When we designed the initial architecture for Intervals, we were influenced by our experience with traditional ticket tracking systems (also known as bug trackers). We felt that their focus on getting things done, or fixed, made them ideal for us as web developers; because to get things done, someone needs to own the task and be responsible for it. Accountability was to become one of the primary themes behind our web-based project management service.
The result is that, unless you ignore them, it is difficult for tasks and time to fall between the cracks. And sometimes, getting a task done can become a game of task pong. It goes like this.
Michael assigns John a task, detailing the requirements for a site redesign or a web site page. John whittles away at the task, tracking his time, until the project is ready for review. John then changes the status of the task, or reassigns it to Michael, which notifies Michael that the task is back on his side of the net.
The task is paddled back and forth across the table, with each volley tacking a little more work and a little more time onto the task. When the work is complete the task is closed, leaving behind a trail of comments, documents, and time entries.
Our longest task, as of this blog post, reached from the ceiling to the floor when printed out and taped to an overhead beam in our office. Task pong is a natural component of our workflow, making sure at least one person is always held accountable for getting things done.