How to Set Task Priority

Here’s an email I received from one of our clients:

Hi Allison,

I wonder if you can help me.
I watched all your clips about project management and understand the importance of prioritizing tasks.


At my company, we prioritize everything. We have 3 priority levels:
High – tasks that should be completed ASAP.
Medium – Tasks that should be completed but are not urgent.
Low – tasks that can wait until we completed the High and Medium tasks.

This works fine for us. But here’s when things become confusing.
Let’s say for example that I have 9 high priority tasks.
I remember that you said in the past that multitasking is a bad idea, and we should avoid it at any cost. So if I can only work on one task at a time, how do I know which task to pick out of the 9 high priority tasks?

Best regards,

Allan.

Allan,

That’s a very good question and I’m happy that you brought it up.
It is very common that when you prioritize tasks correctly, you might have several tasks with the same priority level and it’s hard to decide which one to work on first.

This is why we developed a new feature that will enable you to sort tasks with the same priority level by the order in which they should be completed.

We call this feature ‘Priority List’. It will be released in a few weeks.

The Priority List feature enables you to define the order in which tasks should be completed, by assigning a priority level value to each issue.

For example: Priority Value 1 means that the issue should be completed first.
Priority Value 2 means that the task should be completed second, after the issue with Priority Value 1 has been completed, and so on.

Each issue has a unique priority level value. This means that it is impossible to have two issues with the same priority level.
This solves your problem of not knowing which task to complete first.

The Priority Level value is defined by the team leader. This is a user that has permission to setup Priority Levels.
The team leader opens an issue and sets the Priority Level of this issue on the top right corner of the form.

When team members login to the account, they can see the list of issues assigned to them sorted by their priority levels on their Welcome page.
The issue with the highest priority will be displayed first.
This way, team members know exactly which issue they should work on.
An issue is removed from the Priority List when the team member who’s assigned to this issue marks it as completed.

If you don’t already have an Issue Tracking account, I suggest that you sign up right now to a free 30 days trial by clicking on the Sign Up Now button below.

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Elementool Bug and Issue Tracking

If you’re watching this clip, it means that you are looking for an easy-to-use, low-cost issue and bug tracking solution.

Well, I’ve got great news for you. You came to the right place!


There are of course several reasons why you might want to use issue and bug tracking software. Issue tracking can help you deal with a lot of common problems. Team members that spend too much time working on low priority tasks instead of high priority ones. Time being wasted by searching through the inbox for project-related emails. Deadlines being missed due to a lack of clear communication between team members.

Good Issue Tracking software can help solve these problems by smoothing the development flow. Bug tracking software can also stop bugs from falling through the cracks, and, as a result, minimize angry customer complaints about buggy software. That’s why you need an application that includes the entire process, is easy to start using, and doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.

Let me show you what Elementool can do for you.

Say you have a team of 5 people: Jennifer, Bob, Roger, Melissa, and Jack.
Bob is the team leader and together they develop a software project for a bank.

The team collects the tasks that are related to the project as issues in their Elementool Issue Tracking account, making all project-related tasks easily accessible and simple to locate.

Bob then uses Elementool to set the priority of each task and assign the issues to the team members, ensuring that the highest priority items will be dealt with first.

For example, when Jennifer logs into Elementool, she can now see the list of issues assigned to her, sorted by priority, and she can start developing them one by one. From the highest priority issues to the low priority.

When she’s completed working on a task, Jennifer changes the status to Fixed and assigns it forward to Roger for testing.

Bob, the team leader, can run a status report at any time to see the status of each task that is assigned to each developer. This gives him full control over the progress of the project.

Elementool is fully customizable, which makes using it extra easy for Bob and his team. With 15 different field types, it enables you to setup a form based on your special needs with a simple drag and drop. And you can add an unlimited number of fields to your form. Some people prefer to have only a few fields, while others prefer 30 fields. It’s all up to you.

Using our API, you can integrate your Elementool account with external applications and create automated tools that report bugs to Elementool, making it easier for you to exterminate those bothersome bugs.

Elementool Issue Tracking is very simple to use, you can set it up in less than 30 minutes. And I’ll be there for you to hold your hand and guide you through the process.

See what people are saying about Elementool.

If you are already an Elementool client, you can add the Issue Tracking for only $29.99/month with unlimited users.

