What is task management and how can it boost your business?

A woman working from home doing task management using RingCentral Video by RingCentral

Whether you’re a large or small business; and whether you’re managing a small team project or a company-wide venture, team task management is an essential part of getting the job done.

Task management is the process of managing the entire lifecycle of a task, from the planning stages right through to successful execution. It’s how managers and team members keep on top of the many tasks that make up an overall project.

Brainstorming, setting deadlines, assigning and prioritizing tasks, time tracking, and reporting progress are all part of task management. Done right, it will help you keep everyone on track and complete projects and tasks on time.

Gone are the days of using pens and post-it notes to plan and track simple tasks—there’s an app for that. Task management tools (such as RingCentral Video) are a great way for remote teams and those in a physical workspace to streamline workflows and stay on the same page.

This article provides a complete guide to the world of task management, including the best software to choose.

An employee overwhelmed with a lot of tasks

What’s the difference between task management and project management?

Before we take a look at task management tools, it might be helpful to explore exactly what task management is. Basically, it’s one aspect of wider project management, with “tasks” being actions that must be completed as the project progresses.

Project management encompasses much more than tasks—for example, project managers have to identify risks, allocate resources, and liaise with stakeholders. Task management focuses on the smaller details, making sure everyone plays their part in achieving the broader goal.

Getting started on a large project can be a bit daunting, so it’s a good idea to break it down by organizing tasks and assigning them to team members. That way, everyone has a clear view of their own objectives, and the project will become easier to manage.

Task management systems are generally built into project management software.

Benefits of using task management tools

Even for small teams, using online task management software brings huge benefits. Imagine if all team members had separate calendars, emails, documents, notes—it would be almost impossible for the manager to get a handle on who’s doing what.

A task management solution that brings everything together in one place is the best way to maximize efficiency, increase productivity and improve collaboration. You can plan, organize, prioritize and track tasks within the same task management app.

With all tasks visible on the same system, team members will know what their colleagues are working on, and the organizational capability means it’s easy to search for information, track time management, and identify issues at an early stage.

A Website Redesign team collaborating on RingCentral Video about the homepage headline

Everyone will have access to the task list at all times, no matter where in the world they’re working. And there’s a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment as tasks are steadily checked off the to-do list, which can boost employees’ motivation and confidence.

Not all task management software is created equal. Some are essentially simple “to-do list apps,” offering basic functionality such as note-taking and general organization, while the more sophisticated software will allow users to develop an agile program and handle project portfolios.

The most useful apps, including RingCentral Video, integrate task management into an all-in-one solution alongside communication and collaboration features—which means there’s no need to pay for separate software or toggle between different apps.

What to look for in task management software

There are many task management and project management tools available, but it’s worth checking to see how many of them actually include all the essential features your business will need. Remember that pricing isn’t everything—it may be tempting to choose a free version, but you might find it lacks certain functions unless you upgrade to a paid plan.

Here are some of the main features to look out for.

Task planning and creation

Online task management tools offer a variety of ways to simplify the project planning stage, as managers can easily create an overview of the project and share it with everyone involved (especially if the app comes with free unlimited file sharing, like RingCentral Video).

If your company is involved in a lot of similar projects, project templates and task templates are a good way of saving time – or you could start from scratch and build a customized plan. Tasks are usually created in a checklist format, including subtasks for additional detail, ready for task assignment.

The planning phase can also include brainstorming in order to find new ideas and identify the most important tasks. All-inclusive apps like RingCentral Video are perfect for brainstorming, as collaborative tools like real-time messaging and video conferencing are integrated with the task management feature.

Task assignment

Once the overall project and the necessary tasks have been agreed upon, the manager will assign tasks to each employee or to a whole group such as the marketing team or software development team. They will set deadlines and provide any relevant information.

Most task management software allows for assigning tasks, but some functions are more user-friendly than others. For example, you may want to ask more than one employee to work on a particular task, but some apps limit you to one assignee per task.

Once the overall project and the necessary tasks have been agreed upon, the manager will assign tasks to each employee or to a whole group such as the marketing team or software development team. They will set deadlines and provide any relevant information.

Most task management software allows for assigning tasks, but some functions are more user-friendly than others. For example, you may want to ask more than one employee to work on a particular task, but some apps limit you to one assignee per task.

A team fistbumping each other for a job well done

You also need software that includes task dependencies, which is basically a way to prevent people from starting a new task before a related task is completed. This means your colleagues won’t waste time trying to work on something with incomplete information.

RingCentral Video lets you set due dates for individual and team tasks, upload relevant file attachments and notes, and send and receive messages—all within the same app. The interactive team calendar (not included in all task management apps) even uses automation to create recurring tasks for you.

