Effective task management is the key to the success of every successful business. Any complex project can be broken down into a series of smaller tasks, whether releasing an updated version of a product or fixing a bug flagged by a user.
The most productive teams are the ones that steadily work through tasks together, building momentum toward a successful outcome. But without the right tools, keeping tasks on track can be a nightmare.
Team members might misunderstand each other or fail to prioritize tasks appropriately. And when your team is working on multiple projects involving a network of stakeholders, it’s even easier for things to go off the rails.
Adopting task management software helps your team operate like a well-oiled machine. These online tools help individuals and teams organize, prioritize, and visualize their work, empowering teams to become more productive.
There can be a steep learning curve when it comes to using task management software for the first time. But not with Backlog: an intuitive task management tool designed for small tech teams and developers.
Meet Backlog: simple, powerful task management software
Backlog is an all-in-one task management software that makes it easy for tech teams and developers to create, assign, and track tasks across multiple projects. The platform is simple yet powerful, with a range of popular task management tools, including:
- Boards: track the status of every single task visually with live Kanban-style Boards.
- File sharing: make sure your team has the resources they need to get the job done with seamless file sharing.
- Project wikis: create a central repository for every project, giving your team a reference point for all the materials they need to be successful.
- Communication tools: with email and Slack integrations, notifications, comments, the ability to assign tasks, and more, using Backlog means your team will never have another communication breakdown.
This is just a sampling of the Backlog features teams can use to jumpstart their productivity. As we walk you through how to use the software, we’ll cover many more ways Backlog helps your team work more effectively than ever.
Backlog isn’t just a web application – you can create tasks in a variety of ways, including the Backlog mobile app or via email. Backlog slots seamlessly into your existing workflows, helping you spend more time working on tasks and less time managing them.
The platform has integrations to all your favorite development tools and an intuitive, easy-to-use interface that makes task management a breeze.
We’ll walk you through how you can start using Backlog to enhance your team’s productivity. But before we show you how to solve common task management issues, let’s explore what those issues are.
The struggles of team coordination and productivity
A successful business is a business that gets stuff done. Period.
Teams are never successful when their most promising projects end up in purgatory, never to be completed. They’re successful when they ship exciting new products and features that make a meaningful difference in their customers’ lives.
Doing that effectively requires teams to work together. Coordinating teams is a challenge, particularly in our new era of remote and hybrid work. As teams grow and projects expand, it’s easy for resources to become stretched, processes to become broken, and, ultimately, productivity to be constrained.
It might feel like some tasks occur inside a black box. Perhaps processes aren’t standardized. Or maybe certain tasks get repeated because nobody is quite sure who owns them. Whatever your issues are, solving them takes a thoughtful approach, augmented by the right tools.
The role of task management software
Task management software plays a vital role in enhancing the productivity of any team. A task management tool serves as a central hub for your team’s work lives, ensuring everyone is aligned on tasks, deadlines, and responsibilities.
Depending on your project, you can use task management software in many ways. In Backlog, for example, you can add burndown charts that show the progress of a project or use a Gantt Chart to show which tasks need to be completed and by when.
In essence, though, successfully using task management software boils down to mastering the following:
- Creating and organizing tasks
- Assigning and tracking tasks
- Communicating and collaborating on tasks
Let’s explore how you can use Backlog to master these skills and boost your team’s productivity.
How to create and organize tasks with Backlog
A robust process of creating and organizing tasks is at the heart of every successful project. With Backlog, it’s simple to create distinct tasks and sub-tasks. These can be organized under the various elements of a specific project.
In Backlog, tasks are called “issues.” Each issue represents an individual piece of work that needs to be completed by a team member for the project to move forwards.
Here’s how to set up a new issue in Backlog: click the + Add Issue button on the toolbar and enter the details of the project. Backlog will ask you for a task name, assignee, deadline, description, and so on. Adding as many of these details as possible ensures your team has clarity over their responsibilities.
Here’s an example. Let’s say you wanted Alex, your iOS developer, to complete the development of a new payment feature by the end of the month. You would complete the fields like this:
- Subject: Complete Code for New Payment Feature
- Assignee: Alex
- Description: a written description of what the new feature should do.
- Category: iOS App Development
- Start Date: Today
- Due Date: End of the Month
- Attachments: any documents or files that would be helpful, such as wireframes, user journeys, and so on
You save your task, and that’s it! Alex gets a notification with a link to the task, complete with all the details he needs to do a good job.
