Project management is all about effective task management and staying on top of every task and process related to the project to ensure its success. This is possible when project managers implement efficient strategies. These strategies will not only ensure the success of the project but will also ensure that each task/process is given due diligence. As a project manager, you are responsible for keeping the project on track, and often when you have to juggle multiple projects, it is vital that you have key strategies in place for better task management.
In this post, find out what task management is, some of its benefits, 18 effective strategies to improve your task management, and more.
Table of Contents
What is Task Management?
As the name suggests, task management is the process of identifying, monitoring, and progressing the various tasks related to a project. No matter how big or small a project is, it will consist of several tasks and processes, and the efficient completion of all of their results in the successful completion of the entire project. Many people assume that task management is as simple as creating a to-do list; however, it involves much more!
Similar to a project, a task also has a lifecycle which includes activities like assignment of the task, starting and finishing of the task, verification of the task, etc. The tasks can either be independent or dependent on other tasks within the project. It is also possible that during the lifecycle of the project, some of the tasks may be terminated, paused, failed, or get expired. With such complexities involved, the need for efficient task management has only increased. Project management is not about simply assigning the tasks and waiting for their completion by the respective teams. There is a lot that project managers need to implement, and we will discuss them in detail in further sections.
Benefits of Task Management
Before we get into the strategies, let’s take a look at some of the benefits of task management.
- With efficient task management in place, project managers can help their teams in becoming more productive.
- Proper task management enables project managers and teams to perform more efficiently.
- With the help of task management, you can ensure that you never miss a deadline, thus, ensuring high customer satisfaction.
- Task management also allows project managers to monitor various trends and determine which areas are performing well and which areas need their attention.
- Task management also enables teams to alleviate unnecessary stress by ensuring they have a streamlined task process in place, timely check-ins, etc.
Top 18 Task Management Strategies
When it comes to efficient task management, there are several strategies that you can implement. Here are the 18 strategies that can help you improve your task management.
1. Defining Roles – One of the most important strategies to implement is to clearly define the roles and responsibilities of everyone involved in the project. This step should be implemented before you start allocating and managing the tasks. It is vital that each team member is aware of what is expected out of them and what kind of impact their work will have on the entire project. By clearly defining the roles in the initial stages, it will be easier for the team to unify their efforts and ensure they are all on the same page. By clearly defining the roles and responsibilities, project managers can help the team members to be more focused on their work and avoid any unwanted confusions which can hamper the progress of the project.
2. Task List – Once you have the roles defined for each team member, you need to clearly list down each and every task related to the project. Along with creating the task inventory, you also need to note down the deadline for each of the task. Ensure that you are absolutely thorough with your task list, as this will give you more visibility and a clear idea of what needs to be done. Another reason why you should create your task inventory is that it aids you in managing the huge workload. Having a master task inventory list will also help you in identifying the resources required for the project.
3. Break Down the Tasks – In many cases, several small tasks are bundled into one task, which increases the complexity of the task. This complexity can also result in delays and hindering the project progress. One of the key strategies that project managers should implement in order to facilitate better task management is to break up the big projects into smaller tasks. Now, this may seem to increase your workload; however, in the long run, this is a more effective way of ensuring that the project gets completed successfully. Also, it allows the team members to treat each of these smaller tasks as a goal to be achieved and enables them to complete the project in a seamless and timely manner.
4. Create your Priority List – Once you have all the required tasks listed down, its time to prepare your priority task list. This can be anything from a generic to-do list to a more detailed digital planner. By creating your priority list, you can ensure that the critical tasks are completed as soon as possible. There are several priority to-do list approaches, such as the Eisenhower matrix, which is one of the most popular approaches. In this approach, there are four main categories that are determined based on the urgency and importance level of the task. These four categories are: do, decide, delegate, and delete.
5. Focus on One Task at a Time – Multitasking has always been considered as one of the best skills to possess, and though this may be true, when we talk about effective task management strategies, it is highly recommended to avoid multitasking. When team members take up more work than they can handle, they end up doing nothing. Hence, it is best to encourage them to focus on one task at a time or group similar tasks which is known as task batching. Also, when team members switch between multiple tasks, it reduces their productivity by almost 40%. So, try and finish one task in its entirety before moving on to the next one.
6. Complete the Difficult Tasks First – A project usually includes a mixture of easy and difficult tasks, and it is not surprising to see that most people tend to feel overwhelmed with the difficult or scary tasks. The majority of the people save these challenging tasks to be completed at a later stage but end up struggling with it, often putting the progress of the project at risk. Hence, it is highly recommended that you try and tackle these challenging tasks in the beginning itself, so that you can accomplish them quickly and have a relaxed mind to work on your other tasks.
7. Establish Timelines – One of the key strategies when it comes to task management is setting up deadlines and adhering to them. Project managers and team members should ensure that they are setting realistic timelines for their tasks. The deadlines can be set based on the importance of the task. The key to this strategy is ensuring that the deadline you establish is actually achievable. It shouldn’t be such that it ends up causing you more stress and worry. Project managers can also monitor the completion of tasks against the scheduled completion of those tasks. This will enable them to keep an eye on which tasks are being completed on time and which of them are pending.
