Our years of experience in project management (over 500 projects) and in productivity tool development (over 10.000 active users) have contributed to awork’s project and task concept. We asked ourselves what a tool for organising all of our various projects perfectly, would look like – and then simply created the answer. In this article, we will give you a short introduction to the idea of project planning using awork.
What is project planning all about?
Structuring a project’s workload is a fundamental part of project work, or rather project planning. There are three main goals when it comes to structuring and planning upcoming tasks:
- Breaking up the workload (of the project goal) into individual tasks in order to make the actual work steps clear.
- Monitoring progress for the duration of the project, so it can be steered.
- Making every participant’s current and upcoming tasks transparent.
Whether you work using agile methods, classic Gantt charts or simple to-do lists, the goals remain the same.
Experience has taught us that not every project within a team is executed or worked on the same way, even though people, for the most part, have their favourite working methods for projects. Workflow tools that rely only on a Kanban board, pure Gantt planning tools or ticketing systems are therefore only suitable for one portion of the projects and the rest is soft of “Exceled” or covered by simple task tools. It is quite rare to have a complete overview of all to-do’s and projects.
Since we are a software team with our very own consulting service and a great number of clients in the agency sector, we know these issues, and the problems that come with them, all too well. This is exactly why awork, with its unique and flexible list-system, makes it possible to structure every project according to the preferences of the team – and this doesn’t just mean you can have different view options for your multitude of tasks.
The power of task lists
In awork you have the option to create any number of task lists for every project. A single task can also be placed in several lists, making the system very flexible. That’s it? Yeah, almost. Each of these lists can be displayed in a way that is relevant and useful to the user. E.g., you can simply hide it if it is not interesting to you or you can display it as a Kanban board to better grasp any progress at a glance.
But why is that so awesome?
The best way to show you, is through examples that truly demonstrate the idea and the amazing advantages. 🤓
Project planning with awork in software development
Scrum means you work in sprints and that you maintain a backlog. For the backlog, one would simply create a list, the product owner would fill it out and sort all tasks/stories according to priority. When a sprint starts, the scrum-team or -master creates another list with the sprint ID. Subsequently, the sprint is filled with the stories of the backlog (sorted by priority) and the tasks are simply moved to the sprint list. For a better overview (for the scrum team and scrum master), the sprint list can be displayed as a board. If a sprint has been completed, the list with the old sprint is automatically removed and a new sprint list is created.
It is not always the case that everything works the same way in a scrum. For example, a frequently seen and much beloved method is the division the backlog into product features and technological aspects. Here, one can easily maintain two backlog lists. Bug or feedback lists are not uncommon here.
What’s more, within our own process features are often bundled into smaller releases that sometimes include multiple sprints. Simply create a list with the release name, add stories to the list (without moving them) et voilà; the perfect overview showing your release progress next to the actual sprint boards is ready.
Project planning with awork for product roadmapping
Creating a product roadmap is an activity that includes the collection, evaluation and structuring of ideas or concrete plans. Every product manager has his/her own views on how to best approach this for his/her own products. With the lists in awork, almost any preference can be clearly mapped.
A simple possibility, for example, would be maintaining a holistic list of all planned projects. Furthermore, each of these plans can also be placed in a separate list for the different product areas, allowing you to still have a clear overview of any topics within these individual areas.
An idea list is usually filled with several sources, such as client requests, surveys, ideas from your own ranks, and so on. If these have been screened, they can either be transferred to the roadmap or rejected with a corresponding task status.
Every release can also be portrayed in a list, by assigning the plans to it.
Tip: through a simple Zapier integration of a customer feedback-portal, Zendesk for instance, new customer ideas can automatically be transferred to the roadmap’s pool of ideas.
Project planning with awork for design-projects
Agencies are fond of structuring tasks into the individual deliverables (e.g., texts, charts, product visualisations, etc.), as these are often billed separately. For each deliverable, a list can be created in awork, meaning that the entire task can be neatly divided into a few areas and also that it can be monitored. Furthermore, there is often a list for overhead activities for the project leader. Within it, customer contacts, billing, preliminary discussions, enquiries, etc. can be planned or recorded.
The subtasks in awork allow you to plan your tasks even better. A “to-do” can thus consist of several subtasks. Instead of creating a new task for every assignment in awork, you can create subtasks within the respective task. In a design project, the creation of new Facebook ads could be broken down into a few different steps, for example: coming up with ideas, text creation, design, and management in Facebook Ads Manager. Subtasks are not only super useful for keeping an eye on a task’s progress, it is also very practical when several people are working on a to-do together. In our specific example, a designer, a writer, as well as a marketing manager were involved in the assignment.
Project planning with awork for consultancy projects
In consulting projects, structuring often occurs in different project phases, such as: kick-off, analysis, conception, preparation, completion. Once again, the lists prove useful: each phase can be mapped in a list and the project progress can be monitored easily.
Project planning with awork in internal ticketing
Every team has internal matters that continually pop up and need to be completed. For the marketing team, this could mean optimising ad campaigns, carrying out ideas from the process retrospectives for the development team, or organising material for the office management team.
The initial intention was to place every single activity in a large list, just like in a ticketing system. This is how one could do it, but it is not the only option. We often see simple divisions into different priorities. For example, a large list being filled with all of the topics, and additionally a list called “this week”. Urgent matters are simply moved to this list and assigned to the appropriate people.
You could also simply omit the large list with all of the collected tasks and divide the topics into three lists: High Priority, Mid Priority and Idea Pool.
Another welcome approach is the division into different areas of responsibility or even the combinations thereof with a priority list. For instance, for advertising campaigns, one could separate tasks according to the different products or the different marketing channels and create a list called “this week” or “priority A”.
Returning structures and tasks at the touch of a button
If you have all sorts of projects that run in more or less the same way, you don’t have to manually create the lists and, if applicable, the standard tasks for every project in awork. The keyword is task packages. awork’s individual task packages are predefined lists and tasks in any structure. These can be automatically added to projects when they are created or when a certain status has been reached, or they can be imported into a project manually, as often as you like.
From the above examples, you can, e.g., create predefined templates for scrum projects and simply import them into the project. For example, a scrum bundle could simply consist of the backlog list , sprint 1, and bug list.
The task packages can also be used to map service products with the same tasks and processes. Similar to the products, task packages can also easily map recurring activity blocks or standardise certain processes. For example, for internal topics, such as: employee surveys, the planning of the Christmas party, the creation of quarterly reporting, etc. But also for external topics, such as: customer offers, maintenance issues, checklists for project completion and billing, etc.
There are no limits to creativity!