If you are new to Elementool, Issue Tracking is only $89.99/month, and that is also with unlimited users.

Try Elementool for 30 days for free and find out why it is a valuable tool for you and your team. Click on the button below to sign up.

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The Power of Integration

Hey Allison I have a question for you. Can you give me one reason why I should choose Elementool?

Sure, I can sum it up in one word: Integration.


What do you mean?

I’ll explain: Elementool offers you a full set of tools that helps you to take charge of each stage of the project. It includes:
• Issue Tracking – for assigning tasks to team members and developing them according to priority.
• Scheduling – for managing the project plan and schedule, and for making sure tasks are completed on time.
• Help Desk – for running customer support and making your clients happy.
• Requirements Management – for making sure the project is developed according to what your clients want.
• Test Cases – for making sure everything is tested and no bugs are slipping through the cracks.
Now, let’s assume that you have 20 people on your team and you buy these products from other vendors.
One vendor offers Issue tracking for $20 per month per user.
Another vendor offers Help Desk for $25 per month per user.
A third vendor offers Scheduling for $19 per month per user.
And so on.
You end up with a monthly expense of about $2000 for 20 people.

Wow, that’s a lot of money.

I know! And there’s more. You need to use the different vendor APIs to integrate between the different tools. So your developers have to spend their time working on tool integration instead of working on your projects. And after a while, your tool bundle looks like this.

Oh, boy, that’s not good. So what do you offer? I remember that you mentioned something about integration earlier.

Well, Bob, that’s exactly right. Elementool offers you all the tools as one integrated system. This means that you don’t even need to use any APIs to integrate them. They come together and work together.

That sounds really great. But, wait, how much does it cost?

The entire system, which includes Issue Tracking, Scheduling, Help Desk, Requirements Management and Test Cases, only costs $149.95/month with unlimited users.

Really, unlimited users? Do you mean that I don’t pay per user and can actually have as many users as I want?

Exactly.

So how much would I pay if I had 200 users, or 2,000 users, or… 25,674 users?

$149.95/month.

That’s awesome! How can I start using Elementool?

I’d like to let you try Elementool for 30 days for free. Just click on the Free Trial button below to get started now.


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How to Improve Customer Support Using Help Desk Software

Mary, John, Fiona, and Alex work as a support team. They use email to manage communication with their customers. When Mary, the team leader, receives an email from a customer, she forwards it to one of the team members.


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Today one of their clients called asking to find out the status of an email he sent a few days ago. Mary had no way to track it in her email software, so she had to tell the client that she would check it and get back to him.

When she looked into the matter, it appeared that the email had been forwarded to Alex. But that day Alex was busy with other emails and phone calls — and also had had a fight with his girlfriend because he “forgot” to throw away the trash. So he skipped the client’s email and didn’t respond to it.

Once she found out what had happened, Mary had to go back to the client and apologize for the fact that his email had been ignored. The situation was very embarrassing for both Mary and Alex, and the client was very angry that his message had gotten lost in the shuffle.

Now let’s meet Jane, Bob, Crystal, and Mark. They work as a support team and Jane is the support team leader. They use Elementool’s Help Desk software to manage their customer service emails. When a customer sends an email to their support email address, the email is stored automatically by Elementool in their Help Desk account. The new support ticket is assigned to Jane, and she also receives an email notifying her that a new support ticket has been created.

Jane then logs in to Elementool and assigns the ticket to one of the support team members. They also receive an automated notification about the new ticket that has been assigned to them and they can start working on it right away.

Elementool allows Jane to define a reminder for each ticket. So if the case is not closed within two days, a reminder is sent to her and to the person who’s assigned to the issue.
Elementool enables Jane and each of the other team members to run reports and see how many open tickets are still in the system, a list of tickets that are assigned to each team member, and the correspondence history of each call that was submitted by the client.

It’s a very efficient and very easy-to-use system, and it can keep you from having the kind of embarrassing client service disasters like Mary and Alex had in our earlier example.

If you already use Elementool, I would like to offer you the opportunity to start using Help Desk for only $29.99/month with unlimited users.

If you are new to Elementool, you can start using Help Desk for only $89.99/month also with unlimited users.

Just click on the button below now to sign up.

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The #1 Reason Why Projects Are Late

Meet Hank.

