The Challenge of Project & Task Management
Our micro-organization consists of instructional designers, media designers, and management. We interface with faculty, staff, and administration. As expectations rise, so do our use of time. We all know it’s hard to prioritize work as well as manage expectations. Couple this with competing interests and an overwhelming amount of tools available and you’ve got a potential mess. You either have a less-than-optimal adoption rate or chaos. Every group consists of people who are highly organized as well as those who are disorganized. There is no one tool to rule them all. No game changer. There are too many good options.
Settling on Teamwork
Our organization settled on a tool called Teamwork. It’s not free. But it met the needs of both our micro and macro organization for both task and project management. Teamwork is Web-based, so there’s no software needed to install. It is integrated (not well) with Exchange as well as Twitter. It’s as simple as well as complex.
A Few Examples
Our instructional designers use Teamwork to walk faculty through a course development timeline. This includes developments and redevelopments of courses. They identified benchmarks and put together an appropriate timeline. Our marketing and communications department is implementing this as a firm within our university to manage projects and clients. Networking and software services are using it for project management in their team across disciplines. Another more granular way to manage tasks is by defining them as “issues”.
Managing Tasks as Issues
One simple way Teamwork helps manage work is by tracking time with associated tags. This is helpful to quantify what we are doing and what kind of work we’re doing. One key component for our office is to use this tool to help keep focus on work based on mission/vision/purpose. If not, we have metrics in place for supervisors to assist us in refocusing work. It also provides hard data to drive additional staffing if possible.
Managing Time in Teamwork
Teamwork is not a game changer. It doesn’t have a mobile version for workers not consistently at a desk. It can be overly complex if not used properly. Teamwork isn’t really geared for higher education. It has more of a business base. However, with help from architects on our staff who adopted Teamwork and developed some taxonomies, Teamwork is becoming a very serviceable project and time management tool.