Multiple Task Views

There are two ways of organizing things and tasks: putting them all in a basket and sensibly sorting them. The former is alright when there aren't many elements, and you can find what you need instantly. But the more tasks or stuff you keep in an unsorted pile, the harder it is to locate what you're searching for and ensure it's not overlooked.

Sorting out tasks and grouping them in a way that will let you work seamlessly is not an activity that should take up too much time. Busy work is something everyone should avoid, especially managers.

to-do list, gantt chart and waterfall task views

Project management methodologies

Methodologies@2x

What is a project other than a group of tasks? Managing them can be done in a variety of ways, and a plethora of problems can arise in the process. Clients, assignments, teams, deadlines, resources, budget, conflicts, etc., are all elements that can cause delays to the projects and headaches to managers.

Throughout history and the development of various endeavors (dating back to the Egyptians!), man has found different approaches, perfected them, and created efficient ways to solve obstacles in order to reach specific goals.

Nowadays, we call them project management methodologies. They're used worldwide, in small teams and large corporations, regardless of industry. Here are the basic, most popular methodologies used in project management.

waterfall project management

Waterfall

Waterfall is a project management approach where a project is completed in distinct stages and moved step by step toward ultimate release to consumers. You make a big plan upfront and then execute it linearly, hoping there won't be any changes in the plan. Once all the activities are put on a Gantt chart, they resemble the slopes of a waterfall, hence the name.
Waterfall was the first software development methodology inherited from the manufacturing and construction industry where you can't afford to iterate. The main difference between Waterfall and Agile is that Waterfall doesn't react well to frequent changes, which is why it gets a bad reputation.

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agile pm

Agile

Agile favors responding to change over careful planning. It's more a set of principles rather than a methodology, and it suggests how we should approach project management. Agile is usually combined with another methodology and can be used by any type or size of a team.

In 2001, 17 software developers met in Utah to discuss their processes. Together, they defined the concept of agile software development in the Agile Manifesto. Agile values help you focus on what's important: individuals and interactions over processes and tools, working software over comprehensive documentation, customer collaboration over contract negotiation, responding to change over following a plan.

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scrum pm

Scrum

Scrum is a project management framework that helps small, close-knit teams develop complex products incrementally. Scrum focuses on how people work instead of what they do, and it relies on agile principles. Scrum work only if the team is small, up to 9 people, max. Any larger than that and the team dynamics changes, thus rendering Scrum ineffective.

Scrum was first introduced in the early 1990s, and it got its name from rugby, where a team huddles around the ball and tries to move it down the field to win. Scrum is a metaphor meant to reflect how everyone needs to work together to complete the project. New code and functionality are delivered every two weeks, which represent one sprint.

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critical path method pm

Critical Path Method

CPM (Critical Path Method) is a mathematical algorithm that allows you to identify the longest path of planned tasks necessary to meet the deadlines and identify the early start and finish dates. By determining the critical path, you will know which activities are critical in completing the project and which ones won't have any serious impact on the project development and can be delayed. If there is a delay in any task on the critical path, the whole project will have to be delayed. The critical path is the path where there can be no delays. CPM was first tested in 1958 in a project to construct a new chemical plant and has ever since been one of the most frequently used project management techniques.

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Critical chain PM

Critical chain PM

Critical Chain Project Management is a schedule network analysis technique that takes into account task dependencies, limited resources availability (people, equipment, physical space), and buffers necessary to complete the project successfully.

CCPM was developed in 1997 as a response to the inability to complete tasks on time and within budget. Traditional project management is based on predictable experience and predictable tools. While the Critical Path Method uses Float, CCPM uses four types of buffers as strategic points to eliminate uncertainty around projects. CCPM is mainly used in multi-project environments that require a lot of resources.

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kanban pm

Kanban

Kanban, a Japanese term that translates roughly as "billboard", helps teams eliminate bottlenecks, offers a project manager and their team a place to manage their tasks, lists, and files. Kanban Cards represent individual tasks in progress categorized according to priority and delivery and placed on a Kanban board.

