task management database design

A Project Management Data Model

task management database design

Database designer and developer, financial analyst.

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Project management is a booming field. In this article, we’ll examine a data model to support a project management app.

Project management is anything but an easy task. You are limited in many ways – materials, costs, human resources, and project deadlines spring to mind – but it’s still up to you to deliver a result on time.

If you think of building a pyramid, you can easily conclude it was a case of project management! It had a project sponsor (usually Pharaoh), a deadline (Pharaohs’ deadline ☺), human resources (mostly workers and slaves), material resources (stone blocks) and of course a project manager. A lot has changed since then, but the idea is still the same. We need to be as organized as possible if we expect to deliver a project result on time, up to its expected quality, and within its budget.

In this article, we’ll describe a data model that could run a project management application.

A Short Introduction to Project Management

Before we take a look at the model, we need to get some background on project management. I’ll run through some of the most popular terms and describe features that our application should include.

What is a project?

A project is a time-limited effort that, if completed successfully, will create something new and valuable.

In the introduction, we compared project management to building a pyramid. Nowadays, project management can mean building roads or cities, developing new software, defining new methodologies, etc. All of these imply that the project will deliver something completely new (or an improved version of something else).

What is project management?

Project management is the process of accomplishing a predefined goal within a set time period and budget. It requires a varied group of techniques, skills, and tools.

During the project management cycle, we’ll create and implement a plan for our project. We’ll track progress throughout. In some cases, we’ll have to make changes to cope with unplanned situations and events. If that happens, we’ll need to reallocate resources to critical activities and tasks in order to stay on schedule; in a worst-case scenario, we may have to alter our project plan.

In a perfect world, we could deliver project results on time, on budget and with the right quality. In real life, we need to balance scheduling, budgeting and quality during the entire process.

What are some project management terms I need to know?

There are a few popular project management approaches (Lean, PRINCE2, process-based, traditional, etc.) but we won’t go into these now. I’ll stick to the terms that are common in most project management methodologies. Some of these terms are:

  • Project stakeholders – All private individuals or business entities that are interested in the successful finishing of the projects. This includes the clients or sponsors of the project, but it can also include user groups, government agencies, and people who work on the project, among many others.
  • Project manager – The person in charge of planning, executing, and closing the project. Project managers should be properly educated in the field; they should also be able to use various techniques and tools to fulfill their role.
  • Activity – A single action that produces a “small” result. An activity is usually related to other activities. Some can run simultaneously and independently of each other; others must wait until some previous activity is completed. For example, ordering needed software is an activity.
  • Task – A group of related activities that produces a “larger” result. If we complete all project tasks successfully, we’ll also close our project successfully. So, after the ordered software is delivered (1 st activity of the task) we can install it (2 nd activity on the same task) and see if it works as expected (3 rd activity). Once we’ve completed all these activities, we’ve also completed this task.
  • Critical path – A sequence of related activities that have no time buffer. If any activity on that path requires more time than allotted to it, we’ll need to respond in some way. This could mean modifying our plan, reallocating resources, decreasing quality, or extending the whole project.
  • Gantt chart – A graphical representation that is often used to track project progress. The Gantt chart clearly displays all tasks, activities, planned resources and budgets, activity and task statuses, critical paths etc. The X-axis is the time axis (usually measured in weeks) and the Y-axis shows the project tasks and activities.

What should project management software look like?

Project management software should be as simple as possible. It would be best to have the entire Gantt chart on one screen. We can expect that we’ll still need to scroll to see various parts, but we’ll have everything clearly visible on a single screen.

The Data Model

The data model consists of three main subject areas:

  • Users and roles
  • Tasks and activities

I’ll explain the Users and roles and Project and partners subject areas first. Then we’ll move to the Task and activities subject area, which is the central part of this model.

Section 1: Users and Roles

Users and Roles subject area

This section contains all the tables needed to store details about app users, project teams, and team members and their roles.

Some of the employees on our project will be able to log into our application, but most will not need to. Therefore, we need two separate tables: the user_account table and the employee table.

The user_account table contains everything we need to know about the app users. We’ll store the username and password needed for login and personal details like first_name , last_name , and email . The username and email values are UNIQUE in this table. The is_project_manager flag indicates if the user has the authority to make changes on the project. The last attribute in this table is the self-explanatory registration_time .

As I’ve already mentioned, any user with login rights could participate in the project, but that is not the requirement. On the other hand, most of the employees on the project won’t have login rights. Still, we need to store their details in order to relate them with tasks and activities. A list of all employees that are part of any project is stored in the employee table. The employee_code attribute is the alternate UNIQUE key of the table. The employee_name attribute stores the first and the last name of all employees on the project. If the employee has login rights, his user_account_id attribute will have his related ID number from the user_account table.

We’ll usually assign individual employees to a certain task or activity. There are some situations when we’ll use an entire team to complete a certain activity. In these cases, it would be wise to group all members of that team. Otherwise, we risk assigning activities to each employee separately. The team_member table serves that purpose in our model. We’ll store team_id , employee_id and role_id for all employees in a given team. Notice that employees can be assigned to a team only once; therefore the team_id – employee_id pair forms the UNIQUE key of this table. On the other hand, an employee could be a member of several teams.

The remaining two tables in this section are dictionaries. The team table lists all teams we’ve defined in our organization, while the role table lists all the roles that could be assigned to employees on the project. For example, some roles in a software development company are developer, consultant, and project manager. In both tables, the name attributes can contain only UNIQUE values.

Section 2: Projects

Projects subject area

In the first section we defined the human resources needed to execute projects. In this section we’ll explain the structure needed to organize project details, partners, and clients.