To keep things super-organized, some apps give you handy ways to label and prioritize tasks. In RingCentral Video, you can:

  1. Use the color-coding system to identify projects and people
  2. Use the drag and drop function to shift tasks around
  3. Filter by due date, to easily view your  task priority
  4. Turn any message into a task
  5. Start a video chat from the same thread.

Task tracking

You’ll need an app that allows you to track progress, keep an eye on task status, and check that everyone is on course to meet deadlines. Different software offers different methods of tracking tasks and workflow management, from simple dashboard displays to project boards like Kanban boards and Gantt charts.

Task management systems such as RingCentral Video let you view all your open tasks and sort them by date. To find tasks listed and tasks assigned to you, just go to the left panel of the app and click on the tasks and more menu (it looks like a file drawer). 

But what if the task in question is an appointment? Well, the calendar view allows you to keep track of events and comes with configurable email and push notifications to remind you when a meeting’s about to start. All you need to do is plug in the schedule details.

RingCentral Video also includes time tracking tools, so that task managers can check how long it took to complete a particular task and assess employees’ time management skills—this should make it easier to identify any issues and amend deadlines if necessary.

Because RingCentral Video is part of a unified communications system, managers can also get a good overview of the project timeline by keeping an eye on group chat, or launching a quick video meeting to catch up.

An employee starting a video call in the Product Team thread

Integrations

Task management software often lets you integrate with other apps, which is handy if your project has very specific requirements or if you’re collaborating with colleagues in different locations using different devices.

Even if you’ve chosen an all-in-one app, it can still be useful to integrate other third-party software for things like timesheets and notifications. RingCentral Video works seamlessly with hundreds of other apps, including:

  1. Productivity apps like Trello, Asana, and Jira
  2. File sharing apps like Dropbox, Evernote, and OneDrive
  3. CRMs such as Zoho
  4. Office 365 and Google Workspace calendars
  5. Non-native apps via Zapier

RingCentral Video also lets you give clients, partners, and other collaborators access to your project threads for free with a simple invitation. And no matter where your team is based, they can use RingCentral Video on a desktop or mobile app and even switch between devices mid-call.

What’s the best task management software?

We’re glad you asked! For our money, the answer is RingCentral Video. Why? Because it offers so much in comparison to most other task management apps. RingCentral Video is an all-in-one app that incorporates full communication and collaboration functions, and it’s completely free.

Managing tasks and projects is so much easier when you’ve also got team messaging, video meetings and audio calls in the same app. It’s a great way to foster team collaboration, especially when colleagues are not in a physical workspace. And it saves you having to buy and manage a bunch of different productivity platforms.

Contact sales to learn more about RingCentral Video.

Feature FREE with RingCentral Video
Task management
  • Built-in functionality
  • Integrated team calendar
  • Time tracking
  • Color-coding
  • Turn messages into tasks
  • Start chat/video from task
Team chat
  • Unlimited users
  • Unlimited messages
Video and audio
  • Built-in video conferencing for up to 100 people for 24 hours
  • Screen sharing
  • HD sound and vision
File storage and sharing
  • Unlimited
Compatibility
  • iOS, Android, Windows, Mac, Linux
  • Hundreds of app integrations
Security
  • Enterprise-level
  • Seven layers of security
Customer support
  • Chatbot support
  • Web self-service
  • Knowledge bases
The Contacts section of RingCentral Video where you can look for team members for task assignment or just a conversation

Task management FAQs

Is task management the same as project management?
No. Task management is just one part of project management. It involves the work being broken down into manageable tasks that contribute to an overall project.

What is agile program management?

This approach to task management requires work to be completed in small sections and reviewed before starting the next section. Managers use the review findings to help them plan the subsequent stages. The method makes it easier to spot potential problems and deal with them quickly.

What does a project manager do?

A project manager oversees the whole project and its final outcome. They will work closely with the project team and the stakeholders at each stage. A project manager will need to:
  • Confirm the project’s objectives
  • Identify and manage risks
  • Define the deliverables
  • Allocate resources
  • Track and report progress
  • Handle problems and changes

What does a task manager do?

Task managers plan and coordinate the activities that are part of an overall project. While the project manager takes a wider view, the task manager is all about the task details. They will set daily objectives, delegate tasks to the right people at the right time, and keep an eye on task progress.

What is a Kanban board?

This visual system for organizing workflows was originally created in a Toyota factory, and takes its name from the Japanese word for “sign” or “billboard”.
These days, its board-and-card system is digitized for task management software. The method, based on agile project management, lets the whole team see individual tasks as well as general team activity, and customize the different fields.

What is a Gantt chart?

This is a type of bar chart that illustrates a project schedule. It was invented by Henry Gantt between 1910 and 1915, and is often found in project management software. Modern Gantt charts also show the dependency between tasks and the current schedule status, and are useful for simplifying complex projects.

Find out more about RingCentral Video by checking out our demos or contacting our sales team.