Stats Life: Introducing our Updated Reports Feature (Beta)

It’s here! Recently, we’ve been working hard on a number of important updates to the existing statistics and reports feature in MeisterTask. We’re absolutely delighted with the results: the feature is now available as a beta version. Read on to find out how this powerful upgrade can add a statistics-driven dimension to your task management experience. 

Stats Life: Introducing our Updated Reports Feature (Beta)

We know, both from our own experiences and the feedback we receive from users, how important a functioning statistics feature can be when it comes to managing projects effectively. In this article, we’ll be introducing the new, improved reports interface, looking at how to get the best out of reports and presenting some pre-made reports that you’re welcome to use as inspiration for your own. To keep things simple, we’ve split the information into the following important questions:

  • Why do we need reports?
  • What’s new in MeisterTask Reports?
  • How do I navigate the new reports interface?
  • Which metrics should I be measuring?
  • What does a good report in MeisterTask look like?

Why Reports?

MeisterTask is designed to increase productivity. One of the ways it does this is by collecting information about tasks and projects and presenting this in a way that is easy for managers and individuals to understand. Once everyone is clear on the overall picture of productivity in a project or company, it becomes much easier to take measures that ensure more gets done.

In MeisterTask, certain types of information are “multi-purpose” and can be used to generate different types of statistics. Examples include which project a task belongs to, who worked on it, when, and for how long. However, the most valuable reports rely on context: pulling data from multiple sources across various timeframes and using this to form a big picture overview of productivity in which the role of each individual task can be clearly seen. For this reason, the presentation of statistics and reports needs to be customizable for the user. Using only this core information, users should be able to quickly gain insight into various important metrics by choosing what is to be displayed and how.

The faster you can find bottlenecks and overloads in your workflow, the easier it becomes to make your processes smoother and more efficient. That’s why we’ve made sure that the new, revamped version of our statistics and reports feature is as flexible as possible. 

What’s New? 

Reports is currently in the Beta phase. We’re actively collecting feedback from our users to find out how to improve the feature. Once you’ve used reports, click Got Feedback? in the top-right corner of the screen to let us know what you think. Don’t worry if you forget something — you can leave feedback as often as you like.

If you’ve already tried the current statistics feature in MeisterTask, you certainly aren’t alone: our users generate thousands of helpful reports with this function every day. However, here at Meister, we’re all about continuous improvement, and we felt the time was ripe for an update. Here’s what’s new in MeisterTask reports: 

  • Performance. We’ve made the process of generating reports faster and smoother, which in turn makes it far easier to extract the information you need.
  • Design. We’ve also updated the look of the reports interface. This keeps your reports as clear as possible.
  • Location. The reports interface has moved — from the account area to the dashboard — to make it easier for you to access your statistics. Simply click the button below Agenda to begin.
  • Legacy. For the time being, you’ll be able to use both the old and new versions of reports. A full migration is currently in the pipeline — we’ll let you know when the details are finalized.
  • Streamlining. Calendar view and time tracking are not available in the new reports feature. However, these will remain in the existing statistics database for now. 

Please note that the new reports interface will be rolled out gradually across all MeisterTask users. Don’t worry if you can’t see the feature yet — it will appear in your dashboard automatically in due course.

The New Reports Interface 

To start using the updated reports feature, click Reports from the dashboard.

Once you’ve opened reports, you’ll find that the new interface has several important elements. You’ll need to familiarize yourself with these to make sure the reports you generate are relevant and useful.

  1. Predefined reports
  2. Filters bar
  3. Axis and grouping settings (legend)
  4. Stacked graph 
  5. Task overview

1. Predefined Reports

In the predefined reports dropdown, we’ve created a couple of standard reports for you that can be called up quickly and save you the trouble of setting your own filters. These are: 

  • All open tasks (shows all open tasks for the selected project(s)). 
  • Recently created tasks (shows tasks created for the selected project(s) in the current month).
  • All completed tasks (shows all completed tasks for the selected project(s)). 
  • Recently completed tasks (shows tasks for the selected project(s) that were completed in the current month).
  • All due tasks (shows all open tasks with a due date for the selected project(s))

These are very general reports, but they can provide a good overview of the current status for a wide range of projects. However, they can be enhanced by adding further filters from the filters bar.

2. Filters Bar

The filters bar shows you which filters are selected and allows you to add more filters, change your selection, or remove filters entirely. Filters are split into four different categories: 

  • Project. You can choose to view statistics relating to one or multiple projects you are part of.
  • Date Range. Here you can select the timeframe you are interested in seeing statistics for. Select from the current day, week, month, or all time; alternatively, set a custom date range from the calendar. You will also need to define what action occurred in the specified date range, i.e., when the tasks were created, completed, or due.
  • Status. You can filter tasks according to their current status: open, completed, or trashed.
  • Assignee. You can filter tasks assigned to a specific user in MeisterTask or select multiple users for a comparison. Note that this will only show assigned tasks for the project(s) you have selected, not all tasks assigned to that user.

Archived tasks will be included when you select completed tasks in your filters. They cannot be filtered separately. To achieve the best results, make sure to archive only completed tasks and to trash only those that you don’t need but haven’t been completed.

3. Axis and Grouping Settings

The filters you set define the content of the report. How that report is displayed depends on the settings selected for the axis and grouping. 

The x-axis can be set as any date range category included in the project filters. For example if you select “created”, tasks created on a specific date will be placed at the relevant point on the x-axis. 