Kanban helps teams eliminate bottlenecks and achieve outstanding quality improvements. One of the most quoted sayings in Kanban is: "Stop starting and start finishing". In the 1940s, a Japanese Toyota engineer was inspired to keep their inventory low but always adequate to meet the demand for the parts. They named it Kanban (Khan - Ban), also known as the "just in time" system.

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From theory to practice

But enough theory! What does it all look like in practice? ActiveCollab offers three ways to view your projects, and each can accommodate more than one methodology.

List view

list view

The simplest way to break down an important goal or a large project is to create a list of actionable items, a.k.a. the project management to-do list. The List view is perfect for that purpose. Any methodology can be applied here, except Waterfall because it's exclusively tied to a Gantt chart. Kanban is usually implemented in the Column view, but there's no reason not to use the List view, too, as you can create task lists "To-do", "In progress", and "Done", then move tasks between them as they develop. Also, specific assignments can be highlighted as "High priority" and used as milestones.

Pros: A clear overview of all tasks, due dates, assignees, and labels; easy filtering.

Cons: Inability to see dependencies between tasks; tasks must be filtered by due date to assess their urgency; not all task lists are visible on one screen if they contain many tasks.

Column view

kanban view

When more task lists need to be visible at all times, the Column view might be more suitable. The Kanban project management methodology is based on this view and can be successfully implemented in all industries. Here's your Kanban digest: three columns, To do, In progress, Done. Each column contains tasks sorted by their priority. Depending on their urgency and current status changes, the tasks move within those columns or between them. If you're in the software business, two more columns might be necessary: Backlog and Testing. Naturally, each company is different, and the beauty of this method of arranging assignments is how it can adapt to every business.

Pros: Viewing all task lists at once; drag-and-dropping tasks around quickly.

Cons: Inability to see dependencies between tasks; tasks must be filtered by due date to assess their urgency.

Timeline view

600

The Timeline view is modeled after the Gantt chart, designed around 1910. It displays activities on a calendar-like board, their duration, and their connection to other activities while highlighting the current day and its assignments. In ActiveCollab, you can move the tasks, change their start and due date, and create dependencies between them.

Waterfall is the methodology that relies on Gantt charts the most. It takes its name after the shape project phases cascading one into the next form. Waterfall and Gantt charts are usually used in engineering, software development, and construction, but they can also be helpful in event management or e-commerce.
This view is best for projects composed of various consequential phases, giving a visual project timeline. If you're dealing with recurring tasks that aren't dependent on one another, the List or Column view could prove to be better suited.

Pros: Viewing dependencies between tasks; overview of current assignments and those imminently due.

Cons: Rarely does a project have all its tasks' start and due dates defined; inability to view all the tasks at once.

How does it all work in ActiveCollab?

It's very straightforward. You can create as many projects as you like, fill them up with tasks grouped in task lists, and choose the way you view them. The best part: what you choose doesn't affect the way others see the same project. This means that at the same time, a project can be viewed in the Column, Timeline, or List view by different people, without affecting one another.

Extra tip: if your business relies heavily on files, you can go through them in individual projects' "Files" tab. All the files ever attached through comments or within tasks will be listed there chronologically. And we mean - all types of files.

Videos, images, documents, Google Sheets, Dropbox files, the whole lot. You won't have to thoroughly search the tasks and waste precious time finding exactly what you need.

That's not all. If you'd like to view your or your team's tasks on a calendar, you can! The Calendar lets you select one or more projects. This way, you'll be able to visualize your assignments on a monthly calendar.

If you need to monitor your teams' tasks, check out Workload, a project management timeline tool. You can filter individuals or entire teams and get an overview of what they're up to, week by week.

Real-life feedback from our customers

"We now create client buckets, and inside each are columns that organize each project's status in various phases. We have an "Ideas" column, "Working," "Active," "Client Review," "In Production," and a few more as we need. This has helped us move amongst clients and projects fluidly while keeping team members up-to-date."

Audrey Hunt

Audrey Hunt

Brand Designer
White Space

"Nowadays, working by iterations and validating work is essential (at least in the software development industry). ActiveCollab has facilitated this methodology as it allows creating task lists to know if the tasks are in CYCLE, DOING, or DONE."

borja

Borja Gramage

Organizational development
Arisnova

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