by by Don Panek, Making Work Simple: Task Management Software
Effectively maintaining daily work quality can be as easy as managing daily tasks.
Ever since the personal computer hit the mainstream in the early 80s, we've looked for ways to leverage the power of the PC to manage our daily tasks. Early calendar programs allowed us to handle small project management routines with reminders, notes, and task lists. While these applications were nothing more than electronic versions of their paper based counterparts, they quickly evolved into the full-featured applications that we have today.
Task management software today has come a long way since the personal information management utilities of a few years ago. Solutions available can easily handle details of complex projects for an entire team across the enterprise organization, or solutions can be as simple as managing daily tasks for a small business of just a few employees.
While nearly ever job involves daily tasks, professional service organizations can benefit the most from a solid task and project management solution. These organizations require strict reporting down to the task level in order to provide customers with regular billing and reporting for ongoing projects. It's within this reporting function that the level of quality an organization provides to its customers can be drastically improved by deploying the right task management solution.
The right solution requires up-front time researching options.
Several software vendors today provide a host of choices for making light work of your daily project management tasks and reporting. Solutions can be found under a few different categories such as Operational Support Services (OSS) which focus on giving your employees the tools they need to easily enter time, expenses, tasks related to jobs and projects, and the ability to collaborate with teams.
Other solutions that provide a more robust automated task and project management system are often referred to as Service Management, Asset Management, Application Performance Management, Project and Portfolio Management, Enterprise Change Management, and Business Process Management. Most if not all of these solutions incorporate relational databases within their core systems for the most flexibility and customization capabilities.
Relational databases involve sets of tables that allow data to be accessed and viewed differently depending on the needs of the viewer. For example, a basic customer database with names and addresses may be all that's needed for mailing; a sales representative might analyze the ordering records of an individual client, and the accounting department will want accounts receivable data, organized by client, to issue bills. Users with distinct information needs can easily accomplish their goals via one relational database.
Investigate available solutions or work with a reputable consultant to ensure that you get the right solution to fit your needs, increase efficiency for your employees, and enhance the working relationship with your customers. Companies offering leading solutions in these areas include Computer Associates, Clarity, and QuickBase by Intuit.
While these solutions can be deployed locally, many providers also offer completely web-based solutions that can drastically cut your time to implement and organize. In many cases a Web-based solution requires just signing up, selecting the number of users, and paying a monthly access fee. Once you have subscribed, just log into the system and set it up for your organization.
Quality results from action.
The key to improving the quality and efficiency of your work throughout the organization comes from the actions and automation the solutions provide. Some of the automated processes common to these solutions include:
• Organization of information: No more searching for information or waiting for another team member to send a file. Most Task management solutions centralize information in a common area for all team members to access. Team members can instantly find the information they need and update it.
• Tracking of information: Where is a certain document in the review cycle? What progress has been made on key tasks? What are the latest sales figures? What are the latest time and expense figures? The solution ensures everyone on the team is up-to-date at all times.
• Sharing information: Team members always have easy access to project and customer related information as well as all related tasks and status. Security settings often allow you to control what information each team member can see and whether they can modify, share, or simply view it.
• Automated actions: The software keeps things moving along based on the rules and processes that you provide. Automated emails notify team members when a file has been updated, when a new task has been assigned to them, when a deadline is approaching, and more. Complete history is maintained throughout the life of the project for reporting.
• Task Management: Creation and delegation of project tasks is simple. Monitors and rules can be set to easily create alerts for incomplete tasks, tasks over budgets, delayed tasks and project scope changes.
Get control of your tasks today, work better tomorrow.
In summary, it's nothing new that having good solid control over the many daily tasks associated with any project can improve efficiency, quality, reporting, and overall job satisfaction. The tools available today are more reliable, complete, automated and customizable than ever before, and by leveraging them effectively you will drastically improve the quality of your work across the entire organization.
QuickBase by Intuit