Time management / task management question for you managers out there

blindfire

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I posted previously that I'm a new manager and am learning a lot.

Question for the brain trust:

How do you keep track of the various tasks you are called upon to complete by your upper management?

Use case: I'm an "escalation manager" in our tech support department. When a customer is dissatisfied, they can push a button on our website that escalates their technical case. They can also leverage their sales rep and he/she will email my VP and ask that the case be handled.

So, my VP will email me and say, "Keep an eye on this issue until its resolved."

Ok, but how do I keep track of all these very ephemeral issues? What tools do you use?

We are an O365 shop. I suppose I can use some type of reminder setup on the emails, but was curious if you all have other tools you use.

Thanks in advance.
 

knoxy

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How do you track the issues? Do you have a ticket system/issue tracker? Many of those Ive used will let you subscribe to the issues you're concerned with.

Otherwise, maintain a speadsheet.
 
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OP, your post is why I never once have regretted that I went into the manual trades after going to "management school" 30 years ago.

I hope you figure shit out to your satisfaction. Best wishes.

DrGrant, one thing I love about your posts is that I can read them, often without first seeing who posted them, and I know that the author was you. Skinflint, broads, nocentma, etc. are giveaways but when those are lacking, there are subtle DrGrantisms in all that you author.
 

blindfire

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How do you track the issues? Do you have a ticket system/issue tracker? Many of those Ive used will let you subscribe to the issues you're concerned with.

Otherwise, maintain a speadsheet.
The customer cases are tracked in SFDC (Salesforce.com)
I can CC myself on the cases and see when the customer updates or the case owner updates. I'm looking more for a reminder based setup to tell me to look if there are no updates.

Thanks for the tip
 

JRT

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I posted previously that I'm a new manager and am learning a lot.

Question for the brain trust:

How do you keep track of the various tasks you are called upon to complete by your upper management?

Use case: I'm an "escalation manager" in our tech support department. When a customer is dissatisfied, they can push a button on our website that escalates their technical case. They can also leverage their sales rep and he/she will email my VP and ask that the case be handled.

So, my VP will email me and say, "Keep an eye on this issue until its resolved."

Ok, but how do I keep track of all these very ephemeral issues? What tools do you use?

We are an O365 shop. I suppose I can use some type of reminder setup on the emails, but was curious if you all have other tools you use.

Thanks in advance.
CRM. Do you have Salesforce or Dynamic 365?
 

CoastieRon

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We use a ticketing system for EVERYTHING where I am at. For things we don't have in the ticketing system, I use a variety of tools. Excel, red books, etc. The key is finding a system that YOU are comfortable with building a routine/habit around.
 

Stryker

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two things maybe that would be helpful

I use evernote to keep notes when talking to team members, customers, etc. You can type in a keyword and find all of the notes where you have used that keyword - so a quick way to skim through history/details if someone asks

I also use 'Things' which you can find in the ap store (sorry I am Mac based) which is basically a to-do list manager that can sync between computer/phone etc that will give you reminders, show tasks for the day/week, etc.

Good luck!
 

Broccoli Iglesias

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You guys probably need a ticketing system. I am dreading the day of that bullshit coming where I work but I fear its inevitable. 80% of work these days is administratrivial crap....
Yes, this is 100% a ticketing system issue. No way you can be expected to keep track of a bunch of support issues without one.

You could create an excel spreadsheet with the start date on one column, the support case number on another and a formula to show you the start date + today in a number, followed by conditional formatting to turn it red when the number is greater than XX.

But that's a pain because you will literally have to update it manually whenever a support case is resolved. One case per day is OK, but if you start getting a lot ... get a ticketing system.
 

Broccoli Iglesias

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The customer cases are tracked in SFDC (Salesforce.com)
I can CC myself on the cases and see when the customer updates or the case owner updates. I'm looking more for a reminder based setup to tell me to look if there are no updates.

Thanks for the tip
Since its SFDC, can you pull a report with a column that shows days since open?

You should be able to. If you dont see it, ask the SFDC administrator.
 

Broccoli Iglesias

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OP, your post is why I never once have regretted that I went into the manual trades after going to "management school" 30 years ago.

I hope you figure shit out to your satisfaction. Best wishes.

DrGrant, one thing I love about your posts is that I can read them, often without first seeing who posted them, and I know that the author was you. Skinflint, broads, nocentma, etc. are giveaways but when those are lacking, there are subtle DrGrantisms in all that you author.
Lol. Management is not so bad. Its just that Support Management s**ks a** big time.

Its like you are dealing with a bunch of kids pouring gas on the floor and throwing a match. You put it out, then they do it again, you put it out, then again and so on. On top of that Product Management together with developers create weird things to make one customer happy and now you have to put that fire out. You have sh*t budget for people and there isn't one support tool out there thet doesnt blow.

Add all the sales people dumping cases on you and your entire team either being angry people, or young kids or unmotivated people or a combination of all 3
... on top of not getting paid a lot.