It’s easy for Alex, and the rest of the team, to understand what tasks are currently active. Backlog users can organize tasks however works best for them: Gantt Charts, Kanban boards, lists – however you work, Backlog works with you. It’s even possible to search for tasks, add filters to find tasks more quickly, or use tags to categorize related tasks together.
In many cases, the tasks your team works on will be complicated. In these instances, use Backlog to break these complex tasks out into a series of smaller tasks, referred to as parent and child tasks.
Let’s say your web development team has been tasked with coming up with a new page for your business’s website. This isn’t just one task: it’s a series of smaller tasks, all completed by different people. One person might wireframe the page. Another will write the copy. Someone else will code and stage the page, and another will complete QA.
In this case, the parent issue is the creation of the webpage. The child issues are the smaller tasks that must be completed as part of the process. To create child issues, navigate to the parent issue, click the + icon, select Add new child issue, and set up your task.
How to assign and track tasks with Backlog
Effective task management demands delegation. Chances are, you have specialists on your team. If you need a new iOS feature, you should delegate that to your iOS Developer – not try to handle it yourself.
The ability to delegate tasks and track their progress is a key feature of Backlog. In the previous section, we explored how to assign tasks to team members as you create them.
But tasks often require several team members. Use Backlog to send notifications to multiple team members, or create sub-tasks for the different stages of a project, each with different assignees.
Alternatively, users can leave comments on tasks, tagging other users to ask for their input.
These features make it easy to keep tabs on individual tasks, but it’s also important to be able to track projects as a whole. In Backlog, features like burndown charts and project milestones provide a visual representation of a project’s progress toward completion.
Many Backlog users particularly love the level of customization the platform allows. You can easily mold Backlog to match your team’s existing workflows. For example, you may choose to customize issue status levels beyond the four existing status levels and change the order of these levels.
Users can also customize their Backlog experience, specifying customized settings for notifications, email settings, language preferences, and more.
How to collaborate and communicate on tasks with Backlog
Communication is vital to a successful outcome for any team-oriented task. This takes many forms: it might be inviting a client or partner to view your progress or team members exchanging quick messages during the work day.
Instead of jumping around between different platforms trying to communicate, centralize all task communication and collaboration into Backlog. There are several ways to do so:
Backlog administrators can add guest users to their organization’s Backlog account and specify the projects, issues, wikis, and files they can access.
Backlog users can easily get shareable URLs for individual tasks, wikis, or files hosted in Backlog, which can be sent to other users.
In Backlog, wikis function as a central repository for all your project’s data. Use them to document project knowledge and best practices for your team members to review as needed.
Integrations with other tools
How to optimize your task management with Backlog
Once you get comfortable using all of Backlog’s basic tools, it’s time to start exploring how you can use the platform’s more advanced features to optimize your task management. Backlog’s most popular task management tools for tech teams include issue tracking, code review, pull requests, testing tools, and more.
Backlog also has a range of features that make it easy for teams to manage tasks at scale. One example is the issue template feature, which allows users to reuse task templates for recurring tasks.
Let’s say Jane, a Software Developer, compiles a monthly report for management quantifying her team’s output. Every month, the process is the same: she pulls data from several sources, inputs it into a slide deck, and writes an email with some context around the results.
By creating an issue template in Backlog, Jane can be sure she always has the task description, resources, and previous deliverables at hand when it’s time for her to pull the report.
It’s also possible to set up automation rules in Backlog that trigger actions based on certain conditions or events. One popular use case is automatically generating tasks from support emails, which can be accomplished in three simple steps.
First, create a new project and give it a name like “Support.”
Next, you’ll need to enable this project’s “Add issues via email” feature, which can be done in the Project Settings tab.
Get started with Backlog today
Task management software can be a complete game changer for the productivity of tech and development teams. Backlog enables teams to organize, discuss, and track all of their tasks in one central hub, offering a range of tools that keep individuals accountable and make work more actionable.
Thousands of software teams across the globe are already using Backlog to streamline task management. One happy Backlog customer is Droisys, an international IT services firm with hundreds of clients and employees around the globe. After adopting Backlog, Droisys’ work performance improved by 70%, with skyrocketing productivity and substantial time savings.
If you want to unlock similar benefits for your team, try Backlog today. It’s free to get started. If you need some help setting your projects up, you’ll find all the guidance you need in our Help Center.