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Task analysis and how it can help build a project team 8 min read
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Building an effective project team is vital to successful outcomes. As a project manager, you know there’s nothing more important than working with skilled, productive, and collaborative team members to meet or exceed project goals. However, doing this can be significantly more challenging than it sounds.

Thankfully, task analysis provides insight into a potential team member’s work processes before a project begins. This allows you to see what individual users bring to the tasks and helps you build the most efficient team possible. Today we’ll discuss how to use task analysis to build your project team. We’ll also discuss how can simplify task analysis and your project’s overall processes to encourage maximum productivity.

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What is task analysis?

Task analysis is a behavior analysis that allows project managers to see how individual team members accomplish their tasks. During your task analysis, your primary goal will be to learn key things like:

  • How a person accomplishes their goals
  • The specific steps a person takes to perform the task
  • The type of problem-solving a person uses to complete complex tasks
  • What experience and skill set an individual brings to your team
  • How a person complete their tasks in different environments
  • The mood and thoughts a person has about their task

To conduct a high-level task analysis, there are specific steps to take. These are crucial to fully understanding how a task analysis works on an individual and team-wide level.

How does task analysis work?

A task analysis includes the following six steps:

  1. Identify your goals: Figure out which task you want to analyze and what your purpose for analyzing it is. Determine your observation’s start and endpoint so you know when to begin your data collection and note-taking.
  2. Break the task down into smaller tasks: Once you’ve identified your goals, you’ll want to break down the main task you’ll be observing into smaller ones. You can break this down into as many smaller tasks as you’d like, but generally, six to eight will allow for the best results.
  3. Decide what type of analysis you’ll be doing: There are five common types of task analysis, so you must decide which works best in achieving your goals.
  4. Begin your task analysis: Make sure you take lots of notes during your study so you can review them later. While taking notes, consider how challenging each smaller task was for the team member, their process in completing it, and how they performed both physically and cognitively. Also, note how long each smaller task takes and the total time to achieve the primary goal from start to finish.
  5. Review your notes: After the in-person analysis is complete, you’ll find it helpful to look things over on your own, away from the situation. Identify any areas that may present an issue to your project team and consider ways that you could optimize the individual’s workflow. If you’ve conducted a task analysis for each project team member, compare these results to see where you could optimize workflow, increase productivity, and improve collaboration team-wide.
  6. Share your results: Once you’ve completed your individual or team-wide analysis, share your results with the whole team. After your independent analysis, getting input from the entire team improves consistency and ensures the plan moving forward is feasible for everyone involved.

Task analysis in project development and management

Task analysis can help you develop and manage projects more efficiently. Thorough task analysis can allow you to optimize workflows and make the most of your team’s skill set, experience, and expertise. To be most effective, you’ll want to perform individual task analysis on each project team member and then look at the results from a team-wide perspective.

Task analysis helps project managers create more competent teams and manage project roadblocks.

Benefits and potential drawbacks of using task analysis to build a team

There are numerous benefits to using task analysis when building a team. Notably, using task analysis can help you:

  • Simplify complex tasks: Challenging or complicated tasks are more manageable when broken down into smaller sub-tasks. Task analysis is an excellent way to help you achieve this. In return, you may find your team feels more empowered and confident in their roles instead of overwhelmed by tasks.
  • Reduce mistakes: Conducting an in-depth task analysis helps you find potential errors or roadblocks that may be caused by how your team executes their tasks. By finding these potential issues early on, you can reduce the risk of mistakes happening further into the project and even apply that to future projects to refine your processes.
  • Improve existing procedures and processes: A significant benefit of task analysis is the ability to improve current procedures and processes or even develop new ones that are more effective and productive. During your analysis, you should also be able to identify the resources and skills necessary for new or existing processes.

Of course, there are a few potential drawbacks every project manager should be aware of. A few potential issues in the task analysis process you should be mindful of include:

  • The process can be time-consuming.
  • Task analysis sometimes yields complex findings that are challenging to decipher.
  • Since your team members are only human, there could be discrepancies in how quickly or efficiently they perform a given task from one day to another.
  • When getting feedback from your team, you may encounter diverse viewpoints that make it challenging to reach a consensus on how you should perform tasks.

You may find it helpful to better understand task analysis, its benefits, and its potential drawbacks by seeing some real-life examples.

Examples of task analysis and how it can be applied

There are many applications for task analysis in building and managing project teams. Below are two examples that can help you understand how task analysis is applied in real life.

Example one

A project manager needs to build a team for a project designed to market a new product for their company. They use task analysis to observe candidates for the team. Then, they review their notes to match the right team members based on experience, skill sets, personality, and overall efficiency.

Example two

A project manager notices the project is slipping behind initial projections and is at risk of missing the final deadline. They conduct an in-depth task analysis of each team member and then cross-reference those results for the entire team. Using this information, they identify tasks that could be simplified and share their results with the team, who implements the suggested changes. As a result, productivity levels increase, and the group gradually gets back on track with initial projections to successfully meet their final deadline.

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Task analysis and

Although worthwhile, task analysis can be a lengthy process. Using the Work OS can make this process simpler and quicker by:

  • Promoting real-time collaboration: Share results with your team faster and more efficiently with the real-time collaboration capabilities of our Work OS.
  • Providing customizable dashboards: Customizable dashboards allow you to view and compare the information that means the most to you.
  • Offering different ways to view and compare your data: Our Work OS provides multiple ways to view your data, including  Kanban boards and Gantt charts.
  • Automating routine tasks: Automate everyday tasks and approvals to streamline your work processes and achieve maximum efficiency during your task analysis and projects.

By now, you have a pretty solid understanding of what task analysis is and why it’s important. But, we’ve answered a few frequently asked questions below just in case.

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Frequently asked questions

What are the five steps of task analysis?

The five steps of task analysis include:

  1. Identify your goals
  2. Break the larger task into smaller sub-tasks
  3. Decide which type of task analysis you’ll be conducting
  4. Conduct your analysis
  5. Share your results with your team members and other stakeholders

What are the five types of task analysis?

The five types of task analysis include:

  1. Performance analysis
  2. Cognitive task analysis
  3. Content analysis
  4. Learning analysis
  5. Activity analysis

What is the importance of task analysis?

Task analysis is important because it helps your project team members understand how to complete each task step to their best abilities. Additionally, it reduces mistakes, streamlines processes, and increases productivity.

Learn what task analysis can do for your team

Task analysis can help you build the best team for each project by ensuring you have the necessary experience, skill set, and personalities to promote collaboration and maintain high productivity levels. Additionally, task analysis can help simplify complex tasks and help your hand-picked team meet or exceed deadlines. Using to perform your task analysis and compare data makes the process simpler and more efficient.

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