Lonely Tasks

By Giovanni Collazo 14 Nov 2013

Lonely tasks

Today is day 1 of our open design project. As we promised on the previous post we want to share what we are thinking are the problems Blimp 2.0 has to fix and how we think we should do it. The idea is to get your feedback and suggestions along the way to help guide us in the right direction. You can also sign up to receive periodic updates on the project.

Lonely tasks

Blimp is great for managing projects. It’s really easy to create goals, split them into tasks and assign those tasks to your teammates and then follow the progress. The thing is that while running our company in addition to the tasks in our projects we also have a bunch of other tasks that come up everyday. Things like renewing a domain name, writing a blog post, maintenance jobs, setting up meetings with customers and many other things. These work related tasks are not part of any specific project. We call them “lonely tasks”. So, what do we do with them?

Lonely task

You might do what we used to do, which was to write them on a piece of paper or add them to the little reminders app on your phone. So here we are, building a great collaborative task management app and we are making notes on little pieces of paper. What a shame. We quickly noticed that this made no sense so we hacked Blimp to manage these things for us.

We created a project called “Bucket” where we throw every lonely task into. Now we are back to managing these things as a team with all the related benefits. Now every work related tasks is on a central location and visible to everyone. It works.

After a while of doing this, we started talking to customer and some of them were doing something similar. The only complaints were that it was not intuitive to create a project which you know is never going to end, just to be able to manage a few tasks that come and go every day. Also the progress indicator means nothing since you are alway adding new stuff.

This is something we can fix with very little effort and with a big impact for our users’ workflow. If every user knew about this trick they might use it and get the benefit the “power users” are getting.

Getting things done

We made a list of possible ways to solve this problem but before we made the list we used every task management app and methodology known to humans. We tried apps for the desktop, web apps, mobile apps, systems that use paper, whiteboards, scrum, kanban, you name it.

After trying everything we concluded that the Getting Things Done_ _methodology (which we all have used before) and the apps that implement it correctly are the most useful and easy to use. The GTD methodology in its simplest form provides clear benefits to tasks management. Another cool thing about GTD is that it already has a place for projects within the system and it’s totally compatible with the way we do projects on Blimp.

Solution

We should enable Blimp to allow tasks management in a way which is similar to GTD without touching how we manage projects right now. This would allow us to solve the “lonely task” problem but also super charge the project management workflow we already have. So this is what we think we should do.

Lists

With these lists comes the need to move tasks from one list or project to another list or project which is something we wanted to have for a long time. We think this new organization structure will unleash a bunch of very interesting workflows for collaboration that are currently impossible in Blimp.

What do you think? Have you ever used GTD? What’s your solution? Let us know what you think and help shape Blimp 2.0.

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