The most important table in this section is the project table. It is where we’ll store all the projects we’re using our application to manage. For each project, we’ll include the following attributes:

  • project_name – is the actual project name. It is NOT UNIQUE because we could have two projects with the same project_name . We differentiate between them according to their start and end dates.
  • planned_start_date and planned_end_date – are the expected start and end dates for the project. These are inserted during the planning phase.
  • actual_start_date and actual_end_date – are the project’s actual start and end dates. They are inserted during the project execution phase.
  • project_description – is a text description of the project, with all the relevant details.

In the project_manager table, we’ll store a list of all users who can manage projects, create new tasks and activities, assign employees to tasks and activities, and modify or delete existing tasks and activities. To assign a user as the manager of a certain project, that user should have the user_account . is_project_manager attribute set to True. The project_id – user_account_id pair holds only UNIQUE values.

Project stakeholders are all entities that have an interest in the successful completion of the project. These could be investors, government agencies, NGOs or not-for-profit organizations, etc. We’ll also likely work with clients, to whom we’ll deliver the project result. We’ll store these interested parties in the client_partner table. For each client or partner on any of our projects, we’ll store a full name, address, and other text details.

The last table in this section, the on_project table, relates clients and partners with projects. The attributes in this table are:

  • project_id – is a reference to the project table.
  • client_partner_id – is a reference to the client_partner table.
  • date_start and date_end – are the dates when the client/partner started and ended their engagement on that project. The date_end attribute can be NULL because we’ll update its value when the engagement ends.
  • is_client and is_partner – are flags to denote the role of the entity from the client_partner table. Only one of these should be set at the same time.
  • description – is a detailed explanation of the client or partner’s role and engagement in the project.

Section 3: Tasks and Activities

Tasks and Activities subject area

The last section in our model is also the core of our application. We’ll define tasks and activities here, relate them together, and relate them to other parts of the model.

A project is composed of multiple tasks and each task is composed of one or more activities. The task table will store the following details for each task:

  • task_name – is the task’s onscreen name.
  • project_id – references the project that the task is part of.
  • priority – prioritizes the task with an integer value. We can expect a range of numbers (e.g. 1 to 5) to show the task’s priority within the project. This could be crucial information when you have to decide which tasks to start at what time.
  • description – is a detailed task description, if needed.
  • planned_start_date , planned_end_date and planned_budget – are initial values for the task. These are set in the planning phase.
  • actual_start_date , actual_end_date and actual_budget – are the actual values for the task’s start, end, and budget. These are set during the execution phase, as they are completed.

Project tasks generally are done in order. One or more tasks may have to be finished for a new task to start. A list of all such prerequisite tasks is stored in the preceding_task table. We’ll define the task_id and preceding_task_id attributes here. The “preceding_task_id” attribute will store the ID of whatever task is immediately before the current task. The task_id – preceding_task_id pair forms the alternate UNIQUE key of this table.

Each task is composed of one or more activities. The activity table is very similar to the task table. The attributes in this table are:

  • activity_name – is an activity’s onscreen name.
  • task_id – references the related task.
  • priority – uses a range of integers to denote the priority of that activity within its task.
  • description – is a detailed activity description, if needed.
  • planned_start_date , planned_end_date and planned_budget – are initial values set for that activity in the planning phase.
  • actual_start_date , actual_end_date and actual_budget – are the actual values, entered once the activity is completed during the project execution phase.

Like tasks, activities may be ordered in a certain way, so we’ll need another table to store prerequisite activities. In the preceding_activity table, the activity_id – preceding_activity_id pair are UNIQUE.

The last table in this section (and in the model) is the assigned table. It is simple but very important. It relates employees with activities. When we assign an employee to a certain activity, we’ll also define their role (via role_id ) for that activity. Since activities are the smallest job unit, the same employee can’t be assigned to the same role in the same activity more than once.

We could assign a whole team to a certain activity, but the result would be the separate insertion of each team member into the assigned table. We could also assign an employee or even a team to an entire task but the database will store that information as employees assigned to single activities.

How Can This Project Management Data Model Be Used?

I hope that after reading this article you have at least a general idea of how you could build a project management app. I focused on the Gantt chart because it’s one of the most popular chart types for project management. Still, it’s not the only option we could use. We could go with some other graphical or textual representation. Charts are nice and clear, but what happens if your display size is limited? In that case, a simplified graphical or even textual application could be a reasonable option.

Help Improve This Model!

Project management is a really complex area. There are some different concepts and methodologies, but the main idea is the same. In this example, I went with the Gantt chart because most of us are visual types. On smaller projects, we might use a simple text-only To-Do List. In other cases, maybe the Gantt chart isn’t the best choice.

Please share your experience about the project management tools you’ve used, what you loved about them, and what you wanted to change. These suggestions could help us to improve this model significantly.

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Workflow Management Database Design

Today we’re going to guide you through exactly how to create a workflow management database design - from scratch.

This can form the basis of all sorts of solutions - including workflow management tools, approval apps, automated solutions - and a whole raft of other internal tools.

See, most internal tasks and processes aren’t that complicated.

In fact, most management or administrative tasks can be expressed as chains of requests and decisions. Someone requests something - like permission to take an action or access a resource - and someone approves or declines this request - based on defined logic.

Our goal today is to demonstrate how we can use a database to represent these processes computationally. This can then form the basis of all kinds of user-focused tools and automation solutions for improving our workflows.

Let’s dive in.

What is a workflow management database?

A workflow management database is where we store information that represents the status of a process at any point in time - along with how it has progressed up that point and how it can move onwards.

This matches what’s known in computer science as a finite-state machine .

Basically, this is a model that outlines how resources can be in one of a finite number of states at any given time. Certain actions can be performed on the resource, in order for it to transition to another state.

What does this have to do with workflow management?

A workflow is a repeatable set of decisions that determine what happens to a request. This includes the decisions themselves, when they occur, and who is responsible for making them.

The goal is to progress the request from start to finish based on established business rules.

This could be a specific task like employee onboarding, dealing with purchase orders, approval workflows, editorial flows for video tutorials, or any other business processes. Effective workflow database design is crucial for all sorts of applications.

