One primary design goal of QuickPlan is to help us work RIGHTLY and EFFICIENTLY, to help us maintain the project schedule very smoothly and efficiently. And compared to just providing functionalities in mass, QuickPlan supports us in managing projects rightly.
Different types of tasks require the use of varying management apps.
When managing a project, we need to manage various types of works. It's not suitable to track all the tasks in a project schedule, and the project schedule tool is NOT the only tool to manage all the project tasks.
In general, when we are talking about project "task," we may be dealing with various concepts that are different.
- Scheduled tasks in project schedule document (the team depends on it to know what to do at the day- when to start, when to finish, what's next, whom to do, what's the planned cost, etc.)
- TODO tasks (or with another name like "action registration," "team actions," "customer action registration", etc.)
- Risk mitigation actions
- Tasks managed using the Kanban or Agile Board (like in a swim-lane list)
- Identified tasks in the project goal and objective documents
- Identified tasks in the meeting minutes
- Unmanaged tasks
The project schedule is to set the tasks to:
- Guide the team to execute – when to start, when to finish, whom to do it, and how many efforts are needed.
- Reflect the project reality. The project team should be active in reviewing the project status and rescheduling the tasks to reflect the real situation. Think of a not maintained project for the changed reality, can the schedule guide the team?
So in a project schedule
- Tasks should be scheduled well before being executed (letting the team know how to do).
- The schedule should be updated (re-scheduled) when performing if we can not follow the existing schedule.
- The task executing progress should be tracked continuously.
Please check out the details of why we choose a project schedule app.
We do not need to put all the tasks of managing a project in a project schedule. If a task is not to guide the team on how to do, but just a reminder for us to complete something by time, probably the todo app is simple and good enough for it. The cost to manage the tasks in a project schedule is much higher than in a todo app.
Comparing the TODO task and the task in a project schedule
- Usually, we care about its finish time, task owner, and current status for a todo task. We don't care about the start time, the executor, the cost, and the task relationship with other tasks.
- The management cost of project scheduling work usually is much higher than the cost of managing TODO tasks.
Indeed for some cases, it's useful to schedule tasks with the duration of an hour (or in minutes). However, I'd like to suggest to check if there are other better options, as a heavy management process means high cost and long duration. We should balance our processes and tools.
- We don't need to keep the task "duration" to be the same as the task "work". If we need just one hour of work, the task duration can be different - we can plan to complete the task in one day by one hour of effort.
- If some short-duration activities can be managed in a stable workflow, can we define a PROCESS to cover them?
- Is it a better choice to manage the tasks using the agile board?
- Is the TODO app enough to manage the tasks?
- Do we need to control the tasks in documents(for example, the "weekly team review meeting" task)?
Project Schedule is NOT the only tool to manage project tasks
Based on the project process and the real situation, various tools are used to manage project tasks
- Project Schedule
- Action REgistration
- Kanban, Agile Board, Whiteboard, etc.
- Tools and apps to manage identified meeting minutes, goal action, etc.
For short-term activities
- Define a suitable process for the work-flow of short and related activities
- Using tools like agile-board or KanBan for short duration cycle.
Not all the tasks should be and can be maintained in a project schedule. The project team needs to balance the use of the tools.
We have some suggestions.
We don't mean that task duration cannot be short. Usually, organizing tasks in a too short period is not an ideal practice. QuickPlan fine-tunes the best useful features and focuses on helping the users do the RIGHT thing.
- Plan the task in one day, and set the effort (work) the hours you expect. Leave the team member be flexible to manage the time in one day – better solution to balance schedule flexibility and management cost.
- Using the project schedule app for project scheduling
- Balance the management cost and the data accuracy - try to be accurate, but let the project member control the very details
- For example, a task of "calling to a customer." Usually, if the "call" does not impact other tasks much in the project schedule, the "call" is a TODO task or an un-documented task based on its importance.