Improving efficiency and productivity are central themes used by managers to decrease costs and increase profits. Task management for many businesses usually consists of a combination of post-it notes, a whiteboard, or if really sophisticated, an Excel spreadsheet!

The issue with these methods is that they severely limit the development of the business. Business processes tend to be made to fit into the existing, rigid structure, with no ability to expand and develop to take advantage of new opportunities, or to react to threats in the existing model.

More than this, these task management methods also do not allow a business to scale and grow. There is a limit on how many tasks and staff can be managed by these methods, even including where Excel is being used.
Another drawback is that tasks can still be missed, and how do you actually work out what resources you have available while work is being carried out. Can you take on more business, and if you do, will you be able to deliver on time and on budget, or are you biting off more than you can chew?

There are many other drawbacks to these ad hoc task management systems which are created over time, however there is a solution.

Task Management Software

Task management software allows you to create task or job lists, which are stored and managed in a central repository. Common features which are included provide a range of management functionality, such as the ability to allocate tasks to designated assignees, or to have a pool of tasks which are picked up by the staff team as they proceed through the workflow.

In addition, you are provided with insight into how the work is being carried out, and where you are at any particular stage. You can see who is actually being very productive and whether you have actually overloaded a member of staff of team. By adopting a task management solution, you will also be able to see at a glance what your workload looks like, so when you are being asked to take on more customer work, you can make a realistic and accurate assessment as to whether you will be able to perform the work on time to the client’s satisfaction.

Automated Workflows

Automating workflows is an extremely powerful technique for establishing work procedures, and is particularly useful when you have multiple tasks that need to be carried out by multiple staff to generate a finished product or service.

Some task management software solutions combine the ability to add workflows to them, which allows you to create business processes to be followed by your staff. At each step of the workflow, you can see which staff member did what particular part of the job, when they started, how long it took to finish and then who it was passed on to for the next stage.

This functionality provides you with some distinct advantages, not least you can “see” a job as it passes through your workflow. This lets you work out where you are experiencing bottlenecks, or have an issue with resource allocation, which if rectified means you can work faster and at lower cost.

Jane Wrythe is a business blogger currently working for JobTraQ, the leading provider of task management and automated workflow software.