Category Archives: Guest Post

From recruitment to the monthly school newsletter, for HR Specialist Jeffrey Loosli, DropTask manages it all…

school-blog-headerJeffrey Loosli is a Human Resources Specialist for the Blaine County School District #61. With over 500 full-time employees and an additional 300 part-time volunteers and coaches, trying to keep track of everything that needs to be completed – from the recruitment process to the monthly payroll, is a huge undertaking.

loosli-head“Before we discovered DropTask, things were often missed or dropped because one person did not communicate what needed to be done with others. We therefore required a tool that would allow us to organize tasks and thoughts and share these with one another to keep everyone in the department working from the same page – so nothing was missed.

We considered some of the other top apps and read the reviews before coming back with two potentials to use – DropTask being one of them. After trialing the free version of DropTask with my colleagues, we instantly fell in love and purchased DropTask PRO for our department.school-ext

We now use DropTask to keep track of all of the daily and monthly tasks we need to get done. For example, we have a project called ‘Newsletter’ and we create a task for each topic that will feature in the newsletter on a specified month of the year.

“After trialing the free version of DropTask with my colleagues, we instantly fell in love…”

We also use the daily summary email DropTask sends out and each morning we are reminded of what tasks we need to work on next, and what’s coming up on the horizon – meaning no tasks are forgotten.

school-newsletter

“We now use DropTask to keep track of all of the daily and monthly tasks we need to get done.”

Using DropTask, we have successfully managed and completed the hiring process of 8 new coaches for the school. I effortlessly invited all of the colleagues from my department to the project, where I had created every task that needed to be completed and the deadlines for each one. Using drag and drop, I was able to delegate tasks to team members, and with the ability to add subtasks, it meant all aspects of a task were covered – from signing the contracts for the new coaches to printing the contracts out. I even took a day off, and with DropTask’s real-time collaboration, everyone in the department was able to see what had been done and what still had to be done, so there were no hold-ups in progressing with the project.

DropTask has allowed us to manage things that were normally done on paper (that often got lost in the shuffle), or tasks that were left in limbo because the employee took the day off. Now we can see the progress and know exactly what needs to get done.

“DropTask is leaps and bounds above a simple to-do list that has colors on it.”

My team really enjoy using DropTask and are constantly amazed at what new ideas the DropTask team are coming up with. I have downloaded the app on my smart phone so I can continually monitor, change, and add to tasks even when I’m out of the office. DropTask works great in all types of situations and I even use it for personal items at home – from paying monthly bills, to changing furnaces filters and even watering the plants.

We simply love the visuals of DropTask because you can instantly see where things are in relation to each other. It’s so easy to group common things together, and it allows you to follow the same process each time. When trying to organize and manage tasks, DropTask is leaps and bounds above a simple to-do list that has colors on it.”

 Get your team started today by signing up for free at www.droptask.com/signup

Already a DropTask user? Share your story with us at contact@droptask.com for your chance to be featured in a future post!

Marketing consultant Chris Coney has only one app open all day, and it isn’t email…

Chris Coney

Having been in business for almost 10 years, Chris Coney is a UK based Marketing Consultant who helps and advises other businesses to maximize the lifetime value of their customers by implementing a variety of marketing and sales techniques.  Passionate about delivering great value to his clients, Chris explains how he uses the best technology to create the most leverage in his productivity and efficiency.

“I’ve been using the iMindMap software from ThinkBuzan for many years, and discovered DropTask when ThinkBuzan invited me to join it during its launch. I’ve been using DropTask ever since. I was primed for this since I’ve switched from one project management system to another over the years but never felt they worked the way I worked. I always felt I was having to adapt my natural work style to fit the software, and that created extra friction in my day that I really would rather be without.”

 “Most importantly for me there was no learning curve with DropTask.”Chris Coney Marketing Consultant

“The brain’s ability to process information visually outweighs the other senses massively, and I have verified this in my own experience. For me, I need to be able to display, understand, process and retrieve as much information as possible from one screen, without clicking through lots of tabs etc.

Because project management is such a business-critical task, a 1% improvement in effectiveness is multiplied many-fold. Not an hour goes by that I don’t refer to DropTask, and it remembers everything for me so I don’t have to work in a stressful state.

