When you’re looking for a task manager app the number of choices available to you might be overwhelming. But if you know the right questions to ask, the choice will become a lot easier.

Of course, there’s often no right or wrong answer - it all depends on what your needs are. So let’s take a look at the five questions you can ask to make the best task manager program choice for yourself and your team.

1. What is the science behind it?

A good task manager app will have a sound reasoning behind its design - not only because it looks pretty. The task manager’s creators should be able to argument why they built the app the way they did. 

You need to examine if the app has science backing it up. Probe into what are the psychological benefits of the task manager app, as well as where the philosophy comes from. Only then can you truly understand if it fits your needs.

For example, Sandglaz is designed as a marriage between Kanban and the Eisenhower Matrix - two tried and tested task management tools. This allows you to visualize your task list and keep your task plans flexible, giving you the psychological benefit of clarity of work. It also allows you to progress toward your goals by making it clear what you should be working on next. 

2. What kind of planning does it encourage?

Some task manager programs are aligned with more traditional project management philosophies. That can cause you and your team to be less responsive to change because they require very detailed planning. 

Task manager apps that are based on Gantt charts fit into this category. Gantt charts were introduced in the early 1900s and were quite revolutionary at that time in the fields of manufacturing and construction. 

Do they work? That’s for you to decide, depending on what your projects involve. But be wary of a false sense of certainty extensive, detailed planning can give you. In certain industries where changing course of action is extremely costly and resource-consuming, this kind of planning might be the right choice.

But in most modern industries such as software development, design and marketing you need a task manager app that allows for flexible planning. That’s because in these fields changing course is not only a lot more affordable, but also encouraged and in some cases absolutely vital to the business. 

3. Is it designed with teams or individuals in mind?

There are task manager apps that are designed for individuals but have some team collaboration features, and others that are designed for teams but can also be used by individuals.

Understand what is the primary purpose of your task manager program. If you’re looking for an app to use on your own, then one that’s more like a daily task list might be more suitable for your needs.

But if you’re looking for a collaboration tool, you need a more robust and visual task management program that is specifically designed with team collaboration in mind. Which takes us to the next question. 

4. Does it allow my team members to collaborate effectively?

Not all task management apps for teams are created equally. Some are more effective when it comes to collaboration, some aren’t.

A good way to test if a task manager app encourages effective collaboration is to see if the program is task-centric. For example, can your team members have conversations about the details of a task right within its context, or do they have to go to a different chat room? Can they attach relevant documents to a task in order to keep all documents in one place? 

Having a task-centric app allows team members to focus on each task as a building block that brings the team closer to its goals. It also allows everyone to stay flexible, as it makes it a lot easier to add, delete and rearrange tasks when you need to change course.

Keep in mind, more features does not necessarily mean a better app. You want a task manager app to help you and your team get things done with clarity - not to be a contact manager, CRM, billing app and a thousand more things. Simple is not only beautiful, it’s also more productive. 

Here are some basic features that you do need:

  • Attaching documents to the task
  • Assigning tasks to team members
  • Categorizing and filtering tasks easily
  • Sharing each project with its own set of team members
  • Having conversations and adding notes within the context of the task

5. Is it device-dependent?

Business is conducted very differently today than it was even a few years ago. Knowledge workers are not only constantly connected, but they need to be able to work from different locations and devices. In fact, most people need autonomy and flexibility in order to produce their best work. It’s also a lot more common for workers to use their own devices. 

That’s why you want a task manager app that is not hardware dependent. You should be able to access it whether you’re on your phone, tablet or laptop, whether you’re on a Mac or PC, iPhone or Android.

Do you have any other questions to add to our list? Leave a comment in the section below!