What are task management systems?

No matter what type of business you're running, there's a wide variety of tasks involved in keeping your operations going. As you grow and hire staff, the number and variety of tasks in your business can become difficult to keep up with.

A task management system provides a way to organise and manage the tasks in your business. It helps you keep track of what needs to be done, who's responsible for doing it, and when it should be done by.

Why should you use one?

  • Create a system to schedule and manage tasks, so that it's easy for everybody to see what they need to work on each day
  • Provide a simple way to assign work to staff, track how it's progressing, and make sure nothing slips through the cracks
  • Document important procedures so they are out of people's heads, improving consistency and making it easier to train new staff

Common ways to use them

  • Daily tasks lists for staff
  • Task prioritisation
  • Tracking progress of work
  • Overview of staff workloads
  • Interactive job checklists
  • Scheduling weekly tasks
  • Reusable task templates
  • Step-by-step procedures
  • Warnings for deadlines
  • Storing task notes
  • Assigning work to staff

Problems that task management solves

  • Business problem

  • With task management

  • Uncertainty about who is working on something, and how it is progressing

  • Task management: Organised overview of all tasks and who is responsible for them

  • Wasting time or duplicating work because things were forgotten

  • Task management: Ensure all tasks are kept track of, and nothing gets forgotten

  • Difficulty remembering infrequent processes, e.g. when is BAS due, and what do I need to prepare?

  • Task management: Keep a schedule of important dates, the tasks that are due, and how to do them

  • Losing important knowledge about how and when things are done if staff leave

  • Task management: Avoid knowledge loss if staff leave, and simplify training new staff

  • Work is being done differently each time, creating problems

  • Task management: Ensure work is done consistently and correctly

  • Problems are dealt with reactively, e.g. only after a customer complains

  • Task management: Proactively identify and fix potential problems before they become an issue

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Examples of task management

Procedure management system

How it works
  • Create interactive procedure templates (e.g. weekly cash flow review, new client setup process)
  • Start procedures as you need them, or schedule them at regular intervals (e.g. every Friday)
  • While a procedure is being worked on, staff have step-by-step instructions they can check off
Business benefits
  • Keep track of when procedures need to happen, and who is responsible for them
  • Make sure that everything is being done correctly, with no steps forgotten
  • Ensure knowledge of important procedures is stored in the business, not employees heads

Job to-do lists

How it works
  • Create task templates for all of the standard things that need to be done on a job
  • When a new job is booked in, use the template to create tasks and assign them to the right people
  • Each person can then work off their own to-do list, which shows what's been assigned to them
Business benefits
  • Keep track of how jobs are progressing, and which tasks are complete
  • All of the work is easily delegated to whoever is responsible
  • Everybody knows what they need to do, and nothing is forgotten on a job

Daily store checklists

How it works
  • Set up a checklist of tasks that need to be done each shift (e.g. check new deliveries)
  • Whoever is working that day follows the list of what needs to be done
  • Tasks can be checked off, and notes added (e.g. new stock arrived damaged)
Business benefits
  • Simplify staff training, and keep everybody aware of responsibilities on their shift
  • Management can add/change work responsibilities as required, and ensure it's being done
  • Adds staff accountability (e.g. this was on the list but wasn't done, please explain)

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