How work management evolved: A Timeline

 Last Updated: August 19, 2016

 August 19, 2016


how tasks got managed across time lines

I remember my first boss told me this,  when I forgot my notepad at my desk:

"How can you come to your manager without a pen and paper?"

I was embarrassed to the core. That was really a long time back. Let's call that 'Era 1' of work management:

Era 1 - Notepads

The time when we jotted down points on notepads.

noting down tasks and meeting points on a notepad

Every meeting had an MoM, circulated to all after the meeting. This MoM was created when you (or someone else) copied those notes from the original notepad onto an email.

Records kept getting piled up; not only wasting paper, but also wasting your energy in managing all those hard-copies. 

Era 2 - Laptops and Excels

Then came the time when some of us shifted towards Excels or Google sheets to do that. Another cool way of managing work.

using google sheets for task management

You could also add multiple columns to such sheets. This gave you a clearer idea of dates, executors and many other parameters which you can add in the sheet.

But this had a demerit. You had to update this excel about status of each task. You had to update whether each task was still relevant. You had to update it as soon as a single parameter in any task changed.

Era 3 - Smartphones

Them came smartphones. In those smartphones, we downloaded some really cool note-taking apps.

task list made on a mobile phone

So no more running around with diaries and pens to pen down all the pointers, instructions and to-dos. Lists began to be created on-the-go.

But still, this was limited to personal work management and wasn't exactly scalable. 

Era 4 - Tasks + Collaboration

Some of us graduated to the second level - the task management cum collaboration apps.

The to-do that we created on note-taking apps or excel are now directly assigned to the executor. Subsequently, a comment thread gets created on each task so that you don't have to update your excel (figuratively) every now and then. This automatically happens with everyone having an access to update the task, which is (analogically) same as your rows of excel.

One example of this is Asana - the great task management app we too blogged about

Era 5: Unified Communication

The era of tools which unified your communication (on one hand) v/s the fastest growing notification system Slack (on the other hand).

People now have multiple apps combined into one app or into one universally integrable notification system so that they don't have to check out different apps all the time. 

Still, one animal remained untapped - Email.

Emails could never be integrated with, or reasoned with, or controlled by any app. With the whole ecosystem of logic and workflow what emails have forced us all to learn, it still is difficult to give them a skip. So what remains a fact is:

All collaboration tools act independent of emails, which means that they can't be used for external communication. tweet this

Which means that collaboration tools are not that useful with teams like sales, marketing, alliances etc. which depend heavily on external communication and email clients. 

There was another problem. Whole of your team is to be onboarded on any collaboration tool for it to be useful. Which basically means that there is no single-user utility with them. 

Which brings us to the next era:

Era 6: The Next version of Email

We actually built COMTIFY to solve this problem. We have a vision of fundamentally clubbing different tools into one:

COMTIFY = An advanced unified communication tool + a notification system + an email client.

This basically means :

  • You would no longer be dependent on a separate tool to manage your emails.
  • You would not have to invite your team to use it (by next release). So there would be a complete single-user utility inbuilt. 
  • Bundling of tools would happen in real sense. That means that you have a truly single-page tool to look at all day; with your priorities in front of you complete with dates, schedules and status.


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