For example, the process for submitting a bug in an internal software system could look like this:

  • Any user can record a bug, with an initial status of submitted .
  • The service desk checks if the report follows a determined template. Any that don’t are marked as declined .
  • If the request is in the right form, it’s assigned to an appropriate member of the development team and marked as pending .
  • Once the development team starts work, the status changes to in-progress .
  • When they’re finished, the status changes to resolved .
  • The original user is notified of the outcome.

As you can see, the workflow is represented by how the status of the resource changes as it passes through different actions. As we said earlier, the transitions and actions are what must happen for the resource to move from one status to the next.

How does this work?

So, before we dive into designing a workflow management database, let’s think about how this works in the abstract.

The method we’re going to use today is based on a relational data model. This means we’ll have several different tables, each one representing a single type of data entity. We’ll then link these tables using defined relationships .

What specific data do we need to represent for our workflow management database design to be viable?

The most basic model will need to include data objects to represent:

  • Requests - that can be reviewed, approved, or implemented by different actors.
  • Processes - which govern how each request should be handled.
  • Request information - variable data that can be associated with each request.
  • States - the stats that individual requests can be in.
  • Transitions and actions - the flow of states that users can progress requests through within a process, along with how this is controlled.
  • Users - the people involved in the workflow.

Of course, the nomenclature that we’re using here isn’t critical. You could just as easily use your own naming conventions for different data entities.

The goal is that we can use the same database for multiple similar workflows, as the basis for a variety of internal tools or other technical solutions. Therefore, we need to consider how we can create a data model that’s applicable to the widest number of internal processes.

Obviously, we’ll need to know what our underlying business logic is before we can codify it in a formal database to support our approval processes.

Check out our guide to workflow analysis to learn more about this.

Workflow management database design in 5 steps

Now, it’s worth noting that we can’t provide a totally generic, one-size-fits-all approach here. What we’re trying to do here is provide an illustrative guide to the process of workflow management database design - not an off-the-rail model as such.

And - one more note about our demos and examples throughout this guide. We’re using a Postgres instance hooked up to Budibase’s data section to give a clear visualization of what our database looks like in situ.

We’re also going to accompany this with formal diagrams which will evolve as we progress through creating a workflow model. By the end, we’ll have a fully fleshed-out workflow data model example.

With that in mind, here’s the flow of decisions and considerations that we can apply to designing a workflow model database - including each of the entities we’re going to need to define.

1. Processes and users

The basis of our database is going to be two very simple tables. The first will represent our users. Strictly from a database design point of view, the practicalities of this are kind of a separate issue.

What matters isn’t so much how we add users as that we can add them - and the information we store about each one. We’ll see a bit more about what Budibase brings to the table here a little bit later.

The first thing we need to know about our users is their basic personal information - like their name and email. What’s more important is their role within a process. That is, what permissions and responsibilities do they have within a given workflow?

The thing is though, the users table is a little bit of an outlier - because this might be managed externally to the rest of our workflow management database design - perhaps in individual workflow tools or within a global user management system.

For now, we’re just going to take a black box approach to users since - for our purposes today - we’re only really worried about the fact that we can store user data.

The other central data entity is going to be our processes table . This will store two pieces of data:

  • A unique ID.
  • A descriptive name.

But, Postgres won’t allow us to create a direct many-to-many relationship, so we’ll also need a Junction table to achieve this in our workflow engine. This defines the relationship between our two tables by storing their respective unique IDs as foreign keys.

So, here’s a visual representation of what our data model looks like so far - in theory:

So, we can link users to processes. We can build on this using whichever access control solution we want to control how different users’ roles allow them to take different actions within a given process. We’ll return to this at the end since it’s kind of a separate question.

But, we don’t really know anything about our processes just yet.

That leads us to our next data entity.

2. Requests

Next, we need to be able to represent information about the individual requests that will represent the individual instances of a given process.

We’ll start by creating a table called requests , which will store the basic details, like a title, request date, which process it’s a part of, and requesting user. We’ll also need an attribute to store its current state, but we’ll come to that in the next step.

So, now our approval workflow database design is more like this:

But, this only reflects the relationship between requests and users in terms of who created each request. We’ll also need a separate many-to-many relationship between these two tables, to represent all of the colleagues that can be involved in a request.

We’ll use another junction table to do this and call it requestStakeholders . Now our workflow diagram looks like this:

In reality, we might actually want to add several of these junction tables, to represent the different ways that users can be related to requests. For example, if we have process admins, owners, or people who simply need to be notified of developments.

We’re just using one junction table here, because we only want to illustrate the principles of workflow management database design.

Next, we want to add a new table for contextual data about requests.

This is where we’re going to account for the fact that requests and processes are typically going to display a large amount of internal variance .

For instance, the data we store about our fleet management workflows will probably be quite a bit different from a HR process. To reflect this fact, we’re going to create a new table called requestData .

This is a key part of any database design for approval workflows. Check out our guide to building a business rules engine .

Along with a unique ID, this will store a series of name/value pairs. That way, we’ll be able to store whatever data is relevant to each individual request and process. This gets a many-to-one relationship with our requests table:

If we wanted to, we could add some extra data entities at this point. For instance - for storing files or comments relevant to different requests and processes in our workflow management system.

But, you might just as easily store these externally, so we’ll keep things simple instead of worrying about those.

At this point, we have all of the data we need to go through the approval and decision-making processes involved in our database.

3. States and transitions

Next, we want to outline and codify how these processes will be structured.

Remember, the basis for our workflow logic is going to be how we represent the state of each request at any moment in time. We need to define what the possibilities are.

But - all of our states won’t apply to all of our requests. For example, we might have a status that indicates that we’re waiting for a piece of stock to arrive but there will be plenty of requests that this isn’t applicable to - say, an employee mentoring workflow.

