At the heart of all work — regardless of whether the goal is to build a robot, construct a building, launch a marketing campaign, or anything else — are tasks, tasks, and yet more tasks. When tasks are organized and executed correctly, they support optimized workflows, engaged workers, and successful outcomes. On the other end of the spectrum, when tasks are disorganized and poorly executed, they lead to frustration and failure. Achieving the former outcome and avoiding the latter is the essential purpose of enterprise task management software.
Benefits of Software for Enterprise Task Management
There are several key advantages of software for enterprise task management:
- Providing team members with a clear overview of what tasks they need to do, and in what order they need to be completed.
- Enabling managers to effectively allocate and reallocate resources (both human and physical), in order to increase productivity and efficiency — while at the same time preventing worker overload. As pointed out by Harvard Business Review: “burnout is about your workplace, not your people.”
- Driving and enhancing collaboration, as team members established a shared understanding of what has to be done, and have the opportunity to discuss workflow improvements.
- Improving quality and efficiency as more work is done correctly the first time, milestones are achieved, and deadlines are met.
Choosing the Right Enterprise Task Manager
There are many enterprise task management software solutions available. To help your organization make the right decision, consider these ten questions:
1. Does it support how your teams collaborate?
Collaboration is one of the core elements of enterprise task management software. Choose a cloud-based solution that brings everyone on your team together, and enables — rather than obstructs — effective, efficient, and productive teamwork. All information should be centralized with comments applied directly to each specific task, and it should be easy to attach documents, videos and links to tasks, so that no time is wasted (or panic alarms are triggered!) looking for a missing file.
2. Does it support project planning?
Focus on a solution that provides real-time project updates, which allow managers to make swift changes to various aspects of the project plan (e.g., schedule, resource allocation, budget, etc.) as well as structure products into phases, including sub-tasks.
3. Does it increase visibility?
The right enterprise task management software will increase visibility in three key ways. First, it should provide a centralized view to display who is working on what and when, and which makes it easy to change priorities, assignments, and timelines — all from a single screen. Second, it should consolidate stages across the entire workspace, so that it is simple to monitor progress regardless of how each team has designed their respective workflow stages. Third, it should allow managers to view workloads by estimated or remaining effort (per board, epic, member, etc).
4. Does it offer a clutter-free visual layout?
The solution should support customized boards that reflect the needs of various projects, teams, customers and products, and which can be adjusted to reflect changing developments. Without a clean visual layout, confusion, chaos and conflict are not just likely — they are virtually guaranteed.
5. Does it integrate with other solutions in the environment?
Your teams need to hit the ground running. Choose an enterprise task manager that integrates with existing solutions in the environment, including project management systems (more on this in the next section). In addition, the solution should offer a public API to push/pull task-related data to/from various systems and dashboards, and be augmented by various apps and extensions.
6. Does it support Agile?
Choose a solution that makes Agile development easy through epics, stories, sprint management, retrospectives and more. At the same time, the solution should support teams that have not fully and formally adopted Agile methodology, but nevertheless want to take advantage of some fundamental agile tools and approaches.
7. Does it support guest access?
Not everyone who needs to use enterprise task management software is a manager or full team member. Choose a solution that offers guest access to keep external stakeholders such as customers, vendors and partners in the loop — but not in the way.
8. Is it backed by excellent support?
Excellent support that’s available 24/7 ensures that you take the shortest path to value. Resources that can help your teams get up and running quickly and easily include webinars, tutorials, quickstart guides, and customized consultations.
9. Is it secure?
Safeguarding data and preventing breaches and leaks is a top priority. Choose a solution that is built with the highest level of enterprise-grade security, which protects your data in transit and at rest.
10. How in-depth is the product demo?
Last but certainly not least: choose a solution that allows you to see the features and functions for yourself. The demo should be tailored to your specific use case scenarios and you should be able to interact with the team giving the demo to ask detailed questions. Don’t forget to throw in a last minute request to see how nimble the demo team is on their feet. After all, that’s what will happen to your team once the solution is in place, so this may help you truly see if a solution is going to work long-term in your environment, and across your teams.
Integrating Project and Task Management Software
As noted above, one of the most crucial factors in choosing enterprise project management software is ensuring seamless integration with your existing portfolio and project management platform. This enables team members to work the way they want, and expands visibility into their progress. It also ensures that all program and project data is automatically in-sync, which is extremely important in fast-moving enterprise environments when things can change on a daily — or make that hourly — basis.
The Final Word on an Enterprise Task Management System and Software
Pioneering self-improvement guru Paul J. Meyer said that “productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning and focused effort.” The right enterprise task management system and software goes a long, long way to achieving these outcomes — and driving high-performance teams and organizations forward.