Benjamin Brandall – Process Street

All posts by Benjamin Brandall


5 Methods to Set up Recurring Tasks (and Stop Your Team Missing Deadlines)

What is a recurring task?

Forgetting about your company’s recurring tasks is dangerous, and can put your business in an awkward position if it happens too often. That’s because recurring tasks make up the most important core set of activities.

They’re the duties in your team that you know you’re going to have to do regularly:

  • Proof a weekly newsletter
  • Turn in taxes
  • Schedule performance reviews

Traditionally, this would be managed with a calendar, Outlook, or the shaky memory of whoever’s turn it is to remind the group.

Managing recurring tasks in those kinds of ways isn’t ideal and it has got the job done for businesses of the past, but there are smarter ways that help you conserve brain energy, organize your team’s work effectively and make sure you’re on top of deadlines.

After all, your team all trying to remember what they’ve got to do on Monday morning is enough to get them crawling back to bed with a headache.

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What is a Workflow? A Simple Guide to Getting Started

what is a workflow

If you look at the Wikipedia definition of a workflow, you’re probably going to get confused as I did:

“A workflow consists of an orchestrated and repeatable pattern of business activity enabled by the systematic organization of resources into processes that transform materials, provide services, or process information It can be depicted as a sequence of operations, declared as work of a person or group, an organization of staff, or one or more simple or complex mechanisms.”

Let’s put this simply…

Workflows are the way people get work done, and can be illustrated as series of steps that need to be completed sequentially in a diagram or checklist.

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29 Small Business Podcast Interviews with the Experts

After 29 episodes, season one of Business Systems Explored is over. In this episode, we’re looking back over our favorite episodes, and forward to what season two might hold.

From video marketing to building a sales and customer success system, we’ve learned loads about all aspects of business, and improved our interviewing skills! We even have some feedback for you from implementing the systems ourselves.

With guests like Jon Nastor, Michael E. Gerber, Walter Chen and Amy Schmittauer, we’re privileged to have had such such high profile guests in the first season!

If you don’t know where to start with the most valuable wisdom from Business Systems Explored, give this a quick listen (it’s only 12 minutes long), and get recommendations from myself and Tony.

Links to listen to the season one summary:

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Why You Need To Create A Process For Everything You Do More Than Twice

Ever had to listen to yourself repeating the same instructions to coworkers?

Are you struggling to remember how to complete a task you last tackled a month ago?

Remember feeling frustrated by the time and effort wasted?

It doesn’t have to be this way.

Picture this:

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8 Ways to Use Task Assignments in Process Street

task-assignment-header

Running a business is complex, especially when it’s unclear who is responsible for what.

To move your business from an informal organization to a well oiled machine, you need processes. There’s no getting around them.

We built Process Street to solve that problem, and have just launched a new feature that lets you assign tasks to specific members of your organization…

This makes processes way more useful because you can add accountability to your business systems.

In this post, I’m going to go through some use cases you might want to try based on real processes we’ve put together at Process Street.

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How to Improve Your Software Development Culture and Product Quality

software-development-culture

Aside from the raw product you’re selling, company culture is everything.

It’s made up of your work environment, ethics, mission, expectations, and goals. You can have a great product, but without a solid culture to back it up, its development can fall apart.

Buffer, for example, has a notable culture of transparency. All employee salaries are published for co-workers and the public to see. They emphasize working out loud and being receptive to one another.

On the other hand, Amazon is noted for its toxic culture that exhausts employees and holds “unreasonably high” expectations.

Which side of the spectrum are you on?

In software companies, it’s important to promote a culture of communication and transparency. What would an issue tracking system look like for a company with poor culture? Pretty desolate.

In this article, I’m going to give examples of how different software companies bolster their QA efforts with a strong culture, and why that’s so important.

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Software Testing Methods: How Google and Facebook Crush Quality Assurance

google-and-facebook-testing

There’s a big difference between successful software companies and those shoddy unverified apps you get off the app store:

Quality assurance.

While small-time apps aren’t heavily used, and the creator won’t receive many complaints or bad press if anything breaks, Google and Facebook are used by billions of people worldwide.

If a bug affects 0.01% of the user base in a small app, it’s not worth the energy. If it affects 0.01% for Google and Facebook, that’s thousands of complaints, and possible media scandal to deal with. And we all know what the price of that can be.

So, when it comes to studying quality assurance there’s no better examples than two of the biggest Internet companies in the world.

I’ve deliberately not chosen to give Microsoft the time of day in this post, because I’d say their QA is pretty damn weak for their size.

…However, read on to pick up tips from Facebook and Google on how to make software that doesn’t break down, cost you more money, and cause frustration for your customers.

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The Complete Introduction to Task Management is Here

task-management-guide-launch

Last year, I was absolutely terrible with productivity.

My task manager — if I bothered looking at it — had about 50 incomplete items every day, and it was really dragging me down.

