Casual.PM Blog

5 Principles Of Creating A Task That Will Bring You A Desirable Outcome

The majority of Casual users are non-project managers. So in addition to a project management tool we also want to share interesting practical tips and tricks.
In this article we’d like to talk about smart and efficient task assignment. It doesn’t seem like a complicated thing to do but the importance of it both for managers and project teams is hard to be underestimated.

It’s Monday morning, you are peacefully enjoying your mint tea while checking your e-mail. Suddenly your manager appears behind your eyes gabbling something extremely important and vanishes leaving you with an echo of ‘I need it done today by 2 pm. Thanks!’ And here you are mumbling: ‘Wait, what?…’

Do you recall events like this? Then you have an idea of how your colleagues feel when they get a vague and nonspecific task description. Confusion, perplexity and sometimes irritation.

A project manager should always keep in mind a simple rule: communication is the key. Learn this 5-step guide to ensure that you’ll get an expected outcome and will maintain warm relationships with your team members:

1) Write a task as if you’re an author of ‘… for Dummies’ book

Never assume that an executor will guess what you want. It’s under your responsibility to give all necessary details. Write as if you were explaining something to a kid.

2) Give a context

Treat a person you assign a task to as a smart creative human being who has a desire to learn and grow. A context will help an executor to put more though into a task, plus learn about how business works hence develop an ability to come up with his own solutions.

3) Provide examples.

‘Make it beautiful’ doesn’t work The expected outcome you’ve created in your head doesn’t necessarily match the one an executor sees when reading your task description. So provide examples. Or if you’re yourself not sure about how it should look like, at least give a direction.

4) Double check all the details in a face-to-face conversation

If the task description looks perfect and clear to you, it doesn’t necessarily apply to a person you assign it to. Make an extra effort and talk to an executor personally to confirm details. You’ll be surprised how much time it’ll save you in a long run.

5) Provide numbers

You might need your task to be executed according to particular standards. So provide numeric information: length, size, time, etc. Never assume an executor will guess - provide precise information.

Now let’s see how it works using an example.


You need a video bumper to be animated for a new mobile app about healthy lifestyle ‘FreshLife’. Your task will be assigned to Matt, an animator.


Hey Matt!

Please create a video bumper for our upcoming ‘FreshLife’ launch. We trust your taste so just come up with something beautiful and fresh.



Hey Matt!

We’re launching new mobile app about healthy lifestyle ‘FreshLife’. Please create an animated video bumper which will be used for all marketing videos.

Background: the audience we are targeting is young men and women, 25 - 35 years old, who want to start living a healthy lifestyle. This app helps to come up with a personal lifestyle plan, keep track of it and hence develop healthy habits.

Concept: the main idea is to show that this app is for health, e.g. you can use visual effects like heart beat or breath. Keep it simple and clean. Use white background. Use this logo: [link]. Please refer to these bumpers as an example: [links].

Audio: happy, positive, upbeat, piano or acoustic guitar.

Bumper characteristics: 8-10 seconds length, FLV, dimensions - compatible with Youtube.

Deadline: 20.07.2014

Please come up with 2-3 ideas. You can start working on animation after we’ll confirm one of them.

Thank you!

That’s it! You’re one step closer to make your project successful. Keep in mind that communication is the key and every meticulously created task is a long-term investment in the success of your team and company.


About the author: Alla Berdnikova is a traveler and blogger who has been working as a project manager in non-governmental organisations and online startups for more than 4 years.