Tasks in Project Management

In project management, a task is an activity that needs to be accomplished within a defined period of time or by a deadline to work towards work-related goals. It is a small essential piece of a job that serves as a means to differentiate various components of a project. A task can be broken down into assignments which should also have a defined start and end date or a deadline for completion. One or more assignments on a task puts the task under execution. Completion of all assignments on a specific task normally renders the task completed. Tasks can be linked together to create dependencies.

Tasks completion generally requires the coordination of others. Coordinated human interaction takes on the role of combining the integration of time, energy, effort, ability, and resources of multiple individuals to meet a common goal. Coordination can also be thought of as the critical mechanism that links or ties together the efforts on the singular level to that of the larger task being completed by multiple members. Coordination allows for the successful completion of the otherwise larger tasks that one might encounter.

In most projects, tasks may suffer one of two major drawbacks:

Task Management

Task management is the process of managing a task through its life cycle. It involves planning, testing, tracking, and reporting. Task management can help either individual achieve goals, or groups of individuals collaborate and share knowledge for the accomplishment of collective goals. Tasks are also differentiated by complexity, from low to high.

Effective task management requires managing all aspects of a task, including its status, priority, time, human and financial resources assignments, recurrence, dependency, notifications and so on. These can be lumped together broadly into the basic activities of task management.

Managing multiple individuals or team tasks may be assisted by specialized software, for example workflow or project management software. In fact, many people[who?] believe that task management should serve as a foundation for project management activities.

Task management may form part of project management and process management and can serve as the foundation for efficient workflow in an organization. Project managers adhering to task-oriented management have a detailed and up-to-date project schedule, and are usually good at directing team members and moving the project forward.

The status of tasks can be described by the following states:

The following state machine diagram describes different states of a task over its life cycle. This diagram is referenced from IBM. A more up to date task’s state machine diagram applicable to the new continuous delivery method could be found here.

As a discipline, task management embraces several key activities. Various conceptual breakdowns exist, and these, at a high-level, always include creative, functional, project, performance and service activities.

Task management software tools abound in the marketplace. Some are free; others intended for enterprise-wide deployment purposes. Some are simple to-do lists, while others boast enterprise-wide task creation, visualization, and notification capabilities – among others. Task management is used by small to Fortune 100 size companies. It does support simple individual projects to corporate task management activities.

Project management software, calendaring software and workflow software also often provide task management software with advanced support for task management activities and corresponding software environment dimensions, reciprocating the myriad project and performance activities built into most good enterprise-level task management software products.

Software dimensions crisscrossing nearly all lines of task management products include task creation, task visualization, notifications, assign resources, compatibility, configurability, scalability, and reporting