8. Minimize Distractions – One of the best ways to ensure effective task management is to try and eliminate or minimize distractions as much as possible. With the working culture becoming hybrid, the need to minimize distractions and boost productivity has increased all the more. To achieve this, one of the best approaches is to block off time on your calendar for certain tasks ensure that you complete it within the set time. For example, you can dedicate a specific time to check your emails rather than checking your inbox multiple times in a day, you can also block time to perform certain tasks, etc.
9. Use Kanban – Visual representation is often considered as the best form of representation and this stands true even when it comes to effective task management. One of the best ways to visualize your tasks from their start to finish is by using Kanban boards. Using a Kanban board can help project managers and team members focus on various aspects of their project, such as what are the current tasks, how many tasks have been already completed, are there any tasks which may not be completed within the set deadline, what are the next tasks to be completed, and more.
10. Clear Communication – One key strategy where most of the project managers lack is communication. The importance of communication cannot be emphasized enough. Though everybody is aware of how vital communication is, most of them tend to ignore it. Having seamless, open, and clear communication can do wonders for your projects. Project managers must ensure that there are clear communication channels in place that allow the team members to communicate with each other. The project manager should also encourage a positive environment where the team members do not feel shy to put forth their questions and opinions.
11. Better Collaboration – Today, the working world has become hybrid which means that project managers need to put in place an effective collaboration strategy that will help team members who are in different geographic locations to better collaborate with each other. It is important to have regular team huddles to discuss the progress of the tasks, any challenges, etc. Also, the team members should be made comfortable with each other so that there is seamless and effortless collaboration between them. In order to implement this key task management strategy, project managers can make use of various collaboration software as well.
12. Set up a Filing System – Irrespective of how big or small a project is, there is no doubt that it comes with loads of documents. Right from the initial stages to the final stage of the project, there is always a need for some documentation or the other. It is vital that project managers set up an efficient filing system to keep a track of all the documents related to the project. The best way of course is to ensure that you place all the documents at one single location, such as a common drive or SharePoint. This will enable the team members also to easily and quickly refer to any of the documents.
13. Rewards & Recognition – Keeping your team members motivated to always perform their best is a huge task, which is why our next key task management strategy focuses on a critical aspect – rewards and recognition. When team members work diligently on their tasks, rewarding them in any way is a huge boost to their morale. These rewards can be anything from sending a quick appreciation mail to highlighting a team member’s efforts in completion a complex task on time to setting up a team huddle to check-off the list of tasks completed, etc. These rewards and recognitions are a great way to keep the team motivated.
14. Stay on Top of Things – Project managers are responsible for setting up and implementing various systems and strategies, but to ensure how well these strategies are working, they need to keep a track of all the things. It is not enough just to develop a robust system, you will also need to regularly monitor the systems to understand how the team is performing, how well is the team utilizing their time, which tasks need more attention, etc. This monitoring and tracking of all the various aspects can be easily achieved with the help of reporting tools which include key features, such as time reports, resource reports, project reports, etc.
15. Keep the Risks in Mind – Every project comes with its own set of risks and accepting this fact enables project managers and their team members to develop a stand by plan in case something goes wrong. When it comes to task management, it is vital that project managers forecast any possible risks so that they can mitigate the impact of that risk as and when it occurs. This is a key strategy which will enable project managers and the team members to better manage their tasks and stay on track.
16. Use Dedicated Software – Project managers and employees today do not have to burden themselves with putting in manual efforts to improve their task management skills. With the advancement in technology, it is not surprising to see several task management software and project management software available in the market. These software come equipped with several features and tools that enable you to avoid wasting your time on unnecessary activities and instead focus on your tasks and goals.
17. Feedback – In order to ensure that their task management is effective and resulting in success, both the project manager and the team members should be open to feedback. One should have an open mindset that there is always room for improvement which can be identified through constructive feedback. Also, by ensuring proper feedback sharing, it is easier to understand who is lacking in which area and how can they overcome it. A feedback session can also help in identifying the pain points of the project and the team can collectively come up with the solutions.
18. Have the Right Task Management Mindset – In order to implement all the above-mentioned task management strategies, it is important that you first put yourself in the right task management mindset. This means that you should be in realistic in outlining what you can and cannot achieve. You should first try and understand your capacity, the resources available, the risks involved, tools and technologies available, etc. Apart from trying and understanding these factors, you also need to ensure that you are flexible and adaptable. This is because there is always room for change or variables that can impact your project and by being adaptable, you will be able to overcome any challenge and complete your project successfully.
Top 5 Task Management Software
As mentioned earlier, you no longer need to manually fill out spreadsheets, talk to team members to find out what the task status is, etc. All you need to stay on track is to adopt suitable task management software. Here are our top five recommendations:
So, these were our top 18 effective strategies for better task management! We hope these strategies help you in improving your task management and achieving successful project completions. If you would like to know more about the above-listed top five task management software, do check out SaaSworthy. You will find everything about this software – from their description to features to technical details to pricing plans.