Knowledge workers often juggle a lot of tasks mentally, creating a vague plan in the back of their minds while working on a single task at a time.
Once you add multiple workers — all of whom work on different aspects of projects with different roles — it becomes easy for tasks to fall through the cracks. Steps are missed; projects languish because no one thinks they are a priority.
Task boards can be a great way to avoid tasks disappearing or getting delayed, and they keep everyone on the same page.
A task board is what it seems: a visual interface that contains all the tasks a team has to do. Each task contains different components: a title, a description, an assignee who can see it, a deadline, and a budget.
Task boards are effectively a to-do list for the entire team. They show everyone how projects will flow from start to end, with the actual steps outlined clearly so that everyone knows when their deliverables are due.
Without task boards, many companies discover they have "time leaks." If you've ever heard the following, you might have time leaks:
Time leakage can occur anywhere your employees spend their time and energy that doesn't move projects forward efficiently. The Accelo study on time leakage shows that the average professional service loses tens of thousands of dollars to time leakage for even small things like answering emails each year.
Starting a new task logging protocol can take some time itself. Task management is well worth it, but understanding the value of task logs can go a long way for a smooth implementation and fixing those time leaks.
Read on to discover three ways that task logging can help.
Logging time on a task is an easy way to show the value of each step in a project. Rather than guessing how much time you spent on a call or writing an email, you can account for all the time you spend in a day and understand everything from budget usage to billing clients. This kind of transparency allows you to quickly see where you are spending too much time, or not enough.
A great way to use a task log is as a form of communication between the leader who is assigning the task out and the person who is going to complete the task.
Secondary audiences such as clients, who may ask to see an itemized list of tasks if they have questions about the bill, can see exactly where their money is going and you can cover your bases.
When the team member receives the task, the description often mentions a deadline, an anticipated time budget, and details of the needs of the work to be completed. The team member can then finalize the actual time it took to complete the task in an easy-to-edit interface.
The key with time on tasks is that you have to be willing to be granular, since anything you cannot describe in a task may risk not being billed.
By training your team to either assign or create tasks themselves for every meeting, every call, and every extensive email response, you get a comprehensive look at what it was like to work with that client.
Task logs help people understand both the good and the bad: The projects that go over budget due to more moving parts than expected, and the projects that come in quickly and under budget because they are so well managed and billed so accurately.
The second component of a task log is descriptions that communicate between team members. For instance, leadership might input guidelines from a client, and the team member who takes on the task might add notes about any challenges they ran into.
They can leave notes and descriptions for downstream workers, like someone who reviews their work or adds the next component. These notes help in the moment and create a nice paper trail for talking with clients in future catch-up sessions.
Having everything in one place in the task log saves on time leakage — if you know that everything is in the description, your team members won't have to shuffle between a call recording, an email, and a notepad trying to find all the details. Consolidation on a shared task board helps avoid miscommunication as well.
Creating task boards will become part of your organization's routine over time. Everyone needs a few minutes to collect their thoughts before diving into intensive work, and the time spent evaluating the latest task board can help get you to get ready to work.
Task boards also help you show that you've been following client guidelines, moving projects forward as quickly as expected, and only using the budget you need along the way. Clients find comprehensive task boards helpful, and their expectations can be shifted in a positive way when they see everything that goes into the work.
Leadership benefits from both a big-picture view as well as a nitty-gritty view of how the work is progressing. By clicking through to time and activity information, they can see where they can best mentor or assist their teams, helping to further a project and satisfy the needs of the customer.
The benefits of using task boards:
Task logs save more time when you can set recurring tasks, share tasks through integrations into your scheduling software, and seamlessly move information from quotes to tasks to invoices. The task status list alone makes managing projects efficiently much easier.
Accelo integrates with many tools that can help reduce time leakage all in one excellent productivity and profitability package. Get to know how we can help through a free trial today!