Hank is a professional scope creeper. Hank is very successful at making projects late. He causes confusion and frustration everywhere he goes.


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He’s been selected as the #1 reason why projects are delayed 5 years straight. The secret to his success is hidden in his title, “Scope Creeper”.

Hank just can’t stand seeing a team working and finishing tasks on time.
He waits for them to create their project schedule. And when they begin working on their project, that’s when he starts sabotaging it.

The reason why Hank is so good at project disruption is because he slips under the radar. He adds a small feature here, a minor change there, and before you know it, the project is out of control.

But don’t worry, there are effective ways to fight Hank and prevent scope creep.
One basic way is simply to say “No!” to change requests when the project is in development. But it’s not always possible to just say no because, sometimes, changes to the project are necessary.

In that case, you must find a way to keep Hank the Scope Creeper in check so that he can’t run amok and ruin your project. The best way to do this is to make sure that change requests go through a well-defined process that updates the project plan accordingly and keeps everything under control.

We explain how to do that in more detail in our book “The Project Management Formula – The 5 Steps to Complete Your Project on Time”, written by Elementool’s Founder & CEO Mr. Yaron Sinai.

The book is a result of years of project management experience and in-depth research. It will explain the different steps of project management and show you the five simple steps for running successful project management process from start to finish.

Get the book for free right now by simply clicking on the button below and I will send it to you by mail.

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How to Create Test Cases

Hi, I’m Allison.

In this short clip I’m going to talk about test cases. I’ll explain how test cases can save your company’s reputation and show you how you can create test cases in just a few minutes.


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So why do we need test cases in the first place?
Test cases have an important role in protecting your company’s reputation.
We’re all familiar with software products that are released to the market with critical bugs that are later being discovered by the clients. This can be very embarrassing but also can cost your company a great deal of money and even hurt people’s lives.

Let me give you two examples:
• The infamous iPhone 4 bug was estimated to cost Apple $175 million for free cases in addition to multiple class action lawsuits filed by thousands of disgruntled users.

• The 2003 Northeast power blackout was caused by a software alarm system failure. 50 million people lost power for two days; the event caused 11 deaths and cost $6 billion.

These kinds of events can be prevented by using a test cases system.

A test cases system is the backbone of the software testing process and enables you to define a list of tests to make sure every part of your software is properly tested before it is released to the client.

You don’t want to leave anything to chance. I’m sure your team is a group of highly trained professionals, but we are all human. And humans sometimes forget things.
You want to make sure that everything has been tested during software testing and nothing has been forgotten.
As a manager, people won’t remember how many bugs you have found. Even if you caught a thousand bugs during the testing process, what people will always remember is the one bug that slipped through the cracks and was found by your client.

Elementool enables you to create a closed circuit system that locks the bugs inside and prevents them from slipping through the cracks.

The process of writing test cases is as follows:

You start by creating a test list tree and defining the different features for each requirement.
Then you break down each feature into a list of tests. When you’re doing this, you want to think about all the ways that people might use each feature and then look for places where it could potentially fail.
You create a list of tests for correct behavior that the system should support, to make sure that the product does what it’s supposed to do.
Then you create a list of tests of incorrect behavior that the system should not support, to make sure the system can handle events that don’t follow its business rules.

I’ll give you an example:
Let’s say you build a credit card payment page.
You want to create a list of tests that check if the page can accept valid credit card details of the different credit card companies.
You also should create a list of tests that check if the page rejects invalid credit card details, such as credit cards that have expired, characters instead of credit card numbers, and so on.

Each test needs to have a defined list of steps for the tester to follow in order to complete them. Remember, you don’t want to leave anything to chance, and you want to make sure nothing is overlooked. The tester will mark the status of each test as Passed or Failed and then submit the test results into the system. Doing this allows the testing manager to keep track of the progress of the testing.

Make sure to give a priority to each test, running the highest priority tests first before working your way down to the lowest priority. You want to focus on first finding those high priority bugs, the ones that do major damage like crashing the software. If the schedule allows, you can then move on to the lower priority issues.

In the event that a bug is discovered during testing, the tester should submit a new issue to the issue tracking system that describes the bug. The new issue should be assigned to the project manager that needs to add it to the iteration plan and schedule, and then it will be assigned to the appropriate team members for fixing.

