features you should look out for and well, not compromise on. Here is a hand-picked list from us to make your quest for the best easier.
1. Task Planning
Effective task management starts with appropriate planning. Depending on the budget, resources, scope, and timeline; efficient task planning requires breaking down the work into stages through a structured approach.
With a good task management tool, you should be able to break down your work into simpler tasks that can be easily managed. Moreover, there should be an option to organize and prioritize tasks as required.
Check out our list of top project planning tools.
2. Task Scheduling
The idea behind task management is to organize work, be it personal or professional, on a daily basis to make it more streamlined.
A good management tool should allow for creating and managing schedules. When work is planned on a daily, weekly or monthly basis, it becomes easier to not only miss out on important tasks but also helps monitor progress. Notifications and reminders make task scheduling even better as they keep you on alert and can save you from overspending much time on a single task.
3. Recurring Tasks
Another option most good management tools have is the option to create a task and schedule it on multiple days for various purposes.
Some tasks need to be repeated daily, e.g. your daily alarm and others occasionally, e.g. your doctor's appointment.
When it comes to professional projects, a single task can at times serve multiple projects. For instance, the task of updating timesheets by the end of the week can be scheduled on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis for multiple teams.
With so many things on the list, it is only but natural to get confused in sorting out tasks on priority. An efficient task management software can help with that by allowing the option for prioritizing tasks. Tasks are usually prioritized based on the urgency level of the task itself or the dependency of other tasks.
A good tool should be able to provide a mechanism to specify such priorities along with the tasks. This helps in completing urgent work first and speeding up implementation of the critical stages of the project.
5. Task Tracking
When a number of tasks are scheduled, especially in teams, keeping track of all the tasks done can prove a struggle. In order to make this process easier, it is wise to adopt a tool that can help you trace exactly which activities are started, in progress and done with.
With properly defined tasks in terms of team members they are assigned to, the project they fall under, and their urgency level, you can get the added benefit of searching and filtering out tasks using any of the criteria. When you can track tasks, you can make task and project planning easier while saving time on the unnecessary recreation of tasks.
A good task management tool should be easily integrated with a simplified calendar that is easy to manage and access. Through a calendar, you can organizing and schedule tasks as well as use it to work for project timelines and meetings.
Whether you need to mark deadlines on the calendar to help team easily follow up on the work progress or you need to schedule meetings and conferences, a central calendar is vital.
In teams, collaboration goes hand in hand with task management. Which is why we believe that a task management tool should be designed to work toward improving team collaboration. Complicated or underperforming apps can greatly impact communication, which can in turn negatively affect task management.
An efficient collaboration channel is a key element to look for in a task management platform. The team should be able to exchange information, share tasks and receive task updates. Be it file attachments or elaborating on assigned tasks, the team should be able to communicate information on time and with ease.
Looking for a collaboration tool for your team? Check out our list of the best free team collaboration software.
8. Time Tracking
A core element of streamlining work is to keep track of the time for each activity. This way you can measure the time spent to do each task, whether it's worth the time and how contributes to or has an overall impact on the project, in terms of budget and time.
When working with teams, the importance of tracking time manifests itself in 2 ways: to calculate the time spent by the resource on each task and to calculate payroll based on the hours worked. The hours are then logged into timesheets that need to be reviewed by the management.
Also, check out our list of top time tracking tools if you're looking to invest in one.
9. Reporting and Visualization
A part of task management is to monitor and observe task progress. This is needed to regulate the flow of tasks so as to avoid missing deadlines and making task progress more effectively.
A good software should be able to provide functionalities that help easily monitor as well as report progress for tasks.
Published at DZone with permission of Fred Wilson, DZone MVB. See the original article here.
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