How To Organize Work With Visual Task Management

Written by:
Vartika Kashyap

visual task management - header

Organizing and managing a project can often be a tedious task, especially when it involves several teammates and loads of information.

And to get the task completed successfully, you need to plan and track every task in a proper manner. Simple lists and spreadsheets are the most used ways of project management. 

However, when dealing with a complex project these methods can lead to multi-page documents and myriads of columns in spreadsheets. This can end up complicating the project even more.

Now, this is where visual task management can ease up the work process. 


What is Visual Task Management?

Put simply, visual task management is a work management technique. This technique involves leveraging various visual task management tools instead of traditional to-do lists or spreadsheets.

While some people use whiteboards and sticky notes, many people use online tools, like this Gantt chart below.

visual task management - product roadmap gantt chart template
Customize this Gantt chart template and make it your own!Edit and Download

And in this article, we’ll be discussing the online tools that can be used for visual task management. But before proceeding with it, let’s check out some benefits of using task management tools.

You can also check out a few top project management books to help you further understand what process will work best for you and your team.


Benefits of Visual Task Management

Here are a few benefits of visual task management.

Saves Time

With visual task management, you can easily understand a complex project and work without wasting any time.

Better Communication

Visual task management allows teams to exclude out the guesswork and share a common work status through interactive visuals.

Remove Barriers

Another important benefit that visual boards provide is that it allows you to check where the work has stopped or slowed down. After accessing it, take the required measures.

Better Collaboration

It improves the process of collaboration among team members the reason being everyone’s on the same page. 


Types of Task Management Tools and Techniques

Now on the basis of what type of project you're dealing with, you can select from a variety of project management tools and techniques. To start with, here are three types of tools.


Kanban Boards

visual task management - kanban boards

While Kanban was originally developed in the mid-20th century, the modern Kanban was developed in 2007 by David Anderson. Since then it has been used by companies as a system to visualize workflow and manage to-dos.

With a Kanban board, you can illustrate your project at different stages of the process with the help of cards. 

As a project manager, Kanban can work best because it depicts the most important task first. Here are the six core practices of Kanban.

Visualizing Your Work

First thing first, visualize what you're doing. Kanban board allows you to clearly visualize your team's workflow.

Limiting Work-in-Progress

Work-in-Progress or WIP allows you to set limits. By setting WIP, you get to set the amount of work you are able to handle. This encourages team members to work together more efficiently

Managing Flow

The next practice is to improve the flow of a process by focusing more on finishing tasks hastily and start the next step quickly.

Making Process Policies Explicit

The next step is to get clear about both the project and policies plus principles behind it. This allows all the members involved to follow the same process and make suggestions. 

Implementing Feedback Loops

Feedback loops help the team to compare the final outcomes with the actual outcomes. The feedback is shared between the team members for work improvement.

Improving Collaboratively and Evolving Experimentally

Now that with Kanban, teams can easily visualize their workflow, the team members can collaboratively improve the work process.

So these were the core practices of Kanban. Now let's discover steps to create a basic Kanban board.

Steps to Create a Kanban Board

Step 1: Examine your Workflow

Through examination, you get the opportunity to streamline the work process for preparing a kanban system. 

Step 2: Create the Columns

Just like you would do in a whiteboard, create three columns with each of them signifying a specific task.

Step 3: Define the Swimlanes

Simply put, swimlanes are the subcategories coming under each column.

In some cases, to identify swimlanes for various workflows is essential. 

Step 4: Identify the Card Categories

After creating the columns and swimlanes, the next step is to group the work by category. Grouping will allow the teams to visually check which group holds the most types of work. 

Step 5: Add the Tasks

Now that you're done with the entire categorizing part, it's time to assign the tasks. Add each sticky note with the task under the right category. This will allow all the teams and team members to know what they are supposed to do. 

So that's how you can easily create a Kanban board. No matter whether you're creating it by using an online tool or whiteboards and sticker notes, these steps are for both the cases.


