Best Practices when assigning a task to a team member

by | Jan 14, 2023

Short Tasks:

    • If the task takes a short amount of time and you are capable of performing it, you should consider doing it yourself. However, if delegation/ collaboration is necessary, the assigner is responsible for making the task as descriptive as possible.

Long Tasks:

    • Modularity: Keep tasks as condensed as possible. If the end goal is lengthy, make sure to break it down into sensible chunks that can be completed independently.
    • Depending on the use case, you can break a task into subtasks, or into multiple separate tasks under the same project/ section.

Due Dates

    • Most tasks should have a due date. This is necessary for prioritization and filtering of tasks inside our project management tool.
    • Please keep in mind that you may not know the workload of your colleagues when assigning due dates.
    • Do not provide unnecessarily restrictive due dates. If the due date needs to be restrictive, provide some sort of rationality in the description or comments section. Example: Need before next client meeting.
    • If you receive a task and are unable to complete it on time, please contact the task’s assigner. Use the task comments section or a chat/email with a link to the task.
    • If setting the date for yourself with no external constraints, set the shortest due date that you can fully commit to. Allow for the possibility that you receive other high priority tasks in the future.

Clearly define the task:

    • The title is the most visible portion of the task. Try to make this unique to avoid ambiguity with any similar tasks.
    • If you are using a template, eliminate unnecessary tasks before sending it off. Templates are oftentimes created to capture all possible tasks, so they will tend to have more than what is required.
    • Make sure the task is clearly defined and that the team member understands what needs to be done, how it fits into the larger project, and any deadlines or constraints that apply.
    • Discussing a task over a meeting is not a substitute for a task description. Your task should still be do-able, even if it is re-assigned to someone who was not at the meeting.
    • When in doubt, be overly detailed. Additional details, links and images can reduce uncertainty and mistakes. This will result in getting the task done sooner.
    • Use clear and concise language. Avoid using jargon or technical language that may not be familiar to the team member. Use simple and clear language to ensure that the task is understood.
    • Please utilize the task’s description and comment section to accomplish this. Links, images, text formatting can all be used to make the task easy to read and understand.

Completing tasks:

    • Use task comments liberally to record your work, even if no progress is made. This ensures that everyone can easily see that a task is still being worked on and has not “slipped through the cracks”
    • If the task has an extended due date, provide an acknowledgement that the task has been looked at. Do not wait until the week of the due date to ask for clarification.
    • If a task cannot be completed or you do not plan to work on it again, comment with “unresolved due to …..” and then mark the task complete. This will archive the task and prevent clutter. This can be reopened at a later date. Anyone who is a watcher on the task will also know that the task is not being worked on.