So, our first task here is to create a stateTypes table.

This is going to give us a way to categorize individual states. This will be an unchanging list, with two attributes:

  • StateTypeID.

We’re using five possible stateTypes that we can categorize our individual states into.

Here’s what this table looks like in Budibase when it’s fetched from Postgres:

Next, we need a table to store our individual states . These are the granular, process-specific descriptors of the status of each request.

In the first instance, we want to record three things about each one - a unique ID, a name, and a description . We’ll also want a one-to-many relationship to our requests table, and a many-to-one relationship to our stateTypes .

Here’s our workflow management database design so far:

Next, we need some way of accounting for how resources move between states. This is where we actually define the steps involved in a process.

So, our transitions object will consist of its own primary key , along with a many-to-one relationship to the processes table.

We’ll also store attributes for the currentStateId and the nextStateId. This means that each transition entry will act as one step in the flow of states that a request goes through within a process .

Here’s what this looks like in the context of the rest of our model:

4. Database actions

Next, we want to think about the specific actions and events that will move a request from one state to the next. So, transitions are the path that requests follow between states. Actions are what move them along.

Effectively, these are the human or automated interactions that make up our workflow.

Just like with transitions, individual actions are going to be unique to each process. Once again, we’re going to start by creating a table to classify these - called actionTypes .

This time we’re going to have seven different categories that our actions can fall into. Here’s what the table would look like in Budibase:

Now, we need to create somewhere to store the actions that are permissible within each process. Our actions table will store:

  • A unique ID,
  • A description,
  • A relationship to the actionType table.
  • A relationship to the processes table.
  • A many-to-many relationship to our transitions table.

That last point means we’re going to need another junction table between actions and transitions .

Our completed workflow management database design diagram looks like this:

We’ve also created a tutorial on how to build a free inventory management app .

5. Implementing logic

The last thing we need to do in order to complete our finite-state machine is to determine how we’re going to implement the business logic that we’ve built our database schema around.

For example, when a user calls a specified action, it triggers a transition , causing the resource’s state to change.

We have a few different options here. One would be to handle everything within the database itself - for instance, using stored procedures or other internal rules within your chosen DBMS.

Or, using middleware would be an equally valid option. So, in just the same way as we’re using our database model as the basis for managing different workflows - we could have a shared process layer for storing rules on how to manage our data.

Finally, we could of course handle this separately in each individual tool we use to query our database.

Honestly though, which of these is right for specific scenarios is outside of the scope of our discussion today.

Rather, we only wanted to give this as a bit of context to how our workflow management database design could be implemented.

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Workflow management database design: other considerations

That’s the bulk of our design completed. But, there are a few other issues that we’d like to draw your attention to before we wrap up.

These aren’t elements of your database design as such - but they are things that impact how our data is accessed, used, and maintained.

User groups and RBAC

First off, we sort of glossed over the idea of roles within workflow management earlier. Let’s think a bit more deeply about how this works - and how we can implement it.

Role-based access control is based on the principle that colleagues with similar responsibilities can be clustered together to simplify how we grant permissions to access specific resources or carry out different actions.

Check out our in-depth guide on how to implement RBAC to learn more.

Stored procedures

Stored procedures are pieces of code that you can define and save within your DBMS - typically in SQL or SQL-derived databases. Essentially, we can give complex queries a name, and execute them using this - rather than writing them from scratch every time.

This offers several advantages, including making complex actions easier to execute, improving performance, helping to ensure security, and making our database easier to maintain. We can even create stored procedures that we can pass arguments to.

This is particularly helpful in the context of workflow management, where we may only want to expose different kinds of users to very tightly defined actions.

Validation rules

Validation rules are another critical element of any user-centric data application. Basically, these are used to ensure that any user-provided data complies with the constraints that apply to each individual attribute - either in terms of their form or values.

There are a few different ways that we can implement validation. For example, we can handle this at the database level. This gives us strong protection against invalid data, but it can offer a less-than-ideal user experience.

If something goes wrong, most users won’t be able to understand what the problem is from a database error. Therefore, it’s a good idea to complement this with UI or process layer validation too, to give more user-friendly feedback when data fails our validation rules.

Workflow automation

Of course, one of the key reasons for regularizing our workflow management data in the first place is facilitating automation. The more effective we are in building a consistent workflow management database, the more easily we can automate processes at scale.

In terms of implementation, there are a bunch of different approaches here. One is leveraging dedicated workflow automation tools, like Zapier. Or, we always have the option of relying on fully-customized, hard-coded solutions.

Nowadays, more and more IT teams are turning to low-code development to create custom workflow management tools, including automating functions that would otherwise require manual interactions.

Managing database interactions

Finally, we can’t speak about database design without touching on how we allow users to manage the information we store. For example, do we reserve this for database administrators working with manual queries?

Or, do we want to create more accessible tools for less technical colleagues to interact with our data - like CRUD apps, dashboards, admin panels, or other common internal tools?

To learn more, check out our ultimate guide to internal processes .

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How To Create A Task Management System Design? [Ultimate Guide]

Task management system design is a hot topic today. Many companies are thinking about how to design a task management system correctly so that it captures the attention of users and helps the teams of a large number of companies…

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Rewisoft Team Can Help You

Task management system design is a hot topic today. Many companies are thinking about how to design a task management system correctly so that it captures the attention of users and helps the teams of a large number of companies put all their work processes in order.

Our new article will help you figure out what trends in the development of task management systems exist, which features are better to include in the task management tool, how much it costs to develop such a system, and much more.

Based on our expertise, the Rewisoft team has prepared a practical guide for creating a task management system for you. 

What is Task Management System design?

task management database design

Based on our experience, we think that the task management system design in 2021 is something unique but straightforward. Task management system design should open lots of opportunities for users to deal with everyday tasks efficiently.  

Consider what the task management business looked like 10 years ago. 

