There are many software tools that help us save time. Old school is excel spread sheets, oh so 90's. Project and task management has gone web 2.0
Trouble is with all this new technology there's the learning curve that goes with using them. That's the part that does my head in.
I just want the short story version of what it does and how it works. That's what I'll share today.
We've used 3 project management tools over the past 7 years. The first was ClockIt, nice, lots of potential but not enough functionality for us. Then we found WorkflowMax (now a part of the Xero group). WorkflowMax is a great tool, fantastic time tracking and brilliant reporting functionality but not so nice with the User Interface.
Then we discovered Mavenlink, I was an overnight convert. Smart interface, good time and task tracking, not as good with the time reporting but the company showed promise with their committment to development.
I always do that by the way, check out what they have happening on their ideas boards or forums. I don't start using software until I can see their commitment to improving it (software always needs developing). You don't want to use software that won't grow with your business.
So we went through the arduous task of converting our projects from WorkflowMax to Mavenlink. Once done we knew we'd made the right move.[January 2019 UPDATE - We have since gone from Mavenlink to Teamwork]
Simple Task Management still an issue.
Trouble is for simple task assignment outside of managing our client projects (mainly websites and online marketing) within Mavenlink was still a problem.
I've always loved the Stephen R. Covey principle in 'Seven Habits of Highly Effective People' - The Four Quadrants of Time Management. We spend time in one of four ways, depending on the two factors that define an activity: urgent and important. I wanted to apply this principle for ranking priority of the tasks, if possible.
There are a surprisingly large number of project management and task tools out there. They clock time and assign teams, but very few of them have the kind of natural appeal which Trello exhibits.
I LOVE Trello!
The visual metaphor is the board.
A simple concept but Trello makes it into something capable of displaying all the ins and outs of tasks at one glance. What's to do, being done, complete. Commenting, sharing, attaching files, prioritising. Woohoo, I was able to apply the urgent important quadrant.
The simplist way I can describe it is like having a bunch of post it notes on whiteboard, except on steroids. It can be used for managing just about anything. We currently use it to manage ALL our internal tasks. It gives users a Web-based workspace that's as easy to use as a whiteboard and Post-It notes, but full-featured enough for distributed teams that need to work on complex projects.
Trello makes all this fun, and in so doing, helps to shake your sorry self into something resembling ship-shape. Great stuff. And I've found Trello to be a bit more intuitive for the way that my brain works too.
And I love the idea that I can then invite in my colleagues into certain co-working spaces and assign tasks, keep track of progress and have people assign me work to do (Mostly I delegate).
One of the issues for me was not only the delegation but was the communication that might need to occur throughout the task as well as knowing the task was completed and signed off. I wanted to be able to see what was done at the end of a day.
It's also available as an APP. Gotta love this, I'm away from the office and I get a notification there's a query on a task I set a team member. Great, I jump on, answer the query immediately, the team member sees the response and is able to keep moving forward so no bottlenecks.
Did I mention that I LOVE Trello!
So rather than me going on about how we use it I've done a quick video showing how we've set up 'boards' for each team member and 'lists' based on the 'Four Quadrants of Time Management'.
Here's the link to the Trello site, remember it's free! There is a paid upgrade version and to be honest, nice features but we haven't found the need to upgrade.
https://trello.com/ - Don't forget to download the APP for your mobile device too. It's great brag material for when you're at a function 🙂
Let me know what you think. Make a comment below if this was useful (bonus is you'll get traffic back to your website when you do, extra traffic is good 🙂 )
PS: I’ll be emailing/posting about another powerful tool in the next email, so keep an eye in your inbox (Make sure you're in our newsletter list).
PPS: I LOVE Trello!