Don’t Let Your Task Management Process Manage You
Task management is all about keeping things moving in the right direction and at the right pace to get the most out of your team. With time being such a scarce commodity these days, you can’t afford to be wasting time on poor task management. The following will help you leverage your task management efforts to complete tasks more efficiently:
- 1. Keep it simple. Figure out the right way to track the task depending on the complexities of the task and the number of people involved in the task. Basic Options:
- Excel spread sheet – Simple to use and share with members of team. Most people are already familiar with Excel.
- Outlook – Task feature is easy to use. Most offices use Outlook. Geared towards more simple tasks.
- LeanKit – More bells and whistles. Cloud based allows for more flexibility with added features to track and analyze workflow, bottlenecks, and communicate complex information. Manage multiple tasks.
- Wrike – More bells and whistles. Cloud based features include timeline views, reporting options, time-tracker, newsfeed options, task update via e-mail and more.
- SharePoint – More complex software system. 2013 version is cloud based. Little higher learning curve. Manage multiple tasks easily.
2. Decide on your task team members. Figure out who will need to be members of the task or team and what parts they will be involved in at the beginning. Thinking this through early will make sure everyone involved is provided the necessary information from the start of the task. This will make the whole process move along more smoothly.
3. Always remember Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ “two pizza” rule. If you need to order more than two pizzas for the members involved in completing your task when you’re holding a lunch meeting, your group is probably too big. Consider breaking up parts of your task into smaller groups to make things move more efficiently.
4. Hold an initial meeting. Let each person know how they will be involved. it’s all about –
- Communicating the process steps;
- Getting people to understand the goals; and
- Letting people know the expectations you have for them.
5. Define expectations verbally and in writing. That way each person can plan ahead and understand what commitments they will need to give to the task. It’s also time for them to ask questions and resolve initial concerns or perceived problems.
6. Explain communication expectations. Set protocols on the modes of communication that should be used to keep people informed on the task progression. Get buy in up front from those involved regarding how they would like to receive or handle communications.
7. Maintain regular meeting agendas. Provide a copy of the agenda a day before any meeting so members understand how they will be involved in the meeting. This allows members to come prepared to discuss the progress of the team on the task.
8. Meetings should never last beyond 2 hours. Most importantly meeting should stick to the planned agenda for both duration and topic. They should never be more than two hours. One hour is even better. Hold meetings only when necessary.
9. Make information available in a timely manner. Post needed information as quickly as possible. Always make it clear that members should feel free to ask questions about information that is provided.
10. Close meetings with clear delegation. Always make sure meetings close with a clear statement of subtasks to be completed and who is responsible for completing those subtasks, including an expected timeline for completion.
11. Remove hurdles quickly. Remove hurdles individuals encounter as soon as possible so that each person can keep their work flow moving forward. Note each group member’s concerns and follow up with them as necessary to make sure they have the information and tools to move forward.
12. Recap tasks after completion. Develop a simple outline of what type of task management software worked best for specific tasks. Always debrief after a task is completed to verify what worked and what did not.
Manage tasks don’t let them manage you. Smooth task completion is all about organization, communication and defining each member’s roles in the process.