Task Allocation Challenges in Virtual Teams (2/3)
In the first post of this three part series, we focused on how organisations can use cloud based project management solutions to increase profitability. In this post we’ll be looking at task allocation challenges in virtual teams.
Cloud Computing Compliments Teamwork
With all files being available independent of geographic location, cloud based solutions are perfect for virtual teams. Cloud computing technology is responsible for the success of several modern startup companies as it focuses mainly on teamwork. Working in the cloud reduces the cost of operations and enables proper task allocation among team members. In a nutshell, the core role of cloud computing is to compliment task allocation in groups/teams.
As we have noted in the previous section, efficient teamwork is almost always a core trait of any successful business. So, before we highlight improvements that come with cloud solutions, we should first explore task allocation from the perspective of traditional teams.
How Were Tasks Allocated Traditionally?
Traditionally, the team leader selected and allocated tasks. The leader identified the challenges to solve, determined the appropriate people to address them and then allocated the tasks to different team members as well as managing the process.
The team leader or Project Manager traditionally headed up task allocation. This presented a lot of challenges. For instance, the leader had to continually monitor the progress of team members including task allocation and actual performance.
The emergence of the digital era brought a sigh of relief to task management. Installing new applications meant big improvements to the process. This would help managers assign and coordinate the real-time progress of tasks among members and teams. But there were a few challenges with this. These were:
- Task decomposition
- Task allocation
- User handling
Task decomposition involves subdividing an enormous project into smaller tasks. Teams are assigned tasks based on their performance, skillset or other variables. Task decomposition, therefore, is the essential step towards task allocation. If one fails to clearly and appropriately define the smaller tasks, then the process of task allocation is insufficient. Traditional in-house software application lacked appropriate approaches to task decomposition which in turn led to inefficient task allocation.
When we assess most of the businesses that run the regular on-site task allocation software applications, they face a series of consistent challenges. The older systems used fixed algorithms that could not readily identify the critical components of tasks. Because most of these systems could not adequately gauge the ability of workers, they ended up awarding the wrong tasks to the wrong team members. This could then lead to low morale and poor quality output, which could hinder the company’s profitability as a result.
In every team, there are members who might have multiple skills. Traditionally, software applications could only assume a single skill per person and assign tasks based on that one unique skill. Such people would not be made available to replace others with different skills, when in reality they could also have that skill.
In a business, new employees join and existing ones leave. This can often mean new computers and workstations. Now, even though traditional on-site software applications were good, cheaper to maintain and efficient; most of them were not scalable, which meant tight limitations. The fixed number of people and assets set at the beginning could not be changed.
Technology changes rapidly. Whatever worked five years ago might not be the best option today. And what works today is at risk of being phased out over the coming three years. Good task allocation programs should accommodate new hardware improvements that can enhance productivity. However, scope for accommodating hardware changes isn’t usually developed into in-house software applications. As a result most of them are likely to become obsolete and get phased out with time.
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In the next post, we’ll look at how Oracle Prime can help with task allocation. Sign up today to hear more from Dividend on cloud based project management systems.
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