How does a group of people keep its priorities straight?
August 16, 2007 6:40 AM   Subscribe

How does a group of people keep its priorities straight?

I'm looking for software that a small group can keep a list of tasks. Additionally, I'd like for the list of tasks to be kept in priority order where the priority is set by one or more people. I'd like for the tasks to have unique priorities, so everything can't be most critical. Finally, if this thing could notify the group when the list changes. Does such software exist?
posted by clearlynuts to Technology (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Are you guys developers of any sort? Because as crazy as it may sound, bug tracking software is actually really good for this kind of thing. You get all the configuration/notification/routing options you want.

I'd like for the tasks to have unique priorities, so everything can't be most critical.

Software won't solve this for you, unfortunately. It simply requires organizational discipline.
posted by mkultra at 7:12 AM on August 16, 2007

There's a fairly big market of collaboration/collaborative software (or "groupware") for groups to manage large projects with task assignment, milestones, and so forth. Obviously, features will vary.

These are probably best for more complex and long-term projects, though. For smaller things, even a shared calendar (e.g. Web calendar) could work but would be pretty basic.
posted by Ky at 7:21 AM on August 16, 2007

The simplest answer is to have good leadership on a project— leaders are the ones who prioritize and allocate.
posted by klangklangston at 12:25 PM on August 16, 2007

Trac is a handy free program that may help. Its issue/bug tracking sounds like it would do what you need. It also includes its own Wiki system, which can be handy for collaboration on documents. It may have some features you don't need, like its built-in support for browing Subversion repositories, but you can just ignore that part.

It has its own built-in web server (or you can run it under another web server if you already have that set up), and everyone in the office can access it using their web browser. It can send e-mail alerts whenever a "ticket" is changed.
posted by Emanuel at 2:45 PM on August 16, 2007

If you don't mind a Web 1.5 interface and a geeky focus, Request Tracker is the major free and open source way that technical support organizations track priorities and tasks across groups of people.

You can set up queues -- a list of requests or tasks that are shared by a particular group of people -- and then assign all of the requests or tasks priorities from 0-100. Different E-mail notifications can be sent for additional notes put on each request, or when the status of a request changes.

mkultra is half-right; you do need organizational discipline. If a member of the group doesn't use the collaborative software -- or doesn't use it correctly -- the entire model can break down. On the other hand, in certain environments with quick turnarounds, it's nearly impossible to do tasking and prioritization without software like RT to help you out.
posted by eschatfische at 5:42 PM on August 16, 2007

It's called a "leader" and it can't be replaced by software.

Unfortunately--because I'm in the same boat.
posted by lisaici at 10:21 PM on August 20, 2007

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