The corona virus has transformed the world of work overnight. Work management is experiencing a “sea-change”. Up until now, working from home was an occasional luxury for most knowledge workers; now it’s become mandatory for nearly everyone. And this new reality is not likely to end anytime soon. Moreover, once the pandemic has passed, many employers will be slow to bring people back into the office. Many employers will even start to realize the savings and productivity gains that can be achieved from people working remotely. A “home/remote office” will become the new norm. Workers will only come together physically for key meetings of more than four people. More important than hours spent in the office, delivering tasks on time will become the key measure of performance.
This “sea-change” will demand new ways to work. Word-of-mouth coordination which was taken for granted at the office, must now be more explicit. Communication will become more asynchronous. Collaboration will need to rise to the new level. Office “politics” will diminish while teamwork will become more and more important. Communication and clear handoffs will be done remotely. Clarity of work agreements will be even more important when most people are working apart from each other. New tools will be needed to track and manage execution. The new world of work will call for a better technology for making, monitoring, and keeping work commitments.
CommitKeeper is precisely targeted to address these new realities and is particularly well suited to help manage remote workers. First, making clear agreements will be essential; no more sloppy requests; they need to be specific and time-bound. Second, tasks can no longer be “assigned”; performers need to explicitly respond with an “agreement”. Virtually all task management tools miss this key step. Without getting a clear “yes” or “no” or some “counter offer” from the performer, the requester is managing on hope. Only a clear “yes” signifies that the performer has actually taken ownership of the delivery. Third, who is delivering what when needs to be more tightly managed and made visible to all on the team. Answering the questions where do we stand and who’s got the ball on each task needs to be at your fingertips. As tasks, projects, and goals morph and evolve a memory record of who said what along the way will be essential as face-to-face meetings become less frequent.
Next, visibility into dependencies, interconnections of tasks, and supply chains will become more important. One of CommitKeeper’s key differentiating features is the ability to create and view an endless chain of dependent sub-tasks. Another key differentiator, each task can then be tagged and tracked against specific projects, customers, accounts, departments, or goals, i.e. a user can call up a list of all commitments associated with any project, account, or goal. Agreements/commitments need to be specifically closed and then archived; no more slippery deliveries. And finally, an archive of completed delivery conversations must be kept for later review, analysis, and metrics.
Even more important than uniquely providing these key features, CommitKeeper instantiates new work behaviors and practices that are designed to improve organization culture. By combining task and relationship management, CommitKeeper was, in fact, conceived to be a powerful organization development intervention. Saying what you’ll do and then doing what you say is the most powerful way to build trust.