In managing my company, I have to rely more and more on template processes, checklists and so. We need to structure our work better, and I make up these “process templates” that build on what we learn from projects. After the third online engagement website you build, you learn what you should always check. Here’s the importance of checklists.

I recently read Big Data, the book by Culkier. Good way to make you “think data”. Here are my “data thoughts” on task management.

I think companies such as Asana (which I love) will be the future of business consultancy. They will substitute the big consultancies leveraging big data, just like Coursera will displace traditional course providers by leveraging information on how people use training and using this information to design more effective training. Business consultancy could become a data product, delivered “as a service” for much lower costs. Asana will outcompete Accenture, Deloitte etc. because it will not have to collect data on the processes, it will have them already. Ok, let me put it in a better context: Accenture will most likely remain for large companies, but Asana will be able to open up business consultancy to small companies.

If I were the lead of Asana, here’s what I’d develop.

  1. BUILD PROCESS TEMPLATES: The most basic level is allowing you to create “templates” of processes composed by different tasks, that you can reuse on different projects.
  2. SUGGEST PROCESS TEMPLATES FROM YOUR DATA. A service that analyses tasks created by individual/groups/organizations. It detects patterns in tasks design: what tasks are created consistently within an organisation. Who are they assigned to. From this, it proposes to the client possible templates/checklist of projects: we noticed that when you build a website, you tend to structure the work as follows: prototype, meeting with client, revision etc. So, here’s a template process for you, a checklist that people in your organisation should follow. Of course, anyone can build template and checklists: there are dedicated websites just for this. But using big data, you are not creating them in an abstract way: they emerge directly from your behaviour. 
  3. SUGGEST PROCESS TEMPLATES FROM ALL DATA. Asana could build these process templates by leveraging millions of tasks for all its customers, not just from you.
  4. INTELLIGENCE: which kind of tasks get delayed more, and why. And propose changes, again based on what other companies are doing.

Probably, once again, this kind of intelligence is not new: it is already standard practice for large companies, which have internal “Asanas” and more sophisticated ERP systems.. The web is just opening this up by lowering the barriers to entry. Yet I expect that a change in quantity will lead to a change in quality.