Recurring Tasks In-Depth
We’ll use an example to explain recurring tasks a bit better. Let’s say that a company is working on a project that spans over a year, and that project has weekly and monthly recurring tasks, such as:
- Weekly team meetings
- Weekly project status reports
- Monthly executive meetings
- Monthly customer reports
- Monthly project reports
Any type of repeating task during a project’s lifeline is a recurring task. Once a recurring task is completed, another one should be listed in the calendar for the next day, week, or month, depending on the frequency of the recurring tasks. The manual approach would look like this.
Managers would have to create recurring tasks for 52 team meetings, 52 weekly reports, 12 executive meetings, etc., during the course of a year for the annual project and timely execute them. The manual approach to recurring tasks takes up time but using time tracking or project managment software will almost automatize the process.
When a company adopts a software that includes a recurring task feature, then managment needs only to configure each of these tasks once to make them recurring. The software option will definitely company your time and resources and management can spend their hours on more productive tasks instead of configuring each task separately.
Moreover, the greater the manual task input, the higher the chances of human error. Consequently, the more work management and employees put into administrative functions, the less time they’ll have to focus on the actual project tasks.
Example of Recurring Tasks
We’ll use the same example for a year-long project. Let’s say that a few weeks after the project has started, management learned that the weekly team meetings are actually scheduled at the same time as the meetings for another project.
The logical thing to do would be to reschedule, which is easy enough to adjust for one meeting but what happens when there are another 50 on the calendar? Management would have to manually change the time and date for 50 meetings and waste a good number of hours.
This is why a time tracking software is a better solution compared to manual entries as it can be used to create recurring tasks with the convenience of creating, editing, or deleting a bulk of tasks at once. Any project task that is repeated in cycles over a period of time can benefit from being listed as a recurring task.
Functionalities of Software Recurring Tasks
While different project management software for recurring tasks will offer different features and their own unique solutions, the ones with the best functionality are those that offer the following features:
Frequency of Recurring Tasks
When managers have to set up the frequency of the recurring task, it’s a key point to enable them to customize how often that task shows up in the schedule. Minimally, the software should allow managers to choose the frequency of recurring tasks on a daily, weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly basis. More advanced software should also allow for quarterly and annually recurring tasks.
Duration of Recurring Tasks
There could be cases when a project requires that recurring task should appear for a period shorter than the project's lifespan or until a specific project milestone. Hence, the software should include the option to specify the end date of the recurring task and the number of times managers want the task to re-occur.
Change Tasks Without Creating a Havoc
With software recurring tasks, there should always be room for unplanned events like holidays and the software should be able to automatically skip those dates without causing a mixup in recurring tasks. For example, if there is a recurring task in the form of a project progress meeting on Monday, but the following Monday is a national holiday, the software should be able to move that particular meeting to Tuesday without moving the rest of the recurring tasks for Tuesday as well.
Change the Names and Description of Recurring Tasks
The software should allow for changing the names of recurring tasks without changing the name of the entire series of recurring tasks. For example, if managers want to call every monthly meeting “Monthly Project Meeting,” the software should allow you to rename and divide the recurring tasks as you please.
By allowing managers to change the names and descriptions of the recurring tasks, they could be linked together, and they will be easier to read on a longer list as they will be visually distinguished by name and description.