[Best Practices] Using Backlogged Tasks to Your Advantage and Avoiding Backlog Land ☠️

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Using backlogged tasks can help you manage and organize your work, but if it's not managed well, it can become a backlog land of forgotten tasks. This article will cover how best to organize your existing backlog, helping you to manage your day-to-day work more efficiently.
 
Also, Jordan's best practice post 'No task left new' was the inspiration for this article, thank you Jordan Crisman! 💚
 
What are backlogged tasks?
 
Backlogged tasks are tasks that don't have scheduled start and end dates. Like any other task they can be stored at any level in your Wrike account: Spaces, Folders, or Projects 🗂
 
They are useful for a variety of things:
  • Keeping your ideas and notes organized
  • Creating low priority tasks that can wait and shouldn't appear on daily/weekly to do's
  • Creating internal knowledge base articles, FAQs, instructions, rules for your team members
  • Storing tasks that you don't want to schedule now, but also you don't want to forget
How to organize backlogged tasks:
 
There are few ways to quickly locate and identify the backlogged tasks in your Space(s), Folder(s), or Project(s) 🔎
 
Let's start with finding all your backlogged tasks. To do that you can either:
  • Create a Report - If you need to visit each task and edit them one by one, use the Reports feature so you have a holistic view of the tasks.
  • Create a custom Dashboard widget - Dashboards will allow you to schedule the tasks easily without needing to open them individually.
Alternatively, if you need to delete multiple tasks, you can use List View on a Space level checking the 'show tasks under folders' option. Identify the backlogged tasks that are no longer relevant and clear them using the mass edit action, then review the rest.
 
 
Tip💡 Use a Workload Chart to effectively distribute the backlogged tasks that need to be scheduled and assigned to your team members.
 
 
How to use and keep track of backlogged tasks:
 
First, decide on how to use the backlog tasks. If this is going to be a team practice agree on some ground rules with them. There are multiple features you can use to stay on top of your backlog.
 
 
Try creating a dashboard with a custom widget to share with your team. You can use filters: Status - All Active, Assignee - Current user, Task Type - Backlogged. This selection will show the current user their backlog only. If your role requires managing other team members' tasks use the filter Assignee - Unassigned. This will ensure you don't forget to assign any task.
 
 
 
Reports can provide you with a better overall view of all your backlog tasks. Run regular reports based on Active Tasks by Assignee, Overdue Tasks by Assignee, and Unassigned Tasks (people sometimes forget to assign tasks to themselves).
 
 
Extra Tip💡
Create a private folder called "Backlogged Folder" to use as a tag. The backlogged folder tag will make it easy to go back to all the tasks that you want to assign, schedule, and edit. Pin this folder to your Workspace to have it visible at all times.
 
 
 
Workload Chart is a great feature to effectively manage the workload for your team as well as the backlog. It offers a Backlog box, showing all the tasks that need to be distributed within your team. Each Workload chart has its own Backlog box that you can reconfigure at any time.
 
 
For example, if you use request forms, build a Backlog box based on a folder, project, or space containing your team’s incoming requests. When launching a new project, you can duplicate a template and use that newly created project as the source for your Backlog box, from which to allocate tasks to your team members.
 
*️⃣  Wrike offers Workload Charts as part of Wrike Resource and Wrike for Professional Services.
 
How to avoid unnecessary backlogged tasks:
 
Once you have everything sorted out, create personal and team-wide practices and follow them.
 
The rule of thumb, review your backlog regularly. Remove the tasks that are not needed, add anything that's missing, check anything that needs prioritization, and schedule. I'd suggest adding a custom widget to your Dashboard to keep it visible at all times.
 
Use the default Workflows in Wrike or create custom Workflows to give better visibility for the stage of the task. Agree with your team on how to use these statuses. Rules like 'If a task has been created it cannot sit in the "New" status for more than 1 day', will help to keep you on the same page.
 
 
You can also use Wrike's Automation Engine to notify the Assignee(s) of the task by creating a rule if the status doesn't change for x days @mention the assignee(s).
 
 
And the golden rule: Make sure everything is in Wrike. If it's not in Wrike it doesn't exist!
 
Let us know how you use backlog tasks effectively in the comments 🙋🏻‍♀️

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Love the idea of using Automation to add a comment - I didn't even know that existed - going to have to test that out for sure!  Great reference for maximizing benefits of using Backlogged tasks and keep them organized!

