Agile workflow

8 min read

How to Simplify Your Workflow With Visual Task Management

Fri Jul 09 2021
Sean Blake
Written by Sean Blake, Head of Marketing

Your workspace is cluttered, full of confusing sticky notes, messy to-do lists, and confusing tasks. It seems like the whiteboards are never big enough for all your notes. Tracking progress on timesheets is a constant challenge, and it’s hard to figure out which tasks are complete. It’s time to find a project management tool that streamlines your workflow.

The best task management software makes prioritizing and tracking tasks simple. Discover how your small business or team members can benefit from using a visual task management tool to automate workflow in real-time.

What is visual task management?

Before delving into the nitty-gritty of task management systems, you need to understand the concept of visual task management.

Simply defined, visual task management is a management technique that uses a task board to display and track work.

Many teams use to-do lists, spreadsheets, and work files to control their workflow. These methods are effective when the team has a few tasks to perform.

But when project tasks are complex, a visual display provides a focused view of the work plan. This visual perspective is effective and efficient in showing team members a timeline of their various tasks and deadlines.

Visual task management can be manual or automated. A manual process relies on whiteboards and sticky notes. These tools help to visually represent the project process for the team.

The manual system is fine for simple task management. But manual visualization can quickly become a hassle when dealing with complex tasks. And this manual process doesn't help remote teams much either.

Automation is the way to go when handling complex tasks with remote teams, and it can also help simplify workflows for local workers by showing you what needs to be done and when.

An automated task management solution helps streamline agile project management. It shows you a timeline view of tasks that’s easier to understand.

When you use the best task management software to prioritize and track tasks, you're essentially creating a roadmap for success with greater team collaboration and simpler project task tracking.

Visual project management benefits

Visual task management includes a long list of benefits. Essentially, these customizable task management are just much easier than whiteboards. When you take the sweat out of manual tools, your teamwork improves.

Small businesses and freelancers get to enjoy many benefits, including:

1. Online views improve collaboration.

Local and remote teams can view task management boards, including Kanban or Scrum boards, from any location. Project managers and team members can also add new tasks as the need arises.

The many collaboration features in these management tools support teamwork, task completion, and workflow

2. A massive time-saving tool

Stakeholders get to enjoy a quick visual of task progress as it is easy to understand the project timelines. Because team members can instantly view their tasks, they save time rather than scrounging around for notes and files.

Adding Android and iOS apps to the mix further supports the management of complex projects. Apps further add to time-savings as stakeholders can view project progress anywhere, at any time to follow-up on tasks.

3. Communications are streamlined

Many task boards allow for holistic communications. When communications on one task board are not favorable, you can integrate apps like Slack to enhance teamwork. All relevant stakeholders can communicate in real-time to improve efficiencies and productivity.

4. Productivity increases

When all tasks and subtasks are clearly visible via online whiteboards, tasks are completed more quickly. Using a task management app makes prioritization even easier.

Task management software tools

visual task management: illustration of to do, doing and done

When choosing a software management tool, it is best to consider why you need the tool. Typical uses for visual task management tools include:

  • Whether you can customize the software
  • How easy it is to use
  • Real-time reporting features
  • If it has in-built security
  • Includes timesheets
  • Contains a professional interface

The tools below contain some or all of these elements. Select one or more of these visual task management tools that work best for your purposes:

  • Kanban boards
  • Gantt charts
  • Trello
  • Asana
  • Wrike

1. Kanban boards

Kanban software uses digital cards in place of sticky notes on a task board to illustrate the relationship between dependencies across columns. Color codes across columns, cards, and to-do lists help project managers and remote teams streamline their tasks.

Kanban boards are an ideal task management solution. The project manager can design the board's activities with their team members. The simple drag-and-drop functionality allows everyone to share in the process and streamline online task management. Managers can even connect timesheets to these boards to help with time-tracking.

2. Scrum boards

Scrum boards typically use three columns to indicate todoist list, tasks, and subtasks in progress, and complete tasks ("To do," "Doing," "Done").

Unlike the Kanban board, where the focus is on a continuous, flexible workflow, the Scrum methodology highlights short sprints and deliverables.

With Scrum, project managers and team members use software to visualize their workflow. Instead of using sticky notes on a white board, the team uses digital cards to plan their stories on the Scrum board. They assign tasks and subtasks in a series of columns and progress from left to right as they complete tasks.

The team uses the task board as a visual roadmap to plan and implement each project, ensuring ongoing collaboration with remote teams. In the process, the team can use the 12 Agile principles to support their visual task management.

3. Gantt charts

Excel used to be an excellent tool for creating Gantt charts and still is. You can use Excel in isolation to create your visual task management with a Gantt chart, or integrate Gantt charts directly into existing software programs like Jira in Confluence.

The Gantt chart is a horizontal visual depiction of a project. This horizontal chart shows the project timeline from left to right. Project managers prioritize tasks, subtasks, and dependencies and display these in the Gantt chart.

This visual task management tool clearly indicates a project's timeline view with due dates. It also supports task-tracking and time-tracking, as it shows the dependencies between tasks.

4. Trello boards

Trello boards are excellent visual task management tools. Similar to the Kanban board, Trello uses a drag-and-drop card functionality to manage workflow. The workflow moves from the left to the right, and cards use color codes for clarity.

Trello is possibly one of the best task management software solutions for work management because it is so intuitive. Team members and stakeholders can quickly grasp the timeline of various projects. They can view to-do lists in real-time and complete tasks on their due dates when using this platform.

Freelancers can also take advantage of the free version for task assignment and management in their small businesses.

If you don’t want to use Trello, you can try Todoist, which offers similar visual task management functionality.

5. Asana

Asana is another excellent task management software tool that allows project managers to direct teamwork. With Asana, you can load projects, assign tasks, manage subtasks and dependencies, and track progress.

Small businesses can use the free version of this management tool for up to 15 team members. As you expand, you will need to move up to a paid plan for premium workspace features.

You can also invite your group to use the mobile app for Asana and Slack as extra collaboration tools if you wish to integrate this software. Additionally, the Asana task management tool allows you to work with the Google calendar, Google docs, Gmail, and other online features to increase productivity.

6. Wrike

Wrike is another effective project management tool that uses predefined templates to manage workflow. Wrike integrates well with Google docs, Gmail, and Outlook, as do many of the other software options.

This collaboration tool also comes with its own Gantt Chart functionality and conveniently integrates with Excel and Microsoft Project. You can even get this functionality in the free version.

Shareable dashboards contain collaboration features that facilitate simple task management. Team members can work on various documents to plan, edit, complete, and forward deliverables to relevant stakeholders.

Wrike is also available on Android and iOS.

Take the sweat out of online task management

GIF of Paul McCartney wiping his forehead

Visual task management simply makes projects easier. Team members have an instant view of their digital workflow. Communication is streamlined. Collaboration is simplified and productivity increases because of this visual time-saving tool.

If you’re tired of the hard slog involved with manual vision boards and cumbersome tools, Easy Agile can help with programs like Easy Agile Roadmaps for Jira. Compatible with both Scrum and Kanban, our Roadmaps tool features drag-and-drop functionality, swimlanes, and visualizations of events and milestones to make your workflow simple to understand.

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