Fewer methods, fewer tools, smaller opportunities for teams, and more straightforward projects are all possible. In 2021, things have changed dramatically, with teams no longer being smaller and projects no longer being simpler.

“Change is the only constant,” as the old saying goes. It seems to be true in the task management business. With new technology, tools, and the latest trends, the task management environment is constantly changing. And the pace of change does not seem to be slowing.

Let’s cut to the point and look at the rising trends in task management system design that are occurring all around the globe.

Read Also: Quick Guide to Digital Product Design and Development [Based on 150+ Cases]

What are the trends in Task Management System Design?

Lately, the Rewisoft team has completed many task management system projects. While working on such systems, we identified several design trends that you definitely need to use to create such a product. Let us quickly look at them.

Today, many businesses are trying to simplify their products. They make their product design stylish yet straightforward by highlighting the necessary elements. Also, product owners do not overload their platforms with an excessive amount of functionality.

For example, for our recent project, task management software for doctors, we created a convenient dashboard for doctors that shows all patient rooms. In fact, all the necessary information for doctors is easily accessible in one place. That is how it looks:

Artificial Intelligence

Many businesses have already begun to use AI in task management to accomplish everyday activities that need human effort through task automation. The effect is beneficial not just for automating basic activities but also for gaining performance insights.

Project managers may utilize automation to handle complicated activities such as scheduling and data visualization and then make intelligent conclusions based on the gathered insights.

More numbers and data analytics

Whether it’s task planning, quality management, or risk assessment, extensive data analysis has already shaped the task management world. The data gathered may be used to understand how to create teams, the size of the team, how to include and place team members, and the skill sets required to manage tasks and projects effectively.

Focus on remote  

According to Global Workplace Analytics , since 2009, the number of people who work from home has risen by 159%. There are many advantages to using remote task management. The first is greater schedule freedom, and the second is not having to travel to the workplace every day. Costs for the project are also lowered. Plus, you get an opportunity to work with a diverse talent pool.

Also, don’t forget about the COVID-19 pandemic that made people switch to remote work. In these unprecedented times, it is essential to consider that most users need to be able to use the task management system remotely.

Customization

That is probably the biggest task management system design trend. Customization enables users to make choices and establish preferences in a system, giving them greater control over their user experience. Customization allows customers to choose the information, layout, functionality, or design that best suits their needs.

For example, for BridgeX, an educational mentoring tool, we made the system extremely flexible. This task management tool has a broad audience, so we added different possibilities, such as tasks and goals management, evaluation of results, deadlines, places for cooperation, etc.    

Read Also: E-commerce Website Redesign in 2023: Guide for Owners

Why is Task Management System custom design so important?

Why is a custom design so essential for task management systems, you may ask. In fact, there is nothing complicated here. We all know that time does not stand still. All things move forward. Everything becomes more challenging. There are many choices on the market, and it is not difficult for users to find a tool that meets their needs.

Here are some of the main reasons for choosing the custom design for task management systems: 

  • There are hundreds of identical products on the task management systems market. To make people choose exactly your product, you should add uniqueness to it.
  • The custom design will help your tool stand out from the competition and become the best choice for many users.
  • Today people want to get unique features, user-friendly interfaces, custom functionality, and solutions to solve all their problems. Custom design can help to do this. 

Custom design help out clients:

  • be recognizable
  • be convenient for users
  • be able to improve continuously
  • be flexible for different audiences
  • be able to resolve various issues

Let’s take a closer look at what users expect to see in your task management system.

What are customers expecting from your Task Management System? Top Features

task management database design

For you to decide on a set of features for your future task management system, we have prepared a list of the main ones that most users want to see in such a product.

Collaboration board

A smart task management system should provide users with a high-performing collaboration channel. Company employees should be able to exchange necessary information related to everyday projects and tasks.

This feature should be easy to use so that users don’t get confused and can use it comfortably.

Task tracking

When a team is working on and planning a large number of tasks, it is essential to track the progress of each task. For convenience and comfort, excellent task management systems have a task tracking feature. This feature allows you to highlight each stage in which the task is, for example, in progress and completed.   

Also, for deeper tracking, companies add the ability to filter, categorize, create teams, etc., into task management tools.

Resource management

The resource management feature is one of the essential features that a task management system should have. This feature allows one to allocate a certain type of resources and then calculate the cost of their use. 

This feature also helps to resolve conflicts about the lack of resources or incorrect allocation. It helps identify where resources are being overused and then establish new norms that limit their use.

Reporting helps control the execution of tasks and correct mistakes in time when they occur. To check the process of working on tasks effectively, the task management tool should include KPI dashboards and deep (detailed) reports. 

  Project KPI Dashboard is a very convenient and, most importantly, fast way to track the performance of projects in real-time. It should consist of essential indicators for the project, such as the planned and actual cost of the project, deviations from the project schedule, the percentage of tasks completed, a list of problems encountered in the process, etc.

Prioritization board

Sometimes it is challenging to choose the task that needs to be completed in the first place among the many other vital tasks. For this to succeed, the task management system should have a prioritization feature. This feature will help you complete projects faster and make your team work more organized and structured.

A great task management tool should help you control the costs of the project, as well as draw up an overall budget for each type of design and development process.

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How To Create A Task Management System Design? Practical Guide

For you to have a clear idea of ​​how to design a task management system, the Rewisoft team has prepared a practical guide where we will walk you through each step of a successful task management system design. And so, let’s get started!

Start from your Task Management System Idea [Uniqueness and Value]

The design process for your task management system should start with an idea. We have already said that successful employee task management systems have a uniqueness that distinguishes them from all other offers on the market. So, think about how your tool can be unique. Perhaps it may have a set of special features or a custom design. 

You also need to determine the value of your solution. What a valuable thing a task management system could provide your users with. Try to answer a few questions. How exactly will your tool solve user problems? Why should people buy your product? What is the main value of your system?

