Buyers Guide

Our Guide to task management software 

What is task management software?

Task management software is a useful addition to any business. An effective task management system enables you to complete large projects efficiently and on time, through creating realistic targets and linking interrelated tasks for your employees to complete that will enable them to meet their deadlines, while seeing how their piece fits into the overall jigsaw.

A good task management system will also enable you to spot problems before they occur and help you to readjust your priorities and adapt to altering circumstances. Whatever kind of industry you operate in and whatever the size of your projects, an effective task management system is an undoubted asset.  

The key features of task management software 

One of the key aspects of a task management application is the to-do list. These show the tasks that any individual or team needs to complete. Good software will also include audit trail capability, enabling users to follow the history of a task and track any changes or progress, and a task scheduling facility, allowing managers and supervisors to set up team projects and assign task completion timelines and responsibility for completion.

Many task management systems are able to integrate with email services such as Gmail or Microsoft Outlook, or with cloud storage clients like Dropbox or Google Drive, and some allow both document sharing and file syncing solutions. More advanced systems will provide management features that allow users to access the latest version of documents and to store older drafts of documents, allowing for future reference.

Automatic notifications are another useful feature in most task management software programs. They can be set for any trigger, including task completion or deletion, are usually fully customisable, and can be sent to employees or entire teams.

Finally, some task management software includes mobile support – usually as an app that can sync any user’s information to their mobile device.

The benefits of task management software


Task management software brings many benefits, but the most important occur in three key areas: improved productivity, customer satisfaction and easier project management.

By offering the ability to assign duties and responsibility to all team members, including deadlines, employees know exactly what is required of them and when this is to be achieved by, freeing them to focus fully on the task. The software will also help managers to track how well tasks are progressing and assess employee productivity.

In some cases, it is an advantage to allow customers to see the progress of any particular task or project. Most task management solutions can offer access for customers, though the extent of this access can be controlled by the user. This feature enables customers and businesses to be on the same page during a project and aids both communication and issue resolution.

A good task management system will also make project management easier by allowing task managers to set up subtasks within tasks by creating a checklist, which they can use to tick off each subtask when it is done. Various filters make it possible to view a range of information on subtasks that are still open.

Trends in task management software
 

Traditionally, software has been sold at a set price, but, in recent years, it has become normal for task management programmes to be available through a monthly subscription, based on how many users will be on the system. This makes scalability an important factor for those purchasing such software, particularly if you expect that your company is likely to grow quickly in the near term, and it is important to factor in potential increasing costs.

Open-source task management software is another recent development, but while these solutions can be useful for small teams, they typically come with no guarantee of ongoing support or updates. Free or open-source applications always come with a degree of security risk, which is important to bear in mind if your team is handling sensitive data.

Flexibility of access is a trend across all software solutions, and task management systems are no exceptions. Modern programmes are accessible in multiple locations through a wide range of devices, from laptops to smartphones, and they usually offer the ability for team members to receive updates or notifications about task deadlines or issues.

How to choose the right software

Most modern task management programs work well in a variety of workplaces, but some are particularly well adapted to specific sectors. Software development companies, for example, are most likely to opt for a package such as Trello, which is designed to work with an agile development methodology, while companies in traditional industries like construction will prefer a program that offers more project management functions.

The size of your company will also dictate which solution is right for you. If you work with freelancers, you may find that they need only key task management features, such as notifications and mobile support, while more sophisticated aspects, such as document management and collaboration features, are not relevant to them.

On the other hand, small and medium sized businesses (SMBs) will require software that is built around collaboration and sharing files, and that can handle a major project involving multiple people co-ordinating their tasks and subtasks.

Market leading task management software 

There are dozens of task management software programs available and the market is growing all the time as new solutions come online. One way to sort through the range of choices is to sign up for free trials of the more popular software packages. This will not only give you the chance to weigh up a product, it will also help you to get a clearer picture of which features you need and what aspects of functionality will be most useful to your company.

Wrike is one of the most widely used applications, and is particularly strong on facilitating collaboration between multi-functional teams. Clarizen is the choice of many Fortune 500 companies, as it blends strong project management elements with social engagement features. Trello lends itself to collaboration between users in real-time. JIRA is another popular program, which enables users to assign and set priorities to tasks, and Projectplace offers a number of general business management tools, as well as online collaboration.

Conclusion

Task management software can make a major contribution to your business in terms of productivity, efficiency and customer satisfaction. By taking the time to study what’s available and what features are most important to you and your employees, you will be in the best position to choose the software package that will suit your needs.