When you read articles about productivity, you can easily be fooled into thinking you need to be a hyper-efficient machine.

Task Management

Here’s something that’ll calm you down:

You’re a human, and you’re not always going to have your best days, weeks, or months.

There will be times when you don’t feel like you can get anything big done, and end up wasting a bit of time.

That’s nothing to worry about. Especially when you’ve got a solid system in place to manage your tasks already.

And that’s exactly what this book’s for: getting a system in place.

It’s a collection of everything I’ve learned in my journey from being a total mess to someone who has a firm grip on their tasks.

 

It includes:

  • Proven task management methods
  • Recommended productivity apps
  • How to figure out the most important task you need to do right now
  • Building and maintaining useful and actionable to-do lists

So if you’re serious about not getting buried under a mountain of tasks you imagine you’ll ‘do later’, get this free ebook:

What’s in the ebook?

Still not convinced?

Look at it this way…

There are two types of people in the world: those who have exceptionally high output, and those who are always behind.

The major difference isn’t some kind of natural ability to get stuff done, and everyone has the same amount of hours in their day.

What separates the people who can relax at the end of the day from those who need to work overtime to even meet their deadlines?

Task management.

That’s all.

Knowing what you have to do, and when you should do it is 80% of the battle.

It’s a state of mind (and a physical list of tasks) — something you need to learn if you’re going:

  • Reduce stress in your life
  • Get more done
  • Stop missing deadlines.

Get the ebook here

How to-do lists help you get more done

While there’s debate about whether Peter Drucker’s quote on not being able to manage what you can’t measure is true for business in general, it’s definitely true for productivity.

o-streamline-todo-list-facebook

If the only task list is in your head, you’re bound for failure. No human can measure and catalog tasks as well as a computer or piece of paper, and having a to-do list in your head only creates problems when it comes to freeing up space for creative thinking.

A to-do list is a deceptively simple thing, though. Technically, it is a list of tasks, but a plain old list of tasks won’t cut it as soon as you come under pressure and need to prioritize work.

What, you don’t prioritize your tasks?

I used to roll my eyes at my dad when he told me to ‘get my priorities right’. Turns out, he was right.

All tasks are not created equal, and treating them with the same importance could mean you’re accidentally putting time towards progressing with useless work, when you could be doing work that matters.

In the ebook, I explain 4 distinct methods of prioritizing your tasks — choose one that works for you. I personally like the ABCDE method, but you might prefer one of the variations.

All these different methods and apps might seem like getting into task management is hard at first, but it’s not. In reality, you’ve only got to choose an app (or notebook), and pick and choose your methods for capturing, structuring and prioritizing work.

…And guess what! At Process Street, we couldn’t resist making a process for you, too!

Have your most productive week with this system

The last chapter of the book is perfect for anyone looking for a full and watertight task management system they can either customize (because systems aren’t always perfect) or use as is.

In it, I run through a weekly review you can to do to tie up any loose ends, re-prioritize your work, and make sure you hit the ground running on Monday morning.

Because there’s nothing more demotivating than dreading whatever unknown work might come your way at the start of a fresh week…

weekly-review-checklist

Download the ebook for free

The road to better task management starts here. Free yourself from putting out fires, being unprepared, and unintentionally working on the wrong things at the wrong time.

Download your free ebook now:

Software Quality Assurance vs. Quality Control: What’s the Difference?

quality-assurance-vs-quality-control

Thinking the terms ‘quality control’ and ‘quality assurance’ can be used interchangeably is a common mistake.

Whoever coined those terms did nothing to clarify their differences, but in fact:

  • Quality control (QC) makes sure that your product isn’t riddled with bugs.
  • Quality assurance (QA) makes sure engineers are following processes to reduce future bugs, and write code more efficiently.

Quality control is something development teams do every day. They squash bugs in the code they wrote, and run tests to catch future errors.

Quality assurance is the overall management of development processes that make sure less testing and QC needs to be done.

At Process Street, we’ve already looked at the wider implications of QC and how to run tests on your software. We’ve even provided you with a bunch of pre-made software development processes you can adjust to your own team.

In this article, I’ll go into an explanation of quality assurance in software teams, and how you can use this information for your own developers.

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4 Types of Software Testing and When You Should Use Them

software-testing-types

The way customers see it, your software release cycle looks like this:

  • Take ages developing the software
  • Beta test
  • Add a few features, fix a few bugs
  • Done!

This isn’t real life. Beta testing is only one type of test your software needs to pass to avoid being a catastrophic failure.

If your software is struggling to get into a usable state, it’s probably because you’re overlooking testing.

Testing is important for two main reasons:

  1. Tests will reveal flaws in your software
  2. Tests will reveal flaws in your software development process

Note: Apart from customer-facing and QA tests, tests are code.

So, keep reading to find the types of software testing you need to make mandatory in your development team, as well as an explanation of how to do it.

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