Grouping defines how the stacked bars are shown. While the bar itself will always show the total number of tasks in the designated time period, grouping defines how these are stacked. Grouping by project will, for example, split the bar into different colors that depict how many tasks from a selected project are part of the overall total. Grouping by assignee will display how many tasks from the total are assigned to each team member. 

4. Stacked Graph

Once you have set your filters, axis and grouping settings, your stacked bar graph will be generated automatically. The scale of the x and y axes will adjust automatically depending on the timescale selected in the filters and how many tasks are in each bar. 

The legend below the graph indicates which categories are represented by the colors in each bar. These are also assigned automatically. In the case that you have selected a lot of projects or grouped by assignee in a large team, some colors may be used twice. To clarify, you can hover over the bar to see a detailed breakdown of the data it depicts (see above).

5. Task Overview

The table below the stacked graph contains a comprehensive list of every task that is included in the current selection. It includes details about each task, such as which project it belongs to, when it was created, who it is assigned to, and its current status. You can expand the list even further with new columns — simply click on the ellipsis (…) in the top right of the list to see the full selection of filters.

Clicking on the task will open the task dialog without exiting the reports interface. You’ll be able to get back to where you left off simply by clicking away from the task again.

How Can I Use Reports? 

When planning the upgrade to the reports feature, flexibility for our users was a top priority. The example reports we have created for you below are intended to serve as inspiration: you can use them in their entirety, adapt them to your own team, or ignore them completely.

Whatever metric you wish to show, the output you gain from your reports will only ever be as good as the data within them. This may mean that some changes are necessary in the way you and your team organize your tasks in MeisterTask. To get the best results from the new reports feature, here are some important things to remember:

  • Set due dates. Where possible, remember to set due dates on your tasks. This will allow you to recognize bottlenecks in your workflow more efficiently. 
  • Set assignees. To better highlight task distribution in your reports, assign it as soon as possible unless your task genuinely has no one to complete it.
  • Complete tasks when they are finished. Once you have completed a task, set it to “completed” and archive it to remove it from your project board. Avoid trashing tasks that have been completed (these will appear as “trashed” rather than “completed”).

Use Case 1: Project Performance

What is this report for?

This is a very simple project report but also a very telling one. The report analyzes tasks created against tasks completed in a single project over a three-month period. This report would allow the project’s manager to see whether the tasks that were being created were actually being completed and to what extent the project team was occupied or overloaded with work. 

Selected Metrics

Status Open, Completed 
Date Range Created in the last 3 months
X-Axis Created
Group by Status

Results

  • Low task completion rate. Of all the tasks that were created in the period between July and September, only just over a quarter of them have actually been completed (13 completed tasks from 49 created). 
  • Growing backlog. While the number of tasks created per month is reasonably constant, the workload is beginning to get out of hand because of the task backlog. 
  • Long waiting time. Note that “completed” for a month isn’t how many tasks were completed in that month, rather how many tasks that were created in that month have already been completed. This means that if you create a task in this project, the most likely scenario is that it will take over a month to complete. 

Use Case 2: All-time tasks completed

What is this report for?

This report shows the long term progression of a marketing team across their various projects. While it is not a particularly relevant measure on a day-to-day level, it provides insight into long-term strategy. While the report only gives the raw figure of tasks completed (it does not take into account how complex those tasks were), used with other information it could yield more meaningful results. For example, if the team is looking to grow in size, how many extra tasks completed would an additional team member imply? 

Selected Metrics

Status Completed
Date Range All
X-Axis Completed
Group by Project

Results

  • Increasing annual output. The report shows that the team is completing more tasks year-over-year (the figure for 2020 only takes January-September into account). 
  • Increased diversity of output. The figures for 2020 show that the team is now responsible for completing tasks in a wider range of projects.
  • Project split. Despite the aforementioned, most of the work still occurs in a single project. As it may not be efficient to process over a thousand tasks a year in just one project, it may be worth considering splitting workload into smaller, more manageable boards. 

Use Case 3: Monthly Plan

What is this report for?

This report shows tasks that are due in the month ahead and who they are assigned to. The benefit of this report is that it allows you to immediately recognize bottlenecks and to spread workload where possible to allow for a more even distribution. If you wanted to use the report to show the team status collectively, you could then set grouping to “section” to display the status of the tasks in question: whether they have been started, are already in review and so forth.

Selected Metrics

Status Open
Date Range This Month
X-Axis Due
Group by Assignee

Results

  • Uneven distribution. More tasks are due in the middle of the month than at the start or the end. Some team members are much more active than others at certain times.
  • Lack of long-term planning. The fact that few tasks are due at the end of the month indicates that tasks are generally set with short deadlines. In this case, you may want to consider talking to your team so that workload is spread more equally across the month. 

Stats all for now

Over time, you’ll figure out which reports best reflect the key metrics for you and your team. As the reports feature stores data on every task you’ve ever created in MeisterTask without an expiration date, you’ll be able to compare levels of productivity in your team with more accuracy and authority as time goes by. 

We’re also looking at expanding the feature with even more filter types over time. One to look out for is the possibility to filter by tag. Many teams — especially those who have implemented MeisterTask alongside a ticket system — use these labels to indicate priority and task type. The ability to filter by tag means managers would be able to measure performance for high-priority tasks separately from less important ones, providing important depth and context to the results. 

We’ll keep you up to date with the latest developments of the reports feature. Until then, enjoy using the feature, and of course, let us know what you think of it in the comments section or on Twitter @MeisterTask.

Boost Your Team's Productivity

with MeisterTask Reports

Sign up now!