I use DropTask exclusively for work in my business. I have it open almost every moment I’m working and don’t even do this with my email anymore because it hinders my productivity. I also have it open during client meetings so that I can immediately create tasks as they crop up. This eliminates the need to take notes and spend valuable time picking out the action points later on.” 

Chris Coney with DropTask

“Having DropTask open all the time boosts my productivity.”

“One thing that Brian Tracy said – which I felt was so powerful, was that we need to stop asking “How can I catch up?” because no matter how much we get done, no matter how small our ‘to-do’ list gets, the next day it gets refilled. He said that we need to change the question to “Since I can only do a few things, what are the few things I can do that will make the most difference?” so what he’s ultimately talking about is priority. 

DropTask ultimately accomplishes what I mentioned about having one screen I can look at to see both the big picture and the detail, without clicking on anything. It’s incredible really.

I love cloud software because it minimizes risk of data loss and enables my virtual office. To that end I use Google Apps for Business to create word processor documents, spreadsheets, presentations etc. – all that run from my web browser. With DropTask I am able to link specific documents to specific tasks, open them from within DropTask in one click, and begin editing in seconds.”

DropTask and Google

 “…it feels like one big seamless flow”

“For me, DropTask’s integration with Google Drive is better than attaching a file because my Google documents are in the cloud and can be worked on by multiple people simultaneously. That means no downloading the file, editing it, and then uploading the latest version while wondering whether someone else has made a change in the meantime and thus created a version conflict.

The linking of cloud documents doesn’t stop there. Because I use Google Mail, each email message has its own URL and I often paste this URL into the task comment section as a mini audit trail for myself. And finally, because Google Apps integrates with other third party cloud applications, I am also able to link to my cloud based flow charts and website maps in DropTask via the Google Apps integration. This really blurs the lines between applications, as I feel less and less like I’m using multiple software systems, and instead it feels like one big seamless flow.

I’ve been in business for myself for almost 10 years now, and I’ve never worked for anyone as an employee. I don’t want a big business with huge offices and lots of staff to manage, I just want the big revenues that come from providing massive value to my clients. The only way to do that without the big business is to use the best technology to create the most leverage in my productivity, efficiency and effectiveness, and DropTask is my technology of choice. 

If someone reads this and they relate to anything I’ve said above, then they know they need to give DropTask a chance.”

Try today by signing up for free at www.droptask.com/signup

Already a DropTask user? Share your story with us at contact@droptask.com for your chance to be featured in a future post!

Working with remote teams – A breeze for HP Project Manager, Mark Pohlmann

HP

As project manager at Hewlett-Packard Enterprise, Mark Pohlmann is required to manage large IT projects with expert teams located all around the world, as well as with consultants working on site. Upon discovering DropTask in 2013, Mark decided to select it as the collaborative tool he and his team would need in order to keep track on the progress of ever-changing priorities determined through regular team meetings.  Earlier this year, Mark took some time to explain the fundamental role that DropTask plays in managing his team in order to deliver timely results.

“My job is to manage multiple large-scale IT projects on a daily basis, with several teams working remotely across various sites around the world.  I need to be informed of what’s happening on each project (via a status report), and need to share this information with both my team and my management so we can establish new deadlines, progress, and any issues that could potentially arise. Prior to DropTask, collecting this information from the field and assembling the status report required a lot of time and effort, so I began to search for a cloud-based tool which would be accessible to everyone. A representation of the work that needed to be done was vital, as well as the ability to assign this work to team members, collect updates, and more precisely – let individual team members update each other of their status. This would then assist me in generating a report for management.

hp-droptask-markpohlmann

Many task management tools don’t allow strong ‘group’ management. For some, a task can belong to a group – and that’s it. A group cannot belong to a group, and without nested grouping you create the sort of limit which doesn’t work when trying to represent the complexity of a project. With DropTask, I was able to place groups within groups, which allowed me to represent the project as it is. I was also able to find various common properties you’d expect such as due date, status, and subtasks, but in addition to this I was able to helpfully set the ‘urgency’ and ‘importance’ for each task – which isn’t that common to find.

