Task management is basically identifying and monitoring the progress of the various tasks that make up a specific task strand, work package or overall project. The tasks can therefore run from half a dozen to potentially thousands. One thing that stays constant in task management theory however is the focus on clear information and how this can help you and your team achieve success.
Task Management Impacts The Overall Project
Task management theory covers the basic methodologies and frameworks within which people manage the range of tasks they are responsible for. There are a wide variety of different views on the best ways for task management to be performed, as well as a lot of great online project management software that can make task management quite a simple and easily navigable process. Task management theory and how an individual or project manager approach the subject is very important because it is a set of guidelines which determine how efficient and productive their task management is, which has a big impact on how well project plans, milestones and deadlines are kept to.
How Task Theory is Related to Critical Path
The first step in task management is identifying what needs to be done and when it needs to be done by. This can also fit into the critical path method which identifies the order that needs to be followed for an inter-related task strand to be completed in the shortest possible time. Task identification can occur in a variety of ways, on a personal level for example, preparing for guests visiting might be identified thusly:
- Create shopping list
- Check sheets and towels are clean
- Wash any unsuitable sheets and towels
- Go and buy shopping list
- Put towels and sheets into dryer
- Sweep necessary rooms
- Mop bathroom
- Take out towels and sheets and set up guest room
Once all the necessary tasks have been identified, then one moves onto the next step of task management theory, which is monitoring. Provided that all the tasks are being actioned, keeping track of their progress and how close they are to completion is a constant activity. For a project manager in charge of a team, this can be an overwhelming experience as the deluge of information needs to be obtained and deciphered in order to keep the project plan or Gantt chart updated.
Good Project Management Tools Can Help
Fortunately, there are now many ways to automatically update the progress of individual tasks without spending your whole day involved in it. A good project management tool will give you a quick access dashboard which displays easy-to-understand information about where each task is in its own cycle. While the most common way is to provide this information through percentages, it is also possible to alter your dashboards to show data in terms of pie charts, bars or any number of other formats.
The benefits of having an effective task management system are manifold:
- It is easier to monitor progress and identify issues or bottlenecks
- Resource management becomes clearer as you can spot which tasks should take priority over others
- Deadlines and timelines are easily pinned to tasks
- Related task strands can be viewed as one, creating a larger task unit
- Reports and updates are easily circulated to the team and other stakeholders
With it being such a vital part of project management, making sure you have a task management strategy that works for you and your team is essential for ensuring project success.