Write a Project Plan [Budget, Goals, and Timeline]

The next step is to create a plan. First, set a budget for your project. Allocate costs for each process of creating employee task management software. It is also worth considering the costs of hiring new employees and qualified specialists who will help at different employee task management system design stages. 

Determine the timeline. To understand how much money you need to invest in a project, you need to know how much time it will take you to design a product. The project timeline is essential for the correct organization of work and the structuring of all design processes. 

Next, you should define goals. What is your ultimate goal? Why are you creating this system? What do you want to get after the product release?

Who are your Target Audience & Competitors?

task management database design

Next, you should define who your target audience and your competitors are. Determination of the target audience is necessary to know for whom you are creating a product, why you are creating it, what user problem you want to solve, which features you should include in the system, etc. 

Identifying competitors will help you find out what standards for the task management system market currently exist, what is already on the market and what is missing, what should be included in the product, what is better not to include, etc.

You can take a look at user reviews of your competitors’ products. In this way, you will understand what people are looking for today, what they like and don’t like, what things users value in task management systems most of all, etc.

Write Design & Software Requirement

After you complete the previous steps, you should write basic design and software requirements. This step should not be skipped as a design specification is a document that outlines a project’s design needs. You will need online task management system project documentation for your design and development team to bring your idea to life. 

Usually, the design and software requirements (specifications) document includes the following things:  

  • full project overview; 
  • project needs and goals; 
  • target audience; 
  • functional requirements and desired set of features; 
  • aesthetic aspects; 
  • non-functional details; 
  • recommendation and prohibitions; 

Recently Rewisoft team has prepared a detailed guide on how to write successful design and software requirements . It will help you understand the basic principles of writing specifications. In addition, we have added an example of a design specification document based on the recent project we worked on. 

Hire Design & Development Contractors

task management database design

Now it is time to find and hire design and development contractors. By hiring product design and development vendors you will get a team of experienced specialists that will be able to create a great product based on your requirements and needs. 

With so many design and development service providers to select from, it may be challenging to choose one that is a good fit for your project.

As a consequence, to help you choose the most pleasing design and development contractor, we have prepared a list of essential factors to consider:

  • contractor’s portfolio, cases, and experience;
  • market trustworthiness and reputation;
  • clients feedback and testimonials, as well as service quality;
  • project delivery timeliness and convenience;
  • expertise and specific skills;
  • ability to meet deadlines and time to market;
  • professionalism and expertise of the design, development, and delivery teams;
  • additional assistance and services.

Based on our experience and deep expertise in product design and development, we have prepared some articles that will help find true and talented specialists for creating employee task management system:

When You Need A UX Consul tant? [Cost, Duties, Hiring]

Hire UX Designers: Ten Easy Steps (For Business Owners)

CTO as a Service: Ultimate Overview [Pros and Cons]

Start Product Discovery 

Product discovery refers to the iterative process of decreasing ambiguity around an issue or concept to ensure that the appropriate product is created for the right audience. Product discovery gives design and development teams more confidence in their next steps. It also serves as the basis for successful implementation and launch phase in the future.

To successfully conduct product discovery for employee task management software, follow the following steps:

  • gather all necessary people for the product discovery process;
  • research user problems;
  • come up with ideas for solutions;
  • test your ideas;
  • gather feedback;
  • analyze results. 

UX Design [Main Part]

BridgeX - Rewisoft Case Study

Employee task management system is a pretty complex product, so UX should be at the top level.

That’s why you should pay a lot of attention to UX design. In products like task management software, logic is critical. You can set logic schemes of the interface operation at the stage of UX design creation. 

task management database design

It is also essential to define the types of users who will be using the task management system. Not only will it provide you with an extensive understanding of the platform’s users’ capabilities, but you can also establish permissions for users to execute a set of activities.

Usually, in the task management system, there are 2 types of user roles:  

  • Regular users. They can register on the platform and can be assigned to different tasks. 
  • Admin. This person has the highest administrative authority level inside the task management system and has the ability to modify user access.

task management database design

With good UX design, you can properly connect all types of users and avoid confusion. Also at the stage of UX design creation personas will be defined. Persona is a profile of a product’s typical client. Personas may contain a variety of personal and professional information about the person.

task management database design

Following are some examples:

  • age, location, and degree of education;
  • socioeconomic standing;
  • goals and aspirations in their professional or personal lives;
  • obstacles, disappointments, and anxieties;
  • potential biases for or against your product and business;
  • how the individual now deals with the issue that your product intends to address;
  • what the customer will need from your service in order to consider it valuable.

task management database design

UX is what people feel when they use your product. First, there is the user, then the interaction appears. Therefore, you need to study users, their motivations, and emotions before developing a product.

task management database design

UX design is not just a “function” under the hood of a visual “shell.” It includes all the experience the user has – all interactions with your task management system, as well as finding ways to make that experience better.

task management database design

After you create a UX design for your task management software, you should test it. UX testing is a set of measures aimed at identifying any problem areas in your task management system: is it clear enough, logical, convenient, whether all its elements work correctly.

[article_idea title=”At Rewisoft, we use our own UX Lab for design testing and UX Eye Tracker that allows exploring user behavior during interaction with the product.” btn_text=”We can bring it into reality!” btn_link=”/get-estimation”]Only 1% of companies use this method. It helps optimize the interface and product design.[/article_idea]

In case you want to create a really great UX/UI design for your LMS website, get in touch with us, and we will help you find a suitable method of design testing.

Task management system database design includes UI design .

task management database design

After UX design testing, you can start creating the UI design. UI design includes work on the graphical part of the interface: animations, illustrations, buttons, menus, sliders, photos, and fonts. 

task management database design

All this is very important, even for simple task management software. Users first see your product, then they start using all of its functions.

task management database design

An employee task management system should be visually attractive to make users choose exactly your product.

