You often hear of people complaining they need a better task management system. That’s why there are so many different apps for task management. But who needs an app for something that is relatively easy to manage with a good, old fashioned pen and paper?
Work management, however, is where people generally need help, but most don’t know the difference between managing tasks and managing work. There are so many differences that we’re going to cover the similarities first, of which there are two.
With both work management and task management, you have something to do and after you take care of it, you check it off the list.
Those two instances are the only similarities between work management and task management. Since work management tends to be a bit more involved, we will delve into its key features.
Work is always part of a multi-step process. In order to begin managing your work, you need to determine the steps and where they fall in the workflow. You also need to define who is responsible for each step.
Pertinent and ancillary information associated with your work will fall into fields. The information in these fields can range from contact information to the date a contract was signed. You define what type of data will be stored in the fields, including: text, numbers, web addresses, geo-coordinates, pick lists, or anything else you can think of. We have found that many times, particular fields are filled in by the people responsible of certain steps.
Work queues foster the accountability we talk so much about. They allow people to see what they need to work on and in what order. How does work end up in a particular queue? It can either be directly assigned to a person or can appear based on which team they are assigned to. For example, all of the work in step 1 is directly added to each team member’s queue. Pretty nifty, huh?
Having a history of work completed is essential to good work management. It brings the transparency necessary to know where the bottlenecks are in your process or to answer your clients when they ask, “what’s taking so long?” It would be short-sighted to not keep a running history of who worked on what and when.
The purpose of capturing fields, tracking steps and recording all other detailed information is to be able to produce reports. Reports are essential for both a high-level and micro-level view of the work. At a high-level, it is important to ensure nothing is falling through the cracks. On a micro-level, you need to be able to answer the questions of who, why and when for each aspect of the work.
Over the past 9 years, we have focused on architecting and implementing custom software that helps businesses manage their work, allowing it to flow through their unique processes.