Task management & project management are not the same thing

| November 4th, 2008 | ,

Project management can mean many things to many people. Just take a look at how many hosted project management tools there are to choose from. Small business workflow has been interpreted differently with each online app, but the underlying concepts of project management are usually left intact.

Getting projects started, completed, and delivered to the client on time and under budget should be the goal of any hosted workflow application. This can be accomplished with features like time tracking, task management, invoicing, scheduling, document sharing, and reporting. However, focusing on only one or two of these features is not a good way to manage projects and may hinder smaller teams.

Sometimes when we say “simple” what we really mean is “featureless.” The word “feature” has become a 4-letter word, synonomous with “bloatware” and “microsoft,” so we despise features. In an attempt to make applications simple, we’ve take them too far to the other extreme, throwing out any tangential feature not directly related to our core idea.

Though it may be possible for freelancers to manage a project with a modified task list application alone, smaller teams will find them inefficient. After all, getting things done is only one of the many components of managing a project. Start out trying to manage projects with only a task management tool, and you’ll soon find yourself stringing together APIs to get the functionality you need, or worse, abandoning it in search for a more comprehensive online application.

There isn’t any such thing as the perfect online project management. Small businesses are too diverse for any one app to claim that title. The best solution is the one that complements your workflow the best. Small businesses in search of such a solution may save a lot of time by not only cutting out the MS Projects from the pool of options, but the oversimplified ones as well.

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Intervals is online time, task and project management software built by and for web designers, developers and creatives.
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John Reeve

John is a co-founder, web designer and developer at Pelago. His blog posts are inspired by everyday encounters with designers, developers, creatives and small businesses in general. John is an avid reader and road cyclist.
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Michael Payne

Michael is a co-founder and product architect at Pelago. His contributions stem from experiences managing the development process behind web sites and web-based applications such as Intervals. Michael drives a 1990 Volkswagen Carat with a rebuilt 2.4 liter engine from GoWesty.
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