After creating the UI design, you should test it. It is essential to conduct user testing to make sure that they understand how to use all interface elements, whether they like the system’s appearance, how visually they understand where everything is located, etc. 

Testing is carried out so that you can fix any problems that have arisen in time and understand whether everything looks as it should. After all these steps you can start the development process.

Start Development Process

Now it is time to start the development process. At this stage, it is vital that everything that you got in the previous steps, your development team can translate into reality. Python task management systems are gaining popularity right now. For a successful development process, the team must have all the necessary skills.

The development stage can be divided into two parts: backend and frontend.

The backend of the simple task management software is long and complex, but you should give maximum attention to it. After great and strong UX, the backend should be the same.  

The development process should be well organized and structured. It is also essential to always keep in touch with the developers to understand at what stage of development your project is and whether everything is going as it should be.

Before releasing your task management system, make sure everything is working perfectly. To do this, the QA engineer must check every part of the platform.   

As we said earlier, task management software is a complex product, so it’s crucial to devote the right amount of time and resources to the testing process.

How much does Task Management System design cost?

Of course, you are wondering how much a task management system design costs. In general, many factors influence the price. Firstly, this is the contractor’s country. Secondly, it is the experience and level of seniority of your contractor. We have prepared approximate prices for different stages of task management system design based on these two factors. Let’s take a look at the table.  

The location where the price corresponds to the quality is Eastern Europe. A large number of experienced professionals with an excellent education are concentrated in this region. Let’s now see the prices depending on the level of seniority.

Do not forget that the less experience a specialist has, the higher the risk that, as a result, you will get a product that is not exactly what you expected.

Rewisoft Expertise at Task Management System Design [Case Studies]

Rewisoft team has a great experience in creating task management system design. We want to tell you about the task management system we recently worked on. 

Project idea and challenge  

BridgeX is an educational mentoring tool for novice future entrepreneurs. A client came to us with the idea of ​​their future product.

The client showed us a presentation with the concept of the platform and a set of different questions.

Our task was to turn it all into a working tool. Our main challenge was to think through the whole structure of the platform, the appearance of the platform, etc.

Product discovery

We started our work by developing a site map to understand what navigation and connection between different platform parts should be.

task management database design

Next, we created a mood board where there were various visual references for the product. 

UX/UI design

The next step was to create wireframes so that it would be schematically clear what the platform would look like.

task management database design

We also created a clickable prototype. We are currently finalizing the mentor’s persona and transferring the project to the development stage.

task management database design

Current result

As a result, we managed to translate the client’s idea into reality and create a platform design that helped BridgeX get investments from investors. 

[article_idea title=”If you have an idea for your future task management tool, the Rewisoft team can be a great partner in making it a reality.” btn_text=”Get in touch with us for a consultation.” btn_link=”/get-estimation”]We Are The Top 20 Product Designers & Developers on Clutch[/article_idea]

Task Management System Design: Top Mistakes

One of the most common mistakes business owners make when creating a task management system design is choosing the wrong team. As we said before, the task management system is a complex product with many modules and parts.

Only professionals can handle the design for that product. Therefore, it is vital to entrust such a project to a strong team with experience working with such systems.

Another widespread mistake is copying the design of existing platforms. We have repeatedly mentioned in this article that uniqueness is above all for task management design. The market is overflowing with these kinds of systems. For users to choose your product in the future, you need to offer them something that they have not seen before.

Another common mistake is overloading the system with a large amount of functionality. The classical task management system is already complex in itself. Adding too many additional features can confuse users and lead to customers abandoning your product.

Best Examples of Task Management System Design

We decided to add some of the best examples of task management system design for your inspiration:

ClickUp is a task management system used by well-known companies such as Airbnb and Google. It consists of a large number of different handy features. Many users note that ClickUp’s design is very unobtrusive, with emphasis on the necessary things. Other users commented that the platform’s UX is top-notch. To find the required module in the system, they need to spend about 10 seconds.

Asana is a simple task management software that aims to help teams meet deadlines quickly and efficiently. It has a pleasant appearance and quite a good UX. Mainly it is used by small and medium teams. Lots of users say that Asana has a beautiful and convenient dashboard.

Monday.com is another great option for companies that are in need of a simple task management tool. This system has an attractive calendar view and what users like the most – unlimited dashboards. 

Wrike is a user-friendly and simple task management software with built-in time tracking features. It has a pretty good UX and is suitable for both small companies and enterprises. 

The task management system design process is challenging, but you will definitely succeed if you pay attention to all the tips we have provided in this article.

After reading our guide on how to design task management software, we hope you will be able to build a really valuable and unique product! And if you need advice on any process stage, you know where to find us;)

[article_idea title=”Have an idea of the next great project?” btn_text=”We can bring it into reality!” btn_link=”/get-estimation”]We Are The Top 20 Product Designers & Developers on Clutch[/article_idea]

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How to Create a Task Management Database: Streamline Your Workflow

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Startadatabase

  • August 30, 2023

How to Create a Task Management Database: Streamline Your Workflow

In today’s fast-paced world, staying organized and managing tasks efficiently is crucial for both individuals and businesses. A task management database can be a game-changer, helping you keep track of your tasks, prioritize work, and achieve your goals more effectively. In this article, we’ll guide you through the process of creating a task management database and provide insights into some software options that offer this service. Let’s dive in!

In a world filled with endless tasks and responsibilities, managing them can be overwhelming without the right tools. A task management database offers a digital solution to efficiently organize, track, and complete tasks, making your life or business operations smoother and more productive.

Table of Contents

Benefits of a Task Management Database

A task management database brings forth a plethora of benefits. It enables you to centralize task information, ensuring that nothing falls through the cracks. You can easily set priorities, allocate resources, and monitor progress, fostering collaboration and accountability among team members.

Planning Your Task Management Database

Defining your requirements.