Elementool enables you to link bugs to tests, this way it’s easy to track the progress of the bugs that have been reported. It also prevents testers from submitting duplicate bugs, if a similar bug has already been reported for this specific test.

So that you can protect your company’s reputation by always finding bugs before your clients do, I would like to offer you the Tests Cases and Issue Tracking software right now for only $119.99/month.
Added to this, I’m going to give you two extra services for free:
• Scheduling – for making sure your project is developed according to plan.
• Requirements Management – for making sure the project is developed according to what your clients want.

So click on the button below and upgrade your account now!

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Top 3 Reasons Why Projects Fail

Hi. Let me tell you a story that happened to me the other day. I was walking down the street of New York City. It was a lovely, sunny spring day. Suddenly I heard someone cry, “Help!” I looked up and saw a distressed woman calling from the window of her office building.



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I immediately rushed over to see what’s going on. The office was in a total uproar, with people pulling at their hair in frustration, I could see that they’d been working overtime and looked tired. The woman who called for help, the project manager, looked hopeless. “This is chaos,” I said. “Project chaos!”

The project manager told me that she didn’t know what happened. She said they were working on a new project and everything seemed fine at first, but then somehow it all went wrong. “Thank goodness you called for help,” I told her. “I know exactly what caused all of this.”“Please, tell us!” she asked. “Well,” I said, “your first issue is Poor Requirements. Clearly you didn’t fully understand your client’s needs and started developing a product that is different from what the client actually wanted.”

Then I explained, “Your second problem is missing priorities. The reason your team is going crazy is because you didn’t define priorities to tasks, so low priority tasks were completed before high priority tasks. Now everybody is completely stressed out trying to get the important tasks done at the last minute. It’s a recipe for disaster. And finally,” I told them, “your project is failing because of scope creep. You keep adding new features and changing the project plan, so, without even realizing it, your project has been getting further and further out of control until it exploded into this mess you have here.”

The project manager thanked me, saying “You’ve saved us!” I told her that I was happy to help but that there was still a lot more to learn, so I gave her a book called “The Project Management Formula”. “What do I owe you?” she asked me. “Nothing!” I said, “Good project management is my reward.” And I said farewell.

So, what can I say, I like to solve problems. I’d like to help YOU solve your project management problems too, so I’m offering you one of the best tools available to help you with that: the Project Management Formula book. This book, written by Elementool’s Founder & CEO, Mr. Yaron Sinai, provides solutions to the three top reasons that projects fail and includes a 5-step program for completing projects on time.

The result of years of project management experience and in-depth research, the Project Management Formula book will explain the different steps of project management and show you the five simple steps for running successful project management process from start to finish.

Get the book for free right now by simply clicking on the button below.

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How to Create an Agile Backlog in 2 Minutes

It’s Allison here again.

In this clip I’m going to talk about Backlog.
Most likely you’ve heard this term in the past.

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I’ll explain what an Agile Backlog is, the advantages of using an Agile Backlog, and show you how you can setup your own Backlog using your Elementool account.

A Backlog is a list of the tasks or issues that the team needs to complete in a specific iteration. It shows you the progress of the development and the status of each task.

It’s a lot like a car GPS. It shows you how fast you are going, how much you’ve traveled so far, and how much you still have ahead.

Each row on the Backlog represents an Iteration.
Each column represents an Issue Status.
Usually at the beginning of the iteration, all the tasks will be under the Open status column, which means that they are not completed yet and need to be worked on.

In the middle of the iteration, tasks will change their status and location on the Backlog. Some will be in progress, some complete, and a few still open.

The ultimate goal is to reach the end of the iteration when all the tasks are in the Complete column.

To setup a Backlog in your Elementool account, you should follow these steps:

1. Define all the tasks in the Issue Tracking account and assign them as Status ‘Open’.
2. In your Scheduling tool, define a project and iterations.
I explained in detail how to setup projects and iterations in previous clips and I suggest that you check them out. You can find the links to these clips below.
3. Add the Issue Tracking tasks to the iteration by using the ‘Add Issue’ option.
4. Once all the Issues have been added to the iteration, let’s go back to the Issue Tracking’s Welcome page.
5. If you don’t see the Backlog, add it by clicking on any item’s Edit button, check off the ‘Show Backlog’ option, and click on Save.
6. Now the Backlog is displayed and the Issues are automatically added to it. You can see their status and progress on the Backlog.

