December 1, 2007

What It Is:
     Task Savvy™ is a software package that makes it easy to organize and estimate projects, and then track project status and time applied to scheduled and unexpected tasks. Task Savvy publishes project reports and statements as HTML pages (or simple text files) so that colleagues, associates, management, clients, or customers can conveniently monitor each project's status. The level of detail in reports and statements can be adjusted to suit the nature of the project and the target audience.

     Task Savvy can accomodate a variety of work environments, management styles, and different types of projects because it does not try to enforce any particular management methodology. It provides an easy way to define what needs to be done by whom, and maintain a record of the work actually performed. The whole point to Task Savvy is to minimize the effort required to create and maintain project plans, to record time that was applied with notes on the specific work that was performed, and to publish professional reports and statements.

What It Does:
Project Planning Task Savvy makes it easy to describe a Project as a set of Tasks, to define the work involved for each task, to assign responsibility and estimate the time required, and to note assumptions and prerequisits behind the estimates.
Status Tracking Task Savvy can keep a running Log of time applied to scheduled and unexpected tasks, with notes on the specific work that was performed, problems that were encountered, and their resolutions.
Project Reports
and Statements
Project Reports focus on the tasks that comprise a project, providing a list of the tasks, detailed informaton on each task, or both. They may be used for publishing project plans and status reports. Statements list the log entries within a range of dates, either chronologically, or sorted by task. Statements are useful for invoicing, or for reviewing the details of previous projects. The level of detail in reports and statements can be adjusted to suit the nature of the project and the target audience.
Time Sheet In a service-oriented business with a time-based billing structure, Task Savvy Log Entries provide a convenient way to record how much time was applied per day, per person, on which task(s). The Log Entries can then be published in a Statement of Service report to accompany your normal invoice.
Action Items and To-Do Lists Manage action items and publish to-do lists for yourself and team members.
Problem Tracking System Task Savvy is an effective problem-tracking system for QA and customer support groups. When a problem is reported, the failure description and other relevant information is entered as a Task. As the problem is being investigated, Log Entries are used to document the cause of the problem and eventually the resolution. Project reports may be used to publish a list of resolved and outstanding errata.
Release Notes
Task Savvy is an excellent way to publish release notes for software and other products that evolve over time. Each new feature or enhancement may be entered as a task, with the version number where it was introduced as the task's status. Project reports may then be used to publish the release notes.
Folloowing are the steps to install Task Savvy. Please don't hesitate to ask for help if you have trouble installing or using Task Savvy.
  1. Using "My Computer" or "Windows Explorer", create a new (temporary) folder.
  2. Download v1.0 into the new folder (or the folder that you normally use for saving downloaded files).
  3. Unzip the downloaded file into the new folder using PKZip for Windows or WinZip.
  4. Run setup.exe from the new folder to complete the installation by double clicking on it in "My Computer" or "Windows Explorer". A shortcut for running Task Savvy will be placed on your desktop.
  5. You may now delete the temporary folder and the setup files that it contains.
License and Pricing:
     Task Savvy is a shareware product, it is not free. Feel free to try it out—if you like it and decide to continue using it, then you are obliged to pay for it. In addition to a smug, righteous feeling, paying for the software entitles you to updates and customer support by email. I will also give due consideration to enhancement requests and new feature ideas. If you continue to use Task Savvy without paying for it, then you are without honor. If you decide that Task Savvy is not right for you, I would appreciate hearing why.
License Options:
Single User License $50 Entitles an individual user to use Task Savvy on several computers. May be ugraded to a Group or Network License by paying the difference in price.
Group License $35 per user Entitles the specified set of at least three individuals to use Task Savvy. Note that the total price is based on the number of individual users, not the number of concurrent users. Additional users may be added later, for an additional $35 each.
Network License $250 Entitles anyone on a specific local area network to use Task Savvy. Authorized users may also use Task Savvy on their own non-networked computers.

Contact for payment information.
The History:
     Task Savvy was conceived because, as the Vice-President of Engineering at a small engineering company, I needed a better way to coordinate the department. Long ago I concluded that periodic, individual or group status meetings are an inefficient way to monitor the status of concurrent projects. Besides, I prefer to have a documentation trail that I can factor into the next project's schedule. Insisting on status reports from the team didn't work well either, because it was hard to organize the data, especially since people are usually multiplexing numerous activities, which would usually be jumbled into singular status messages.

     With Task Savvy, it only takes a few moments at the end of the day for each person to jot down what they did on each task, and for how long, in log entries. Likewise, I can easily check on the instantaneous status of any effort that is captured within a Task Savvy file. I publish project status reports via an intranet web site, and send the same reports (or less detailed versions) to partners via eMail.

     We used Task Savvy (and its anscenstors) at Embedded Performance starting in 2000, and it was definiately been worth while. I would buy this software, if I wasn't selling it.