Managing And Commenting On Tasks
An overview of tasks in your task list
There are some things you should know about the tasks found in your project task list. (For one thing, for such a compact space, there's a lot of information represented in the task list.)
- Milestones - Each blue bar is a milestone. Use these to group tasks into logical units of work. Phases, sprints, that kind of thing. A milestone can have a budget.
- Add time - Using the " + " button, you can add arbitrary amounts of time to a task on arbitrary dates, if you should forget to start a timer, for example (happens to the best of us).
- Start a new timer - Click the "Start" button, and we'll open up a time log for you (and add a brilliant green progress bar to the bottom of the task) Click the "Stop" button again, and we'll stop the timer. (See #12, below)
- Milestone budget
- Expand and Hide tasks in a milestone - In case the view gets too cluttered
- Send to review, Mark approved (aka Done), and delete - You have access to some of the things you'll do most when working with tasks from this popup menu.
- Total time logged and task estimate - If you haven't logged time for a task, you'll just see one number (or n/a for an unestimated task.) By clicking that number, you can quickly reestimate or reprice a task. Once time's been logged, you'll see how much time has been spent vs. the estimated time.
- The Task Group
- Task assignment - If you're working with a team, you can assign a task by clicking on the photo currently assigned team member (or the default avatar for an unassigned task) and select a new owner for the task. Whoever you select will also get an email letting them know that there's a new task on their plate.
- Number of subtasks - The total number of subtasks this task has
- Number of comments - The total number of comments that have been added to this task.
- A running task - When you click "Start", you'll see your time being logged in the timer button. The total time logged (#7) and the progress bar (bright green, along the bottom of the task) will also count up as the timer is running. When you start a timer, other teammates can see that you're working on that task in their task list, too.
- Fixed price - This task has a fixed price, which is show here
- A blocked task - If you or your team can't proceed on a task for some reason, bring it to your client's attention by setting it to "Blocked". This will notify them and turn the task pink.
Viewing a task
By clicking on the name of a task (or by double clicking anywhere else on the task), you can open up a task window which allows you to see all the attributes and activities around that task.
The task window is broken up into six sections:
- The task header - This shows the task title or name, who created the task and when they created it. You can also see the task id # right by the task name.
- The task action buttons
This is where you'd start and stop the timer, change the "state" of a task (In Review, Approved/Done, Blocked), or Delete the task.
The timer shows the amount of time logged compared to the time estimated.
Clicking the "Send to review" button will change the task status and send it to the client for review.
Clients can click the "Approved" button or you can click the "Mark as Done" button to finish a task.
If you are at a point where, "I can't work on this until I get this answered," you can mark the task as blocked. This will visually highlight in red the task and let your client know that the task is currently blocked pending their feedback.
- Subtasks - Each task can have an unlimited number of subtasks, which can be checked off individually once completed. Subtasks can't be assigned or have time logged against them, so particularly meaty requirements should probably be their own task.
- Other task info - The task group, milestone, and assignment of the task are shown here, and can be changed here as well. You can also see and edit the estimated time for the task and the fixed price of the task in this section.
- The comment box
Each Planscope task has its own comment stream, which makes it really easy to break out of the hell of searching through dozens of emails to find information about a given requirement. Whenever you comment on a task, Planscope will email all participants of your project. Best of all, if you want to reply to a new comment, you don't even need to pull up Planscope — just reply to the comment notification email.
If you're working with a team, you'll sometimes want to comment on a task but not make it available to your clients (for instance, boring technical mumbo-jumbo or "What on earth is this guy thinking?!") check the "Don't show this message to clients" box to only display your comment to members of your team.
You can drag and drop or upload attachments and screenshots to a comment and those will be shown in the activity stream as well. It's a good way to give everyone more context for your comment.
Here's a nice thing: comments can be written in standard Markup syntax if you want.
- The activity stream - The activity stream tracks any changes to the task (a new time estimate, new assignments, being sent to review, code commits), along with any added time logs or comments.