Each time a project is set up, team members update the properties that belonging to each task (including due date and status), to reflect what they have done. From there I can further control the attributes of each task and change their priorities based on the discussions we have. The team also benefit from receiving the daily summary email that’s sent out by DropTask each morning, as this gives them increased visibility on our progress.

HP Status Report

Weekly Project Status Report, Phase #1. This illustrates how DropTask is used within our weekly project status report deck. Consultants are updating DropTask and the current status is extracted and presented with some comments to the Management.

Depending on the project, at the end of each week and month I export all task related information into a CSV file to update corporate reports and dashboards. I save a huge amount of time since all of the information I need to update is right there. In addition to this, I can screen capture the DropTask project representation to create a unique slide for status reporting. Again, this saves me a lot of time since DropTask is designing a picture for me to view project status.  This makes collaboration so much easier as people can report what they want during the day, resulting in fewer phone calls, less paperwork (with information the team need to hand to me), and no to-do ‘lists’.  Our corporate dashboards are updated easily, and the time saved for both myself and my team can be better spent working on deliverables for our customers.

There are plenty of task management tools out there, but to fully understand many of these you’re required to spend hours ‘learning’ how things work. This is no good because we don’t have the time to do this. DropTask is intuitive, made for humans, and is simple to use. Within a couple of minutes you’ve understood what you need to do and can begin to work.  As well as this, all task management tools are “list based” and aren’t necessarily fun to use, with poor and unattractive “visual” reports. DropTask, on the other hand, gives me a unique project status report which is visually beautiful and this is perfect for when I report to senior management who like to “pin” these reports up on their wall.”

Get your team started today by signing up for free at www.droptask.com/signup

Already a DropTask user? Share your story with us at contact@droptask.com for your chance to be featured in a future post!

How the award-winning architectural practice, Hudson Architects, replaced to-do lists and note-taking with DropTask to inspire efficiency and transparency throughout the business.

Hudson Architects Team

The Hudson Architects Team

Philip Durban is the Director of Technology at Hudson Architects; a twenty-person award-winning architectural practice designing contemporary buildings throughout the UK and worldwide. Since signing up in the summer of 2013, DropTask has not only improved the day to day internal running of the business, but has added a level of enthusiasm and engagement amongst staff exceeding anything he could have ever hoped for…

 “In 2012 we found ourselves overwhelmed with new projects at the tail-end of the recession. It was in this context that we became frustrated with our old-task management system where every employee was keeping a manual “to-do” list in an effectively private notebook.

Until 2 years ago, our normal business practice was to have a full team meeting every Monday where we would go round the room allowing each person to announce what they needed to do most urgently. We would then try to assimilate this information – and within the same meeting, find the best way to achieve and resource the task. It wasn’t the most perfect way of doing things at all, and tended to be knee-jerk reactive rather than properly planned.

“Every employee was keeping a manual “to-do” list in an effectively private notebook…We would go round the room allowing each person to announce what they needed to do most urgently”

We realized we needed a tool that would make task management more transparent, auditable and accessible to all. But being architects we’re slightly obtuse, and we instinctively respond better to very visual organizational tools – rather than just very long lists!

We scoured Google for a system that would work well for our needs and in the process we tried out quite a few fairly conventional systems across the world, most of which left us very unconvinced. However, as Director of Technology, I then stumbled across something called DropTask and it instantly “rocked my boat” from a visual point of view. It seemed to have startlingly good reviews on both sides of the Atlantic. Soon afterwards, we projected DropTask onto our meeting room wall and demonstrated it to everyone in the company. DropTask’s visual style not only made it very easy to explain to everyone how it worked and why we should have it, but it also made all our staff enthusiastic to start entering their own projects.

Hudson Architects

Hudson Architects

So for the last 2 years we’ve had a principle that if anything is being done in the company it needs to show up somewhere in a DropTask project. We divide our projects into fee-earning projects and overhead projects. Our overhead projects will be the same as everyone else’s (office management, PR, etc), but our fee-earning projects are all about designing buildings, large and small. DropTask has the flexibility to allow a project to be completely unique, or based on a well-refined template – but most of our projects are pretty much one-off. Having said that, we have fairly clear internal protocols for which DropTask “groups” will be used in building projects, although we’ve also found that these groups need to be dynamic over the course of a multi-year building contract. DropTask offers exactly that flexibility.