Scrum Boards

visual task management - scrum boards

The word "scrum" comes from rugby which basically refers to the method of restarting a game by interlocking arms and going for the same goal. The idea behind scrum is teamwork. 

Even in the Agile production environment, scrum holds the same meaning. By using the scrum method, the entire team collaborates to discuss and understand the working and non-working methodologies. 

What is a Scrum Board?

A scrum board that is also known as a scrum task board is a visual display tool that helps in tracking a work project. A scrum board is divided into different categories that show the progress of a time-oriented project called a sprint. 

Generally, scrum boards are divided into either vertical or horizontal columns that the teams use to check the progress of work. The common columns is a scrum board are:

  • To-Do: The list of tasks that your team is supposed to do.
  • In Progress: The present set of tasks your team is working on.
  • In Test: Tasks that are completed yet to be tested.
  • Done: The tasks that have been completed as well as tested.

Principles of Scrum Board

  • Promotes teamwork: All the stakeholders and team members can check the board and discuss the project and decide what work needs to be prioritized. 
  • Makes information easily accessible: Visual display of information is way easier to understand than any other mode. Anyone can understand the work process as well as progress after glancing at the board.
  • Help in focusing: When a team keeps looking at their individual tasks, it keeps them focused on their role.

So now that you know how scrum boards can be beneficial for your work, here's how to create a basic Scrum Board.

Steps To Create a Scrum Board

Step 1: Analyze your Work

Analyze your work and check out what steps are required to mention in your scrum board.

Step 2: Create the Columns

Create the columns as per your needs. As mentioned, the basic columns are to-do, in-progress, in-test and done.

Step 3: Assign the Tasks

Assign the tasks in the to-do column to each member of the team. 

Step 4: Move Tasks Accordingly

Now as the work proceeds, shift the tasks from one column to another.


Gantt Charts

visual task management - gantt charts

A Gantt chart is a horizontal bar chart that visually demonstrates a project plan over time. In order to create a visual task through Gantt charts, you first need to identify the essential tasks, then show the task relationship and finally keep updating the progress. 

Through a Gantt chart, anyone can easily represent as well as notice even a minute detail which ultimately makes it a popular visual management tool that is used by a plethora of companies.

But how to create a Gantt chart? Here are the key components that you need to add in a Gantt chart template.

Key Parts of a Gantt Chart

Typically a Gantt chart comprises of these 8 key elements:

  • Task List: A task list is used to describe project work and organize it accordingly.
  • Timeline: A time shows the time required or spent in processing the work in terms of days, weeks, months and years.
  • Dateline: A line that is used to highlight the current date in the Gantt chart.
  • Bars: The markers on the right side of the chart that depicts tasks and the progress, duration along with the starting and ending date.
  • Milestones: These are used to depict the major dates, decisions, and deliverables.
  • Dependencies: Dependencies are used to connect the tasks in the right sequence.
  • Progress: Represents the percentage of work done.
  • Resource Assigned: Represents the individual or the team that has been assigned to a specific task. 

Create your own Gantt charts and visual task management tools!

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  • Add and alter icons, colors, fonts, images and more
  • Customize anything to fit your brand image and content needs

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Get Started With Visual Task Management

These were the three most popular visual task management tools that both individuals and companies use to streamline a work process. Furthermore, it's not only beneficial for your business but also encourages your employees to work more efficiently.

However, in order to digitally create these charts, you need to choose the right diagramming visual management tool. A tool that is easy to use as well as fully functional. And once you find such a tool, you can create these in a few minutes.


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About the Author

Vartika Kashyap is the CMO at ProofHub and has been one of the LinkedIn Top Voices in 2018. Her articles are inspired by office situations and work-related events. She likes to write about productivity, team building, work culture, leadership, entrepreneurship among others and contributing to a better workplace is what makes her click.

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