Does my agency need a Task Management system?
Simple tips to make the most of your year
The past year has introduced several new challenges to government agencies: Remote working, changes in resource costs, staff differences, new modernization regulations, and a shift away from outdated technology have agencies looking toward new solutions to modernize the way that they do work. Task Management Systems are a key part of those solutions because they improve accessibility, collaboration, transparency, and productivity.
What is a Task Management System, and why does it matter?
A Task Management System controls a task throughout its entire lifecycle. It gives agencies the tools they need to plan, track, test, and report on the work their employees are doing. It can help individual users tackle goals efficiently. It can also help groups of users collaborate while working together to finish a project.
In a Task Management System, employees have a digital workspace with visual accounts of every job and project that they must finish. These jobs and projects can be sorted by due date, importance, who assigned them, and other criteria. Users will always know exactly what needs to be done, when, and why it needs to be done in the first place.
How can I tell if my agency needs a Task Management System?
Do I have paper-based checklist processes with Outlook for tracking tasks?
Paper checklist may prove beneficial in our personal lives; but in many cases, assigning agency tasks with paper-based processes just isn’t enough. Modern goals and projects often involve a much higher level of complexity than paper can support.
Tracking tasks manually as an agency comes with a heightened compliance risk and reduced productivity. Task Management Systems provide data to easily audit tasks and workers’ productivity. They also provide a digital workspace for every worker to understand his or her workload for the foreseeable future. When the job at hand changes, updates can be instantly applied to the task, making your workers more informed and efficient.
Do I use an Excel sheet to keep track of my tasks?
It is difficult enough to organize a task spreadsheet while managing a job alone, but collaborating on a task spreadsheet can become a nightmare. Spreadsheets don’t give teams the ability to comment or chat on shared projects. Also, emailing around project information can lead to different team members updating different versions of the same document. When data gets deleted, there is no way of knowing who did it, when, or why they did it in the first place.
Task Management Systems allow users to communicate on any job or project. Comments can be left, notes can be made, and team members can be notified when their input is needed. There is a trail of every action taken within the system, so you will always know who did what and for what reason. In a world full of alternative work schedules and remote teams where hallway discussions and check-ins can’t happen as often, Task Management Systems take up the slack.
Do we need to keep track of which tasks are the most important & which have the closest due dates?
Depending on their size, government agencies can create and assign hundreds of tasks to thousands of workers every day. When your average employee has over 100 things to keep track of, they need to be able to see what among those goals is the most important. If your workers are struggling to meet goals and completing menial tasks over mission-critical ones, you may need a system in place to filter their workload. Employees also need to know which tasks have more impending due dates so they can finish their work on time.
Modern Task Management Solutions allow users to filter by tasks that are more important and by the upcoming due date.
Do we need to turn larger tasks into sub-tasks for different employees to complete?
Subtasks are a great way to organize massive, complex projects into more manageable parts. Depending on the methods that your agency is implementing to assign work, creating and tracking of those subtasks can be a challenge.
It is not uncommon for the original task at hand to be modified. Waiting for review, approval, or feedback from a 3rd party is separate from the original task, but also necessary for the project to move forward. In a Task Management System, it is very easy to add subtasks to the original task and assign them to people within the agency. Recurring subtasks can even be set to repeat, saving project managers time on routine management efforts.
Do we have a responsibility to control security?
Government agencies need to be able to keep their mission-critical information away from prying eyes and under control. Paper-based processes, Excel sheets, and even outdated management systems lack the security features necessary to fine-tune exactly who can see what data. You also can’t revoke access to a downloaded Excel spreadsheet once it has been given.
Task Management Systems take steps to ensure that agency projects, attachments, user data, and more are bulletproof. When a task is created, different levels of access are set. Every file attached to that task inherits the same security settings of the original item, disallowing the wrong people from seeing the wrong content.
Do we have a responsibility to create reports & dashboards?
Many federal agencies are congressionally mandated to provide reports on tasks completed within the organization. If your project manager has to gather information on task statuses, analyze it, create a report on it, and submit it to the higher-ups, critical man-hours are lost . With the help of a Task Management system, reports can be quickly and even automatically generated in daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly increments. These reporting tools let you focus on specific parts of your projects. They also give you insight and knowledge about the agency’s activity.
Do regulators require that we protect PII/BUI/CUI?
To properly protect the confidentiality of personally identifiable information, items like the name and social security number of an individual must be redacted from certain documents. Without the proper redaction tools, the black box put on top of those items may not actually be hiding the information. This puts your agency at risk of non-compliance. Modern Task Management systems come with built-in redaction tools that replace every pixel within the identified sensitive information, preventing it from ever falling into the wrong hands.