I know too many managers in support. Most are unhappy, the ones that are happy are the smart one that realized they can stay in that role forever doing almost no work on a daily basis.
 

chrbla2000

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We use a ticketing system, it's very good: ServiceNow. It may be very good because we have 2 full time developers constantly working on it, but nonetheless, it's very good for tracking work.
 

drgrant

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How’s about a pencil and a notebook?

Never failed me.
"Analog" methods for this kind of stuff hurt efficiency when the workload is high, things get forgotten, balls dropped, etc. A notepad isn't going to fire off a reminder at
you when Joe Smoe's task is overdue by 3 weeks, etc. I am a HUGE fan of "keeping it simple" too but in many environments you eventually don't have a choice. Particularly not when the ongoing expectation in this era is to "do more with less". It's gotten to the point where I'm probably going to alter my work hours so I can get in stupid early just to have a couple hours to clean out my inbox and do administrivial bullshit every day so I can stay ahead of it... because once you get behind, it turns into a mess....

-Mike
 

Spanz

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back in the day, back when hector was still a pup....

we would set up project milestones with start and end date.
We would assign a budgeted amount of the total project dollars to each milestone.
every week, we would show what was completed, and gain the full amount of the budgeted resources, or identify something that was part way done (say 50% done) and gain only half of the budgeted amount that one task was worth.

then we had two graphs printed....one that showed how you were doing spending the dollars....and another one showing how you were earning value for tasks done.

This way you could identify trouble areas, areas that needed extra help or manpower, and if you were going to come in under or over budget. We did it all in MS Project...but there must be a shit ton of other programs you could use.
 
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Since its SFDC, can you pull a report with a column that shows days since open?

You should be able to. If you dont see it, ask the SFDC administrator.
I agree, ask the admin. If you dont have the ability to write the report, he does. Salesforce should have all kinds of nuggets to use, whether its open date, last updated, etc. Filter by severity, put it all into a chart, and your VP will have a woody!
 

Broccoli Iglesias

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I agree, ask the admin. If you dont have the ability to write the report, he does. Salesforce should have all kinds of nuggets to use, whether its open date, last updated, etc. Filter by severity, put it all into a chart, and your VP will have a woody!
Yup. Very few people understand what SFDC can really do. I hear a lot of people complain, only to find out they were in some sales role and management severely limited what they could do.

Even Netsuite. I worked at a company where we couldnt even generate sales reports, only look at 3 horrible reports they created. So, I used to walk around saying Netsuit sucks until I met the Admin and saw what it could really do.
 

42!

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Seriously, ticketing system/CRM.
A little hard to believe they have an escalation process without an issue tracking system already.
 
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The customer cases are tracked in SFDC (Salesforce.com)
I can CC myself on the cases and see when the customer updates or the case owner updates. I'm looking more for a reminder based setup to tell me to look if there are no updates.

Thanks for the tip
Talk to your SFDC system admins. Ask them to set up what you want. That's their job, not yours (hint: that's part of learning to be leadership; knowing what's your job, and what's other peoples' jobs, what they can do faster and better than you).
 

blindfire

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Talk to your SFDC system admins. Ask them to set up what you want. That's their job, not yours (hint: that's part of learning to be leadership; knowing what's your job, and what's other peoples' jobs, what they can do faster and better than you).
heh...you think we have SFDC people? lol My company outsources that shit and we have to pay for any special mods to the system.

Thanks for the tip though. I'm coming to terms with what and when I can delegate.
 
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heh...you think we have SFDC people? lol My company outsources that shit and we have to pay for any special mods to the system.
Got it. Might still be worth giving them a call and asking if there's something already built in. Or find the local, usually unofficial, expert.
Thanks for the tip though. I'm coming to terms with what and when I can delegate.
That's a tip from personal experience. Many of us in my company get moved up to first level management because we're really good at getting stuff done ourselves, so the assumption is we know how to help other people get stuff done. It's not always true. I had to unlearn certain behaviors that got me promoted, and recast others, to become a better leader. Good luck.
 

yogi

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For major projects/issues I set up a calendar entry in Outlook (mark it "time free" so as to not block out that time). You can then add notes into the entry as needed and drag into the future to keep as a reminder. It also helps when I start to review my day/week as I can see everything I am tracking. After being in management for 15+ years, best advice I was ever given was "delegate or die". Good luck.
 

blindfire

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For major projects/issues I set up a calendar entry in Outlook (mark it "time free" so as to not block out that time). You can then add notes into the entry as needed and drag into the future to keep as a reminder. It also helps when I start to review my day/week as I can see everything I am tracking. After being in management for 15+ years, best advice I was ever given was "delegate or die". Good luck.
Good call. The Outlook task feature is not implemented very well in that you can set a recurring task, but when the reminder popup comes up, if you dismiss it like any calendar event, it turns off the reminder. You have to right click on the task in the reminder popup and select "Completed". This way, it stays an open task and the reminder is left in tact. Stupid Microsoft.
 
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Not to be a complete dick, but seriously, how does one get promoted to management if they do not have a system for tracking tasks you need to complete? I suppose that this company doesnt value that, if they dont already have an effective CRM in place.
 
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