Frequently in project management it is necessary to deal with long term planned activities and daily tasks that arrive ad-hoc on a daily/hourly basis. I find existing tools often struggle with these two different scenarios.
Task management falls into two camps, project management that may span months/years and day to day task management. Neither is particularly appropriate to represent the other. Project planning has little concern about hour long tasks, and daily to-do lists certainly cannot forecast if your present hour long task will mean completing the project on time.
Frequently people find themselves in the position where we must juggle both. This may mean dodging in and out of different systems, glancing/reviewing project plans and taking tasks from one system to another. It can be both complex and time-consuming and lead to frequent contemplation of project plan tasks and their relation to present actions.
I think there is an elegant way to handle this using a single system. The features of this system are the following:
- It combines project tasks with ad-hoc daily items under a single framework
- Since project/daily tasks are under one system, daily/weekly review of project lists can be removed
- The basis of scheduled activities is a project plan so important projects tasks are covered by default
- It allows for taking project plan tasks and breaking them down into actionable tasks that are conducive to daily work
- It is quick to both enter new tasks and determine which tasks to execute
To get such advantages, I try to utilise the strengths of different methods of task management. I merge three different approaches (Waterfall, SCRUM and GTD) to create a unified approach to task management that spans project activities spanning years to daily tasks in the order of minutes. I outline the approach here: http://donebeforebrekky.com/macro-to-micro-task-management/
Be warned, it is a long post so you may want to grab a cup of tea and a biccy before tackling it.
I have shown some real world examples of how it has worked in practice and in my case it is applied in engineering projects with both local and international team collaboration activities.