Because ad hoc projects occur outside of your day-to-day tasks, they can quickly and quietly erode your motivation and productivity. Because they can seem so insignificant and straightforward, you may not even feel you’ve spent considerable time on them.
However, these minute tasks mustn’t go unaccounted for.
Keep reading to learn what ad hoc work is, why it’s crucial to track these tasks, and how to do so successfully.
What Are Ad Hoc Projects?
Ad hoc projects refer to one-time projects designed to solve a particular problem or complete a task. These projects are usually developed when facing a challenging task that does not fall within the team’s usual repertoire.
Typically, the people or team involved in bringing the project to fruition disband once the project is done. Since these projects are temporary, they involve a temporary team, usually pulled in from different departments in the firm.
Because of their transient nature, ad hoc projects can vary in duration and size. In many cases, the project could be handled by a single employee who works outside of their assigned responsibilities. Other times, the project could span over several months and may need more staffing.
With increased telecommunications availability and advances, ad hoc projects are increasingly conducted remotely. Ad hoc teams collaborate online, usually through shared files and teleconferencing, requiring fewer funds as everything is done remotely.
Why Is It Important to Track Ad Hoc Projects?
As long as your unplanned work is getting done on time, what’s the point in tracking your ad hoc projects? Doesn’t it seem like a lot of effort?
The fact is that your team could stand to gain several benefits by tracking the instances and progress of your ad hoc work. Once project managers start logging everything into a comprehensive work management system, they can do the following:
- Accurately analyze and report on how each team member is spending their time.
- Manage resources more effectively.
- Track progress to see if the current headcount is justified and determine whether to expand or downsize the team.
- Prioritize ad hoc tasks when new work comes in, since managers know the progress and capacity of their team.
- Redirect time and attention away from unimportant work and put it towards critical strategic initiatives.
- When project managers know the progress of these ad hoc tasks, they’ll be able to manage their time and resources more efficiently.
Most people need to work on and improve the way they clarify, manage, and renegotiate various aspects of their total inventory for projects and actions.
Methods of Tracking Ad Hoc Work
The market is saturated with task-tracking software to help project managers monitor unpredictable and unplanned ad hoc work. However, just because you’re spoiled for options doesn’t mean that just about any platform will work for.
You need to find a task-tracking software that can integrate and enable teams and project managers to track milestones for these random ad hoc projects, as well as other items on the to-do list. This reliable work management system should be able to help you understand your team’s capacity, ensuring that everyone’s delivering at their maximum.
However, no matter what software or platform you use to do your tracking, remember to implement the following best practices to supercharge your ad hoc team’s productivity.
Don’t Accept “Under the Table” Ad Hoc Requests
Handle all your tasks at work like you handle financial transactions—nothing takes place off the books. While a “quick favor” at work may seem harmless, these drive-by ad hoc requests can take time away from your daily tasks. Ensure that all ad hoc work is documented and accounted for.
Standardize Your Request Management Processes
Work on your request management best practices to streamline your workflow. It would also be a good idea to create your own project intake process.
This can be done by following these steps:
- Create a centralized request hub
- Manage and prioritize all requests
- Create a custom request template
- Define your project requirements and clarify expectations
Create an Ad Hoc Project Block
Instead of feeling constantly interrupted by one-off ad hoc jobs throughout the day, have your employees regularly set aside time to tackle unplanned work. Have them turn all these small tasks into a planned combined task.
If your team has several members with similar and overlapping job descriptions, assign these ad hoc tasks to a different person each day. This way, you can free up some team members to work on ad hoc tasks while the others work on high-priority projects.
If you’re looking for ways to streamline your workflow, meet all your deadlines, and help with overall business agility, check out GoRetro. With this retrospective tool, you can use numerous features to make a board public or private and customize it to specific projects and teams. You can also allow team members to vote on particular ideas and track task statuses.