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Task Management Software

Task Management software allows groups of users to work together more cohesively to quickly and thoroughly complete projects. Features such as time tracking and project tracking ensure that all project tasks are covered and progress reports are up to date. Other functions of Task Tracking software include automatic time budgeting and timeline, email syncing, to-do list creation, collaborative interfaces for all users, and task reminders. Task Management software is related to Project Management software, Idea Management software, Professional Services Automation software, Time and Expense software, and Workflow Management software. Find the best task management software for your organisation in Australia.

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Task Management Software Buyers Guide

Task management software tools are applications that enable groups of professionals to work together as part of teams to complete projects. They help automate task allocation, monitoring, and progress reporting, minimising the workload for both team members and their leads while also ensuring that there is transparency and accountability throughout the organisation. Task management tools benefit many corporate professionals, including project managers, program managers, and product managers. They are well suited for use in collaborative environments like web development, property management, healthcare administration, advertising, finance, construction, and engineering work. But also in field sales, market research, and political and NGO canvassing endeavours. At its core, a task management application helps team leaders orchestrate project work and boost team productivity, making full use of the available talent and resources to achieve project goals in as little time as possible. It usually features a calendar-based display with colour-coded tasks, manual and automatic input options, deadline reminders, and automated progress checks. Bringing the team's objectives, checklists, and task files together on a single dashboard enables team members to synchronise, track progress, and collaborate on measurable Objectives and Key Results (OKRs). These applications are essentially task tracking and progress reporting tools, and share some of their functionality with Project Management Software, Workflow Management Software, Idea Management Software, and Remote Work Software tools. But there's also a budgeting aspect to them. Seeing as they can often be used in time, talent, and resource allocation and monitoring, they often cross over into categories like Time and Expense Software and Requirements Management Software. This enables corporate professionals to opt between using several specialised tools or a single, more comprehensive one across multiple projects.

While many companies in the Australia continue to rely on Excel spreadsheets for task management purposes, most use a combination of tools to manage their projects, tasks, and resources.

Task tracking software tools vary in design and functionality, depending on their target users. Some were created for very specific industry verticals like engineering, web development, and healthcare. But most come with cross-industry capability out of the box and will work in virtually any team environment because they all come with a few basic features:

  • Capture objectives and organise projects
  • Create new and recurring tasks and subtasks
  • Match tasks with talent and assign them
  • Follow team activity and project progress in real-time
  • Collaborate with team members on files and tasks from the same dashboard
  • View team member engagement and coordinate to cover activity gaps Identify bottlenecks and challenges, updating tasks as needed
  • Tally work hours and compare with initial forecasts

What is Task Management Software?

Task management software is designed to assist professionals in the Australia to carry out their work as a team by scheduling tasks, reporting their progress, and tracking their time spent on projects. Part of project management efforts and essential to their success, task management enables business managers to segment their projects into actionable and quantifiable tasks, organising them sequentially to ensure the smooth flow of duties and information within teams. Using task and team management software, project managers can plan, distribute, schedule, and monitor individual tasks and team member engagement. As such, team leaders in charge of task management can have a variety of roles, including project managers, ward managers, program managers, contract managers, property managers, product managers, or virtually any other type of managerial position within the business. While some tools are designed for specific industry verticals, most will try to align with the needs of an eclectic user base. So, the UI is usually code-less, developed to accommodate the needs of people with varying degrees of IT skills. Task management applications are often web-based, but many developers will also offer Android and iOS apps to facilitate data entry and monitoring for distributed teams and in-house teams. While some companies can develop proprietary task management tools as part of their software stack, most will opt for cloud applications made available through SaaS type subscriptions. Others will choose the hybrid model, making full use of the features available within the application they buy but choosing to store sensitive data on company premises. Depending on the type of project, team leaders may use their task managing software tools for features specific to this type of application, including Gantt charts, Kanban boards, Scrum sprints, burndown charts, and other frameworks and methods that can automate their work and ensure that their projects reach fruition. For those interested in learning about these methods, Capterra offers a variety of resources online, including free Gantt chart templates on the official blog post.

What are the benefits of task management software?