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We use automation rules to alert users to a number of difference scenarios. The Automation features added over the last few months have been the best improvements so far! 

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This is a great resource to show everything regarding backlogged tasks! I enjoy having a widget in my main dashboard for all of my work showing anything that is backlogged. 

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We have large projects with many many tasks over a long period. If we set the reminder if a task isn't picked up within a time limit - I think my staff would come at me with a knife - lol. 

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I use chrome’s plug in with to do tasks and have tasks auto send to a folder for backlog items.

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The automation suggestion is a good idea. We do not always deal with backlog tasks since we have a well defined deployment, but having automation make a comment is something we will investigate.

 

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Hello @everyone, thanks for sharing your practices and feedback for the post here 😊
 
Debbie Brownlie, I totally understand that! Each team has its own way of work, and it's great to see how everyone utilizes Wrike functions and tools differently!

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Backlogged tasks are something actually have not been able to use at our company. Our projects are so fast and furious, but the time we are done with one project we have to wrap up and move on to the next! I sometimes use this functionality for ongoing internal efforts that we do not want to lose sight of. 

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Great article! I had not thought of tracking those random tasks in this way. I’ll definitely try these solutions to keep track of departmental tasks.

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Bonus tip: To prevent documentary tasks and time-tracking dummy tasks showing up in your backlog widgets, assign them to a dummy user!

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This is a great article - my faves are using automation as a reminder (ex: months from now or even quarterly) and using a dashboard widget to keep track of backlog tasks that are being used for list keeping, brainstorming, etc and dont "need" a due date. 

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Thanks, Elizabeth Kennedy Bayer, glad to hear you liked it! I personally, also keep track of my notes on a dashboard widget 👀

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I run a weekly project check-in meeting with our marketing department to review all upcoming tasks for the week. I first touch on any priority items that affect the entire time then I quickly run through a dashboard we have setup called "Who's Doing What?" That is where we address Backlogged and Overdue items.

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Thanks for sharing your work practice here Jason Martin, and welcome to the Community!

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We use a similar set up in one of our test teams and I can confirm it works very well for them. 😄

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Wonderfull article and use cases.  I'll try this for my personal tasks.  Thanks 

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Thanks for posting Sandy PastuchaGeorge Fiveash! @George, do you use all the tools (like Dashboards, Workload, Reports) or only some of them? Would love to hear more about it 👀

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I use the widget in my personal dashboard to keep track of all backlog tasks in our project queue! It helps me send reminders out to my team if they sit for too long. 

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Howdy Cansu thanks for taking an interest, 

It's not my team so the detail I can give is very limited but I believe they use Dashboards, Reports and Calendars and automated @mentioning when task status or custom fields remain unchanged for extended periods.

However, they do not use Workload view because their operation was established before that view was implemented (I believe).

 

My team eliminates this through harsh controls over who can raise job requests, where they are stored and who can move them etc. We also have regular review meetings which are terribly inefficient with regards to engineer time but the operational complexities of our facility make them sufficiently productive and attempting to accommodate all complexities in an automated or dashboard driven solution would be a mammoth task.

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Thank you, Hunter Blouch and George Fiveash for taking the time for sharing your detailed practice. I hope other Community members can find it useful too 😊

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I can't believe I didn't know about the option to add comments by an automation bot, love that! Will definitely be digging deeper into some of these ideas with my team. Thanks!

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These are all great tips and tricks! Our company does not utilize backlogged tasks. Every task has a due date and an assignee. If we want to house information for clients, internal, or meeting notes, we list that information on the parent page of a folder or project so that the tasks don't get marked complete and then no one seems to know where they went. It works for us!

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Thanks for taking the time to share your practice with us Caitlin Beaty 🙌🏼

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Make sure everything is in Wrike. If it's not in Wrike it doesn't exist!

We live by this rule.  Thanks for sharing.  At this time every task has a due date and an assignee.  Great info though.  

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Thank you for taking the time to read, and it's a great rule to manage your work in our opinion 😎

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Backlog is never fun. Right now, as a new user to Wrike, I am working from my Inbox. But I need to learn how to view tasks by deadline so I won't miss a deadline!

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Dashboards are a great place to start, you can have a holistic view of all tasks you need to follow or responsible for Heather Hernandez 😊

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