“…for the last 2 years we’ve had a principle that if anything is being done in the company, it needs to show up somewhere in a DropTask project.”

But apart from DropTask’s intuitive visual strengths, there are other essential features which make it very powerful, including the ability to very easily allocate a fully defined task to any person inside or outside of the organization.  As well as internal task delegation, we now require our IT contractor to respond to and update all our IT requests using DropTask. DropTask also makes it very easy to maintain a comprehensive audit trail for every event within the life of a task, and this audit trail semi-automatically tells us who did what, and when they did it.

DropTask has been powerful enough to inspire subtly new ways of working and has given us an intelligent overview of the totality of our workload – when that was otherwise very difficult to achieve!”

Get your team started today by signing up for free at www.droptask.com/signup

Already a DropTask user? Share your story with us at contact@droptask.com for your chance to be featured in a future post!

From team collaboration to sales acquisition: how DropTask made an impact for Kate Harthan

Kate Harthan works at a promotional products company specializing in personalized items for businesses, corporate awards and uniform programs with customers all over the United States. With general office management responsibilities and duties in marketing, before signing up to DropTask Kate found the lifecycle management of incoming projects to be challenging – especially when priorities were ever changing. For Kate, the use of spreadsheets to manage projects was insufficient as it lacked the ability for all users to edit it at once, and with employees having to keep track of smaller tasks on their own notepads and valuable time being spent ‘catching up’ in weekly office meetings, Kate’s company needed an alternative.

We needed a tool that would allow us to manage ongoing projects on a daily basis, one that would allow for all employees to view and change things at the same time. This way, my boss would be able to stay up-to-date with the status of individuals’ projects without stopping to ask them about it, and employees could keep track of all of their notes in one place. I read about DropTask in a magazine I received, and decided to try it out.

DropTask is used to manage all of our ongoing projects. Each employee has their own ‘bubble’, and the projects that they are working on are grouped within this. Employees are able to add notes to tasks, meaning projects are easily transferred to another employee to handle if someone is on vacation as they have access to everything regarding the project(s). We also have a ‘Projects not yet assigned’ bubble so when customers call in for quotes, whoever takes the call can create a task. Then, when an employee finishes their current project(s), they are able to see the tasks that have not yet been handled and can start working on them. Similarly, we have a ‘Projects Completed’ bubble, so when a task is completed (they have quoted the customer, prepared artwork, and taken an order) it can be moved into here.

At the end of every week, I print all of these ‘bubbles’ off; the Projects Completed, the Projects not yet assigned and each employee’s own. These printouts from DropTask are used as a guide in our office meetings.

Droptask printouts

We are currently using DropTask to manage every project in the company, regardless of size. DropTask allows us to create bubbles for each and every task to be done. For example, when someone calls in requesting a quote for 50 shirts, we can create a task and track it until completion when an order is placed.  We even use it for our sales rep – when he has deliveries to make, we create task bubbles for him so he knows where to go, who to see and what he is dropping off, all without asking.

“It is refreshing to have a visual representation of what is going on in the office that all employees are able to edit. It has helped reduce my boss’s time spent managing employee projects, and it has increased our response times and overall success of follow-up with customers.”

DropTask is extremely easy and convenient to work with. It is refreshing to have a visual representation of what is going on in the office that all employees are able to edit. It has helped reduce my boss’s time spent managing employee projects, and it has increased our response times and overall success of follow-up with customers. If we provide a quote, but the customer doesn’t make an immediate decision, the project bubble still exists. An employee could click on it, see the date of the last note that was made along with the customer contact information and they could then follow-up on the enquiry. If the customer tells us, for example, that they won’t be able to make a decision for 2 or 3 months, we can set that time as a due date to remind ourselves to follow up with this customer. It is a great system that keeps us from relying on individual employees’ post-it notes, emails, or memories, which makes it easier for employees to be away from work last minute and for closer monitoring of customer contact. I believe that this has led to higher sales numbers while reducing the amount of physical paper used weekly – all the information is available at a glance in DropTask.

Try it yourself – get started for free at www.droptask.com/signup

Already using DropTask? Share your story with us at contact@droptask.com for your chance to be featured in a future post!