How We Arrived at Partial Task Completion

Project Panorama is a WordPress Project Management Plugin that will have you loving your job again!

One of Panorama’s unique features is partially completed tasks. Traditional project management tools typically limit task progress to either open or complete, with no ability to designate in between. I don’t fault this approach, there are situations where more fidelity is overkill. That said, there is value in communicating task activity over total completion. Further partial task completion aligns with two of the core values Panorama is built around.

First we feel that project management should require as little effort as possible. Time managing projects is time away from building, designing and innovating. Second, we’re passionate about effective communication. That is, no more and no less communication than absolutely necessary.

So why do binary tasks leave something to be desired? Anything beyond a simple, five minute task can be progressed without being fully complete. In these situations critical project information is lost. To anyone not working on an incomplete task doesn’t know if it’s been started or not. If they do know the task has been started, it’s unclear how close to completion it is or if there has been consistent progress or not.

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Things can come up where tasks gets blocked. If you’re used to seeing consistent progress on a task then there is a sudden stop, it’s a good indicator that follow up is required. Without partial task completion, keeping apprised of task status required ongoing additional communication, which actually slows down total progress.

Of course you could break large tasks into lots of small sub-tasks, but there is overhead associated with such an approach. The more individual tasks you create the more time it takes to build out new projects, manage existing projects and get a clear understanding of overall progress. Simply put, with partial task completion you’re able to communicate more with less effort.

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Now there are times where a task is so simple that it really is complete or incomplete, sending an e-mail for example. In this case we have created a free add-on allowing you to designate tasks as a checklist — making it easier to check off those simple tasks one by one. However most tasks are large enough where partial completion is more effective.

That’s why we feel that partial task completion is the most effective way to communicate project progress.

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