Using parallel project tasks to manage team assignments
Dear GroupCamp users,
After various requests we are now happy to bring you what we are calling Parallel tasks in GroupCamp Project. You now have the ability to assign the same task to multiple users.
What is key about this feature is that it will allow you to manage each assignment individually. We now use it intensively within GroupCamp and simply cannot do without it. With parallel tasks you also have new related application settings.
Note 1: please note that the number of assignees in parallel on a task is limited for a GroupCamp Project plan. Please refer to our Plans & Pricing page.
Note 2: If you were previously using assignments to the name of the company when using tasks, those tasks are automatically converted into parallel tasks. All company users become parallel assignees. Please note also that depending upon your plan the number of parallel assignees will therefore be limited.
Parallel project task management with the new task creation form
When parallel tasks are enabled, you will be able to add mulitiple assignees by clicking on the ‘+’ sign next to the select menu as shown in the screenshot above. Once the parallel tasks are created, each assignee will be able to complete his or her task individually (each parallel task is independent). When all tasks are completed the task is globally not considered as automatically completed.
In the Application Settings for parallel tasks, you can manage permissions for parallel task completion as shown below.
For example, with the setting shown above, only the assigned user and Administrators and Managers can complete the individual parallel task. This restricts the possible side effects of team members terminating tasks which were not assigned to them.
Parallel tasks and team assignment : what happens when a parallel task is completed
What a project manager wants when assigning parallel tasks to multiple members is to be able to be notified when one assignee has completed their tasks. During our tests we relalized that when assignees completed their parallel tasks all other assignees who were followers were also getting email notifications. That did not seem relevant since the information is intended for the person who created the task. This can be very painful when 20 project members are assigned in parallel on a task.
To solve this we have added the ability to notify only the creator of a task :
You can therefore fine tune your application settings based on your requirements:
- You can choose to enable or disable notifications,
- If notifications are enabled, you can choose to have notifications sent out only when all parallel tasks are completed. Or you could choose to leave it to the person completing the task to decide who he or she wants to notify.
- The new setting will also allow you to choose whether to notify the creator of the task together with Administrators or Managers or all followers of the task.
The screenshot below shows an example of an email notification :
Parallel tasks, start date, estimated time and percentage completion
When all features are enabled on a task, the screenshot below shows what the task creation widget will look like:
If after the start date on a task, all parallel assignments are not started (if there is at least one % completion set to 0%) then the task is considered as being late (the start date will be highlighted in red)
Please note also that the time estimate on a task is the sum of the time estimates on all tasks.
A late task such as the one described above would be displayed in the list of late items in the project Overview.
Please read also our blog entry on start dates and percentage completion
Parallel tasks and team assignments : what happens to tasks created by the email dropbox ?
And because the magic never ends, if you are using the email dropbox in tasks to add tasks to your account, all members in the To: field of your email are all assigned in parallel to the task (Provided the plan quota allows for it. Otherwise the remaining users will be added as followers).
To take into account parallel tasks, the following features have also been re-designed :
- The Excel export now proposes a tab with all parallel assignments
- The iPhone and Android webapp presents parallel tasks with their percentage completion
- Email notifications on tasks have been updated (the subject of the email has the name and description of the parallel task).
- The Gmail gadget for Google Apps users now also allows for parallel task creation,
- The weekly email digest also includes parallel tasks.
We hope you enjoy this as much as we do. This has significantly improved the way we manage assignment to the GroupCamp team.