The benefits of task management software stem mainly from the fact that they help businesses in Australia streamline project lifecycles. Whether it's enabling communication across the company, facilitating simultaneous collaboration on multiple projects, or identifying bottlenecks and challenges before they escalate, a task management tool's capabilities translate into savings. More specifically, we could classify the benefits of task management applications as:

  • Increased productivity: Enabling team leaders to break up a project into smaller sections— apportioning tasks to specific teams, allocating subtasks to team members of their choice, and distributing resources to cover every task—means companies can bring workers on the same page, minimise waste, and improve overall efficiency. They can match tasks with workers instantly, sending project updates in real-time, to ensure that everyone in the team understands their role and their order in the queue.
  • Optimised workflows: Like other work management software, task manager tools are very adept at pointing users to tasks that need special attention, are time-consuming or harm other projects. Rather than chase up employees and request progress reports, staff task management software can access all the information they need instantly. With these tools, project managers can reallocate or prioritise other tasks to lighten the workload, find workarounds, or reassess their options. Also, as project information is available to all stakeholders anytime, colleagues can proactively step in to help one another and reduce backlogs.
  • Realistic budgeting: Having a permanent, accurate, and easily accessible record of the time, talent, and resources spent on each project, task management software makes it easier for the company to budget for current and future projects. While not all enterprise task management software will enable users to log their expenses and requirements, most will, at the very least, accept work hour input. This information can be shared with accounting, payroll, and finance departments to forecast overheads and salaries, and make necessary invoice adjustments.
  • Centralised management: Keeping everyone in the loop in large companies with distributed teams is made easier with enterprise task management software. Colleagues can access it remotely and securely—viewing only the information they are authorised to view—and collaborating in real-time so that cross-regional projects reach their goals without time zone limitations.

What are the features of task management software?

The features of task management software are as varied as the applications themselves. But all online work management tools, from the most rudimentary to the most complex, will come with at least eight basic attributes. The most common features of task management software are as follows:

  • Task editing and updating: Edit and update tasks based on project requirements and resource availability. This can be done using drop-down menus, drag-and-drop tools, manual entry, automated input, and other such tools that minimise workloads for team leaders and do away with programming expertise requirements.
  • Subtask editing and prioritisation: Divide tasks into actionable subtasks to manage them at a micro-level. This enables users to view them at a glance, understand the dependencies between them, and prioritise them based on urgency and importance to speed up project completion.
  • Task scheduling: Schedule and assign tasks, allocating time and resources to each subtask. With this feature, team management software users can set time-frames for their projects, establish deadlines, match tasks to users, and estimate the number of hours each worker should dedicate to each task. The software might include Kanban boards, Gantt charts, Scrum-type sprints, custom request forms, automated task assignments, and shared workflows on the same dashboard.
  • Task tagging: Tag and label tasks and sub-tasks to organise them. This feature enables users to categorise and sort them, often using colour-coding based on priority levels. Tags and labels also allow users to add information to tasks assigned to them directly through URL links and email notifications, rather than searching the entire calendar for their tasks.
  • Task and project tracking: Track project progress over its entire lifecycle, from initiation through closure. Job tracking software can cover most of a project's phases, including planning, execution, monitoring, controlling, and completion. With this tool, managers can keep track of key performance indicators, especially as many tools come with built-in analytics and reports. Using techniques described in Burndown Tracking: Agile Task Management, team leaders can also estimate the time needed for completion compared to the initial estimate.
  • Alerts and notifications: Track milestones, deadlines, and updates notifying team members and other stakeholders in real-time. Task tracking tools should be able to alert users in real-time when a new assignment is created, an update takes place, a milestone is reached, or there is an error in the system. This can be via email, browser pop-up, push notification, and/or in-app alert.
  • Recurring task management: Copy tasks and schedule them at specific times of the day, week, month, or year. In fields like marketing, healthcare, property management, accounting, and engineering, some tasks are repetitive and mandatory. Rather than build up a project management scenario from scratch, team leaders can automate project creation and schedule tasks to avoid redundant work.
  • Time tracking: Track time spent by all team members on their tasks. This enables team leaders to track resource allocation, employee development and engagement. Over time, a task tracking tool may even be able to point out patterns in employee activity levels, compare project participation across teams, and identify individuals who excel or lag behind their colleagues in terms of performance.

Capterra's software directory includes task management tools with these and many other features. Readers interested in tried-and-tested applications are welcome to browse the directory for the ideal task management application for their business, filtering results and distilling them so that only one contender remains, ticking all the right boxes for their business.

