Task and project management are both approaches to the organization of activities to keep personnel on track and focused, but one focuses on overall projects, while the other involves individual tasks. Depending on the scope of the project or task, a coordinator may be assigned to supervise operations and personnel. Managers can use software and a variety of other tools for task and project management planning, as well as analysis after the fact to identify issues that arose and develop protocols to prevent similar problems in the future.
In project management, personnel manage an overall project from start to finish. This includes early design and bidding phases, development, active creation, finishing, and delivery to the client. This may take months or even years in the case of projects like bridges or railways. Project management establishes clear guidelines, goals, and time frames to work with over the course of the project.
Task management involves the control of an individual task, often a subset of a project. On a bridge project, for instance, one of the tasks would include the development of blueprints for the bridge, with input from engineering and design personnel. Task and project management would include dividing the project into a number of smaller tasks, each with their own timelines and goals, to keep the overall project on track for successful completion in a timely fashion.
An administrative support person may be in charge of task and project management. This person coordinates with everyone involved, creates timelines and schedules, and monitors activities to make sure everyone is working on the right things at the right time. Often, a software program assists with this process. The manager can assign and reassign activities, check in with personnel on the task or project, and maintain statistics on how long it takes to complete various aspects of the task or project. The software may be available to staff members who want to check progress and coordinate schedules.
After completion, task and project management may include a postmortem evaluation. During this procedure, people on the project may discuss any issues they encountered and determine how well they stuck to stated plans. Deviations can be explored to determine if they could have been prevented, and to develop new policies and protocols to use on future projects. Improving efficiency is an important aspect of task and project management, as clients expect completion in a timely fashion and want explanations when this does not occur.