Most companies use some mix of task management tools to organize their projects and manage todos. Some of the most well known tools around are Jira, Asana, Trello, Monday.com and Notion. These tools are excellent for breaking down complex projects into manageable tasks and driving execution across the company.
These tools however don’t work in every scenario. They have a number of shortcomings. Here are the top ones:
1. They are bloated
Over time, task management tools get bloated with multiple projects, custom fields, complex workflows and many undocumented internal rules of usage. When this happens, team members who are not in the day-to-day weeds are intimidated by the idea of diving into one of these tools, creating a task or seeking an update. There is the fear of messing something up or creating a new task in the wrong place. Sooner or later, team members (and senior management in particular) start resorting to simple Slack messages to request work as an easy work around.
2. There is always leakage
There are always simple one off tasks that just don't feel right to put into your traditional task management tool. These are however important tasks that you do not want to simply forget or lose track of. Here are some examples:
- Could you please resend that document?
- Do you have a quick opinion on this idea?
- Kindly fill up this poll by tomorrow
- Here, check out this interesting article
3. Fragmentation of tools
Many companies do not have a centralized task management system that every team uses. In these organizations, it is common to see marketing teams use Trello, Engineering teams use Jira and others use spreadsheets. This makes it impossible for someone to use any of these task management tools to effectively get things done across departments.
4. Weak feedback loops
Task management tools rely entirely on the user actively checking in and responsibly completing their assigned tasks. However, many users don’t actively check Trello boards or Asana projects. If you assign them a task on these tools, you never really know if they have actually received the task. The burden is now on the task creator to remind others to work on the stuff that has been assigned to them. This inevitably happens through a Slack message (e.g. “Hey Jim, gentle reminder to check out this Asana request i created for you.”)
5. Disconnected from time
Task management tools rarely integrate with your calendar. This is a big failing. Your most precious resource is the time you have available to get things done. If you can’t seamlessly allocate tasks from your backlog into available time slots, you simply run the risk of accumulating a backlog that grows impossibly large over time.
To address this gap in traditional task management tools, we built Clockwork. With Clockwork, you can capture and manage your tasks right within Slack. This has so many unique advantages:
Capture tasks at the very source.
In a remote first workplace, more and more work is actually generated over Slack. The next time you receive a Slack message that you need to act upon, you can instantly convert it into a Clockwork action so that you don’t forget. Likewise, you can also create actions for your teammates for things you don’t want them to miss. Here are some examples of messages that could be potential Clockwork actions:
- An HR survey in your #general channel
- A quick request from your team member over a DM
- An interesting article shared on #new channel
- A new idea proposed on an existing thread
Fast and lightweight
Clockwork is built as a lightweight low latency app that you can add to your Slack workspace. You don’t have to deal with any of the unnecessary complexity that comes with a traditional project management system. Everything lives inside of Slack - we don’t send you off to web links that make you switch back and forth between Slack and your browser.
Built in accountability mechanisms
Once you capture an action item inside Clockwork, we make sure that things don’t slip through the cracks. Clockwork sends out daily reminders for any outstanding actions. We allow you to see a compact list of all your outstanding tasks as well as those that you have created for others. And we can nudge someone on your behalf for tasks that have not been completed.
Connect your calendar and block time.
Seamlessly allocate available time on your calendar to get things done. For any of your outstanding actions, Clockwork lets you pick empty calendar slots and mark them as busy to work on the action.
Integrates with your recurring meetings
Clockwork can connect to your recurring internal meetings (e.g. 1:1s, team meetings, all hands, product reviews) and let you track meeting agendas, action items and notes associated with these meetings. Clockwork will automatically remind your meeting participants to complete their outstanding actions before the next instance of your meeting.