What should be considered when purchasing task management software?

When purchasing time tracking software, selections should be less a matter of aesthetics and more practicality. To that end, there are three things business owners should consider when purchasing task management software:

  • Does it meet business needs? Depending on the type of business, a simple, no-frills task tracker may not be enough to satisfy requirements. Leaders interested in growth may opt for scalable, SaaS type software that can either integrate with existing tools or provide API linkage so that they may develop their software stack on the go and evolve in complexity. Australia businesses may be able to find tools that meet their expectations, within the limits of their budget, by comparing pricing plans and features side-by-side on the Capterra directory.
  • Is this software market-specific? While most task management applications can cater for a broad audience, certain industries require market-specific tools. For instance, users in healthcare, logistics, construction, or translation may find that only a handful of applications meet their requirements in terms of convenience, functionality, compliance, and legality. When it comes to enterprise task management software, this is all the more important as labour and privacy laws differ from one country to the other.
  • Does it facilitate transparency? Communication and visibility are the underpinnings of project management. Online work management tools that don't facilitate real-time collaboration, at-a-glance visualisation, and instant data access for stakeholders don't meet these basic requirements. With access to Kanban boards and Gantt charts in real-time, workers can view the impact of their work instantly while also staying abreast of changes and seeing what their colleagues are working on. Finally, offering multi-lingual and multi-device content is as important as granting users access to data in real-time, sending push notifications when there are updates, and distributing deadline reminders.

The most relevant task management software trends reflect a shift from conventional Excel spreadsheet-based project management to more sophisticated business-specific technology. As this software automates and streamlines many phases and tasks involved in project management, it stands to reason that more and more businesses across the Australia will adopt it. While some may develop proprietary tools, many will subscribe to service providers who can quickly adapt to these emerging task management software trends:

  • Reliance on Artificial Intelligence (AI) is growing: Nowadays, artificial intelligence is part and parcel of task management tools. It stems from the ever-growing demand for faster and more efficient work, which drives competitiveness. As they integrate it with their business processes, businesses across the Australia are automating their workflows and ridding themselves of waste and redundancy. But while machine learning and bots can automate and speed up complex operations, they can let non-tangible indicators fall through the cracks. Machines cannot quantify the meaningfulness of human interaction, favouring workers who are fast and efficient over those who may be slower but more effective. They overlook soft skills and interactions with indirect results, which may make up the larger part of the workday for those involved in healthcare. AI tools are only as good as their programming, and the weak point of many task management tools is that their programming is not visible or accessible to regular users.
  • Growth of the Internet of Things (IoT): In industries like construction, logistics, healthcare, and sales, users rely on input from IoT devices to determine when to initiate certain tasks or execute a project. For instance, workers are assigned to fixing a sensor or approaching a shopper who uses a help desk terminal. According to a Gartner study cited in Digitalisation's Impact on PPM Practices and the PMO, IoT is gaining traction in data collection, analysis, and reporting. As project managers and companies set out to find tools that meet their needs in terms of team size, collaboration, layout, features, and adaptability, it's easy to become wrapped up in trends and media coverage instead of focusing on key features for specific companies or projects.
  • Mobile readiness is a must: Mobile access has been a key requirement for some time. Mobile-ready task management software enables users to keep track of their assignments, collaborate, report, and communicate from anywhere and at any time. Mobile apps are essential to remote workforces, who need access to project dashboards around the clock from the first moment they are on board. But as mobile devices evolve, with dual-screen, foldable, and bendable models taking the spotlight, this key trend may present more challenges for task management apps.
  • Chatbot usage is the next big thing: Users are growing accustomed to having chatbots on virtually every application they access. Bots can help automate tasks, workflows, reporting, notifications, and virtually every other aspect of task management. They can also help guide new users through different sections of the dashboard, suggesting ways to automate their work. Likewise, they can help link the task manager with other in-house tools, such as customer databases, knowledge bases, and report archives. But the quality of their work is directly proportional to the quality of their code, and they are vulnerable to social biases.
  • Tighter deadlines: For competitive businesses, speed is a given, and deadlines are stricter with each passing year. As they integrate more software and automate more of their tasks, companies expect their project time-frames to fall in line, shortening the risk management and integration phases of project lifecycles. But businesses should also factor in change management and the challenges it brings, budgeting and allocating time for the implementation of new software.