Custom Project Management
Here, we are going to cover the largest waste of time for nearly every project manager. Having your team do the same thing more than once.
Let’s become more efficient leaders and review the following:
- Why smart project managers allow this
- How this affects projects
- How to customize your management to avoid these issues
First, why would anybody who’s disciplined and intelligent enough to be running a small (or large) team tolerate the wastefulness of having highly-skilled (i.e. expensive) workers doing the exact same work two times, three times, or in some cases more? Obviously, they would never do this intentionally.
Most project managers stumble across the occasional duplicate task, but in the mess of an urgent deadline complex goals often quickly find themselves degraded into a jumbled mess of overlapping tasks… so what? Everybody has had the experience of duplicating a little work here and there.
It can manifest in ways:
- It may cause a developer to build two highly similar features a few months apart, with the original forgotten about until the second has already been done.
- It may cause a designer to create two different design concepts each from tasks worded slightly differently and interpreted (naturally) as two different tasks.
- It may just cause a little bit of confusion to somebody if it’s something fresh on their mind and is accurately recognized as a duplicate task that’s been done elsewhere. This is rare.
So.. If this happens often, why does it matter?
Few people know that full extent of the difference between a properly managed project and one that runs off the rails with duplicate tasks. The difference is staggering: Well-managed organizations complete nearly 90% of projects while poorly managed organizations complete only 36%. If your team is doing the same work again and again, it reflects a systemic issue of undisciplined task management; the type of team that likely ends up with the PM frantically micromanaging in a desperate attempt to get things done on time (spoiler: it doesn’t get done on time). It’s critical that you be an effective team, otherwise, your project is likely doomed from the start. This may sound like a critique of the project manager (and in some cases it can be), however, in most situations it is simply a reflection of a system that makes it easy to create duplicate work.
Which leads me to my last point:
You need a system that makes it difficult to create duplicate tasks.
Nobody can keep track of everything in their head – without being able to make sense of what is and isn’t an existing task quickly, you don’t stand a chance. This means you need a project management framework that, when any duplicate task pops into your head as though it were a new task, you see nearly instantly that the task is already in the system. Not only does this save you from the duplicate task, it’s indicative of a properly organized project with a place for everything and with everything in it’s place. If tasks get lost or lack proper structure, it’s nearly impossible to make sense of what is and isn’t written into a task. It reflects sloppy thinking and a project with no coherent structure.
So, what do I do to solve this problem?
- By allowing subtasks and assigned comments (back to this on point #2) within any task, you know where things belong. There’s no reason to have one (or several) disorganized, endlessly long lists of tasks with unclear relationships to one another.
- The right tool makes it easy to assign comments within a task or subtask, ensuring that smaller tasks of any kind exist under the appropriate larger task without any delay.
- Immediately create new tasks/subtasks when conceived, this ensures there’s no question of “Did I add this already?” lingering in the back of your mind or blindly hoping it’s being logged in the right place.
- Create a custom system for yourself. Don’t let your team be forced into using what works for you, let them view their tasks in the way most natural to them. It’s easy to toggle multiple views in our favorite app.
The combined effect is you have a system that keeps itself organized and helps you keep track of everything that’s going on. You’re allowed to see relationships and hierarchy in a way that enables you to make sense of the big picture and the details.
Stop repeating yourself, find a project management software that suits your company now!