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10/26/2009

Tips on Tasks Part 2

In my last post, we discussed tasks and how to use them in project management software. In this post, let's finish that discussion with some guidance into how to use tasks in a project management software tool.

You can read the earlier post here.

First, you need to understand how you use tasks within your organization. If you are a collaborative organization without formal project schedules, then you can use a simple task tool without the need to break out into sub tasks or create more formal project schedules. If you do need more formal project schedules, such as in a product engineering environment, you will need a more sophisticated tool to break out tasks into sub tasks and schedule them.

In general, here are the most common tools to manage tasks in a project management software system:

1. Simple Task Manager. Some tools have a simple task manager tool where you simply create tasks in the project. You don't break them out into sub tasks or fit them into a project schedule, you simply create tasks. If you have more of a need and culture for collaboration without much formal project scheduling, this would be a good type of tool to investigate. This is more collaborative in nature where there is not a lot of control over the specific tasks within a project.

2. Gantt View. By far the most common type of tool is the Gantt View. The Gantt View enables the creation and breakdown of tasks along with the scheduling of tasks with dependencies and constraints for a complete project schedule. You should use this tool if you have a need for more formalized project schedules, and it is important to track the status of schedules / the impact of falling behind in any area of the schedule. By its nature, this will require a little more time to understand how to use it, but it will be well worth it in the long run.










3. Work breakdown structure. A work breakdown structure is simply a breakdown of the work that is required to complete a project. It typically breaks down tasks into sub tasks into more sub tasks until you get down to an appropriate level. A work breakdown structure tool could be a hierarchical tool showing this almost like an organization chart, or it could be an outline tool showing it in outline format. Most project management software tools show a work breakdown structure in an outline format (such as in a Gantt View). However, some tools have a specialized work breakdown tool for this very purpose. You should use this type of tool if many of your projects are different, you have to break out the work each time, and it is vital that you thoroughly break out the work before even thinking about scheduling (p.s. we built both methods into EnterPlicity to support the different needs).








How do you use tasks in your organization and what tools do you use? Send your comments to blog@teaminteractions.com.




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EnterPlicity is project management software that enables your organization to extend project management software tools to everyone, share any project information, automate key processes, and analyze project data in a single, easy to implement system.