A look at tasks and the kind of work they can do
Tasks are the unsung heroes of content types. Blogs get all the love, because they're easy to read, and communications people adore them. Wikis get the honour, because a meticulous knowledge manager can use a wiki to index and find anything. But tasks are everywhere in your community, on content, in profiles, and in their own channels, and they help you get things done.
Tasks can be created from anywhere in the community with the userbar, and can be a single line to act as a reminder, or expanded to add details and resources. Set a priority and due date, and you're ready to assign it to someone in the community, even yourself. You can manage tasks in your profile, under To Dos, organizing them and tracking their sources.
Tasks become action
Tasks can be created and assigned directly on content in your community. If there's a file that needs updating or a wiki article that needs review, you can assign the task directly on the item. When it needs to be done, people can move directly from their to dos to the content. All of the information is there, and anyone else who views that page can see that it's been done, and by whom.
Tasks on content see a lot of use in areas where people need to assign
- Action items for meetings in calendar events
- Revisions to articles
- Updates or new versions of files
The bird's-eye view
Unlike tasks on content, task channels are designed to give people a top down view into large projects. Tasks can be nested beneath others to create subtasks and set up milestones, so a project can be broken down into every step that needs to be done. Sets of tasks can be saved into templates for processes that need to be repeated, and templates can be shared across task channels.
Task channels are often used to
- Manage large projects, especially ones that draw on people across the community
- Perform and archive repeated tasks, like onboarding
- Create common templates for tasks used in different areas of the community
Tricks with tasks
The tasks widget has a broad range of options, and can be used as the backbone of a Page that helps people in your community track everything that's on their agenda. It can be set up to show only tasks assigned to you, so you'll always see what needs your attention, and can be sorted by priority and due date. You can use another tasks widget on the page to show tasks a person has assigned to others in the community, so they'll have visibility in what they need done and who they're relying on. Add a calendar widget to the mix to show them upcoming events they're a part of, and you have the start of a Page or Dashboard that's a go to for people in your community to see what they need to be doing on any day.
Using tasks in the community can be invaluable for engagement. It gets people in the community, moving around, and understanding the shape of it. It builds your community into their work, while improving visibility and accountability. Activity tells you who did what when, but it can only tell you about the past. Tasks can tell you who needs to do what by when, which can make them a key part of the future.