Tasks and projects

BSCW supports project management through time planning and progress management in projects, phases and tasks. All three types of BSCW objects are specialized folders that may also contain other material, discussion forums etc.

A project is meant to stand for an undertaking with a limited time frame and a defined goal. The time frame of a project may be given by start date and completion date. Projects may be further split up in phases. Projects themselves are always contained in normal folders.

A phase is a self-contained part of a project and may be further divided into separate tasks. A phase is always part of a project and its time frame, i.e. start date and end date, is restricted by the time frame of the containing project. The time frames of the phases of a project may over­lap.

A task stands for an activity that has to be done. A task has one or more persons responsible for carrying out the task or supervising its execution. Usually tasks are part of a superior pro­cess (phase or project), but may also exist on their own. Task execution may lead to the pro­vision of results. Tasks may have an estimated duration and a deadline when the task is due.

Tasks may be split up into subtasks. The subtasks of a task may be combined to form a workflow so that one task depends on the results of other tasks. Workflows may be changed at run-time by adding more tasks, deleting others or assigning existing tasks to other users for execution. Workflows may be copied for reuse.

Projects, phases and tasks have a value assigned that describes their progress: as scheduled, critical, overdue or completed. The progress of a project is aggregated from the lower levels, i.e. subtasks, tasks, phases, to the top level, the project, and is indicated in the folder over­view.

The project management support of BSCW in projects, phases and tasks is described below using as example a distributed software development process. The stages include the defi­ni­tion of the project and its phases, the invitation of the project members and the cooperative task execution. Users are informed about work progress and running activities by notification functions of the system.


Creating and changing projects and phases

Creating and changing tasks

Task view

Starting tasks

Personal task list

Progress of a task and progress aggregation

Processing tasks

Handling exceptional task situations

Structuring tasks into workflows

Viewing tasks and projects as a timeline