The success and growth of an organization depend on the efficiency and work ethics of its employees. When a team of an organization sets out to achieve an assigned objective, it does so by carrying out a series of coordinated tasks and activities. Competence and efficiency are needed in each job if the planned objective is to be achieved successfully.
Teams often feel burdened and intimidated with excessive jobs, which often leads to poor results. Apart from this, poor planning and direction also lead to the failure of a project altogether. All of this seems more fearsome when the team members are operating remotely, like in the present situation. However, with some ingenious task management tips and appropriate collaboration tools, these risks can be reversed to gain optimum productivity and growth. Some of the most common problems of a team when they are loaded with work, arise in the form of work duplication, inefficiency and inability to meet deadlines, etc. And if you are a team leader or a project manager, the only thing that can help you in these circumstances is proper task management.
Here are a handful of simple task management ideas that you can adopt to improve the productivity of your teams.
- Prioritize tasks: The successful completion of a project needs all the jobs to be carried out properly, and some of these tasks are more important than others. If you are a team leader or a project manager, you need to look at the larger scheme of things and identify tasks that are essential for the success of a project. By prioritizing tasks, your team will get to know which job to perform first, and the team members will go about doing their work accordingly.
Completing some of the essential tasks will give your team a running start and help build confidence of the team members for the rest of the project.
- Delegate correctly: An essential part of task management is putting the right person to the right job. If your team is put together with competent people who know their role in the project, then the work will happen more seamlessly. However, for that to happen, you need to critically assess each task and assign it to people who have the requisite skills for that job.
Many wheels need to be turned together to make a project successful. And when each member of a team knows clearly what the expectations are, each task will be done efficiently and on time. Improper delegation, on the other hand, will slow the team down and foster inefficiency.
- Do one task at a time: When a team tries to handle many tasks at a time, it ends up doing nothing at all. As a team leader/project manager, you must ensure that the efforts of your team members are focused on the task at hand and that their attention is not diverted towards too many things. You must encourage your team to concentrate on one task at a time and do it with absolute precision.
Completion of tasks on time is of utmost importance and so is maintaining the quality of work. And a focused and concerted team effort is essential for this to happen.
- Use a Kanban board: An effective way of keeping an eye on the progress of tasks is to plot them on a Kanban board. How you classify jobs will depend on the nature of the work. However a commonly used classification process divides tasks into four simple categories which are - To Do, On-going, done and backlog.
By adopting this simple and transparent system, you can easily chalk out the status of work for your team. This helps the team to get complete clarity about the progress of assigned tasks and where it is lagging. As a project manager, this method will give you better control and help you develop discipline and accountability in the team.
- Set time limits to each task: An important aspect of task management is managing the timelines. If you want your team members to complete their jobs and the overall project in time, you must assign clear deadlines/time limits to every job. While deciding the time limits for each job, you must assess the nature of the job and allot a realistic timeframe for it to get completed. By fixing a timeline, you encourage your team to stick to the planned schedule and stop backlogs from getting piled up.
- Ease of communication: Communication is the key for any team to function effectively, and it plays a big part when it comes to task management also. Many crucial tasks need a coordinated effort of different team members, which makes the need for effective communication irrefutable.
Effective communication is also necessary for better supervision and control of tasks. As a project manager, an active communication channel will enable you with updates on real-time progress of jobs, which in turn will help you take needful decisions at the most appropriate time. Over the long term, effective communication will also help in building a more cohesive and reliable team.
- Enable collaboration: If a team is to optimize its performance, all the team members should be able to collaborate with ease. You can assign particular tasks to individual team members and for those tasks to culminate in the successful execution of a project, it needs the team members to be on the same page and collaborate effectively.
Especially during the times of troubleshooting, you will find collaboration to be quite helpful. For example, if there is a team member who is struggling with a particular task, you can ask another teammate to join forces with him/her and carry out the job effectively. Better collaboration gives a fresh impetus to building more productive teams and motivates team members to help each other in the tasks at the same time.
- Manage change: We are living in dynamic times, to say the least. Frequent changes, especially when it comes to technology, are always around the corner. Particularly, if your work is dependent on the internet, your clients will expect you to adopt new technologies and innovation in your work.
As a project manager, you should be well informed and flexible enough to integrate these changes into your team. You must encourage your team to adopt the current best practices, and promote innovation and creativity in team members.
- Use a Task Management Tool: To make task management a little bit easier, you can integrate one of the many task management tools available online. If you search for free project management tools online, you will find a plethora of options. These task management tools provide a simple structure in which you can plot all your tasks at hand and supervise them with ease. It allows you to create new jobs, assign them to the right people and assess their progress through a virtual platform. With Crotle, for example, you can seamlessly manage entire projects from the beginning to the end, by keeping an eye on all the real-time updates on tasks, the easy delegation of jobs, setting up a proper chain of command, controlling the deviation and more.
- Conclusion: Task management builds synergy and reduces the stress-levels of team members, along with improving the efficiency and productivity of the team.
When the going gets tough, task management becomes imperative for teams to function in a seamless and coordinated manner. There may be times when all this planning and organization will look unnecessary; however, in the long run, this could prove to be the difference between success and failure.