I would like to offer you the Issue Tracking and Scheduling for only $119.99/month.
Added to this, I’m going to give you two extra services for free:

• Test Cases – for making sure everything is tested and no bugs are slipping through the cracks.
• Requirements Management – for making sure the project is developed according to what your clients want.
So click on the button below and upgrade your account now!


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Your Trial Account Expires Tomorrow!

Are you excited to have the tools and strategies that can help you manage projects with ease?
Then you need Elementool, which offers a simple system for running successful projects.


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You trial account will expire tomorrow so you need to act fast!

With your Elementool account, you will be able to:
• have better control over your project progress – this will reduce stress and enable you to have more free time.
• improve communication between team members – reduce frustration among your team members, improve team moral, and increase productivity.
• finish tasks faster and finish projects on time – making you more competitive and enabling you to do more for less effort and to earn more money
• and much more

Elementool can save you up to $13,160 a month for every 10 people on your team.
That’s an annual savings of $157,920!

But, believe it or not, we aren’t charging thousands of dollars for our project management system.
Your investment in Elementool starts at only $89.99 a month.

So act right now and click on the Upgrade button below before this phenomenal deal expires!


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How To prevent Bugs From Falling Through the Cracks

Hi, I’m Allison.

Today I want to talk to you about bugs and how to prevent them from falling through the cracks and getting ignored.


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I don’t like bugs. Bugs cause problems. But bugs are a part of the programming game. I hate it when you think that the product is ready for release and after it’s out clients call to report bugs. That can be pretty embarrassing.

But you know what can be even worse? When a bug is discovered by the client, and then you find out that this bug was actually known to the team before the release — but because of a weak reporting process, it fell through the cracks and was never fixed.

It’s like when you make a grocery list for a big meal. You buy everything on the list, but then when you’re in the middle of making the meal, you realize you’re missing an ingredient. You look over your list and realize you did include it – it’s just that you scribbled it on the back of the paper instead of putting it neatly on the front with everything else, so it was overlooked.

That’s annoying enough in cooking, but it’s really bad news in project management, because the stakes are much higher. For instance, I was once working on a project that we had just finished and released, only to discover afterwards that there was a significant bug. Well, when my team and I re-traced our steps to try to figure out what went wrong, we discovered that someone had found the bug and simply didn’t report it correctly. As a result, a problem that could have easily been fixed long before the software release was overlooked.

That’s why Elementool utilizes the Bug Life Cycle model, an effective method for preventing bugs from falling through the cracks.

The cycle starts with new bugs and enhancements being submitted into the Elementool account by Quality Assurance as new issues.

Next, team leaders assign priority to new issues, and those issues are assigned to developers in the Elementool account.

After that, R&D fixes issues according to priority, and the issues’ status is changed to Fixed in the Elementool account. The issues are then assigned back to the QA for testing.

Following that, R&D releases a new internal version with fixed bugs and new features.

Then QA checks fixed issues in the new release, using the Elementool report engine.

Finally, fixed issues are closed in Elementool by QAand non-fixed issues are reopened in the Elementool account, allowing the cycle to resume.

By using the Bug Life Cycle model, Elementoolis able to keep bugs in check, making sure that any reported bugs are fixed before software is released.

You can get Elementool’s Issue Tracking for only $89.99 a month with unlimited users.

I would like to offer you to add three more services to your Issue Tracking account. Any combination of three additional services from the following:
• Help Desk – for running customer support and making your clients happy.
• File Sharing – for sharing files on the online and saving time.
• Test Cases – for making sure everything is tested and no bugs are slipping through the crack
• Requirements Management – for making sure the project is developed according to what your clients want.
• Scheduling – for managing the project plan and schedule and making sure tasks are completed on time.
• Conference – for running online meetings and improving communication.

Pick three of these services for only additional $30 a month.

Yes, that’s right.

For $119.99 a month you can have any combination of 4 Elementool services.
But that’s not all, if you upgrade your account now, I’ll give you 50% off the rate of the first month.
For example: if you upgrade now to $119.99, you will pay only $59.99 this time.
You better hurry because this special discount will expire at the end of the day.

So click on the button below and upgrade your account now!


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