Before diving into database creation, outline your specific requirements. Determine what features are essential for your workflow. Do you need deadline tracking? What about user permissions? Clear requirements will guide your database design.

Choosing the Right Platform

Selecting the appropriate platform for your task management database is crucial. You can opt for popular database systems like MySQL, PostgreSQL, or NoSQL options like MongoDB, depending on your needs.

Designing the Database Structure

Plan the structure of your database. Create tables for tasks, users, priorities, deadlines, and any other relevant entities. Define relationships between these tables to ensure seamless data retrieval.

Building Your Task Management Database

Selecting a database management system.

The choice of a Database Management System (DBMS) impacts your database’s performance and scalability. Each DBMS has its strengths, so choose one that aligns with your project’s requirements.

Creating the Database Schema

Design the schema meticulously. This blueprint outlines the database’s structure, including tables, fields, and their data types. A well-designed schema boosts efficiency and minimizes errors.

Establishing Relationships Between Tables

Efficient databases rely on relationships. Use primary and foreign keys to establish connections between tables. For instance, link tasks to users and priorities.

User Interface Design

A user-friendly interface enhances usability. Design an intuitive dashboard where users can input, view, and manage tasks effortlessly.

Key Features to Implement

Task entry and description.

Allow users to input task details comprehensively. Include fields for task name, description, deadline, priority, and any related documents.

Deadline and Priority Setting

Enable users to set deadlines and prioritize tasks. Implement alerts for approaching deadlines to ensure timely completion.

Progress Tracking

Incorporate features to update task progress. Users should mark tasks as ‘in progress,’ ‘completed,’ or ‘pending.’

User Collaboration

Promote collaboration by letting users assign tasks to team members, add comments, and share files.

Software Solutions for Task Management

Trello’s visual boards and cards help you organize tasks intuitively. It’s ideal for individuals and small teams looking for simplicity.

Asana offers versatile features for project and task management. It suits larger teams with complex workflows.

3. Monday.com

Monday.com’s customizable interface and automation options cater to various business needs, enhancing team coordination.

Wrike excels in task scheduling and resource management, making it suitable for projects with intricate timelines.

Comparing Software Options

Each software has its strengths. Consider factors like team size, complexity of projects, required integrations, and budget when making your choice.

Customizing the Database for Your Needs

Tailor the database according to evolving requirements. Regularly assess its efficiency and make necessary adjustments.

Importance of Regular Maintenance

Maintain the database’s health by performing routine checks, backups, and updates. This ensures data integrity and system reliability.

Tips for Effective Database Usage

Keep It Simple: Avoid unnecessary complexities. A clutter-free database is easier to use and maintain.

Consistent Updates: Regularly update tasks and their statuses. Outdated information can lead to confusion.

Data Security: Implement robust security measures to safeguard sensitive task data from unauthorized access.

Overcoming Common Challenges

User Adoption: Encourage users to embrace the database by highlighting its benefits and providing adequate training.

Technical Glitches: Address technical issues promptly to minimize disruptions in task management.

Embracing the Power of Automation

Automated Reminders: Set up automated reminders for impending deadlines or unattended tasks.

Template Workflows: Create task templates for recurrent processes, streamlining task creation.

Tracking and Analyzing Progress

Generating reports.

Utilize reporting features to track progress, identify bottlenecks, and improve efficiency.

Incorporating Feedback and Iteration

Invite user feedback and continuously enhance the database based on their suggestions.

A well-designed task management database can revolutionize the way you handle tasks. By centralizing information, promoting collaboration, and offering valuable insights, it empowers individuals and teams to work smarter. Choose the right software, customize it to your needs, and embrace the journey of streamlined productivity.

Not necessarily. While technical knowledge can be beneficial, there are user-friendly platforms available that require minimal coding skills.

Yes, many task management software allow data migration. Ensure compatibility and follow guidelines provided by the software.

Many task management tools offer free versions with limited features. Subscription plans unlock advanced functionalities.

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SQLServerCentral Article

Designing a Flexible Task Management Database

Jamie Voss , 2002-05-20

Designing a Flexible Task Management

Introduction

Several years ago I used Microsoft

Access to create a database for a Visual Basic desktop application.  This application was for bug tracking or action item

management.  I had already used

Microsoft Access to build a similar application as a temporary solution and now

that I was no longer on site I wanted to provide a more flexible solution.

This meant I needed the database to hold

information that could be manipulated by some kind of management utility, making

it simple for the team to make changes to information displayed in drop down

lists used within the application.  It

would also make it possible for the team to decide if they want to use custom

information specific only to their team.  I’ll

get to this in more detail in a minute.

First, its important to recognize what

will be at the core of all information in the database. 

I’ve found that there are a lot of different names that a team might

call this type of application, but essentially they are all just task

management.  A team needs a way to

take things that have to be done and make sure they are completed. 

So in this case the core of the database would be the action item or the

task and everything else in the database would revolve around this task as its

Now I know two things. 

I know that my task will be my central piece of information and I also

know that some information in the database that is used to describe the task

might not be the same for every workgroup. 

Therefore, it must be flexible.  However,

there will be some information that will be common to every team using the

application.  I can include this

information in the table with the description of the task.

My original design was for an

application to track what our team called action items. 

Therefore, item became the term I’ve continued to use as a name for my

central piece of information.  An

item can be anything the team wants to describe and track such as a bug, issue,

request, or task.

I determined the information common to

each item would be its unique ID, the Item Number, used not only for

identification within the database, but also among the team itself. 

In this table I also included the origination date, the completion date,

the identification of the team member who originated the task, and the

identification of the team member who completed the task.

Other information might be common to

each item, also.  However, this

information might also have additional related information to add further

description.  For example, the

status of a task will almost undoubtedly be important to every group, but

exactly what the status is called and what it means will be different depending

on the team.  While this piece of

information is similar to, say, a team member who originates an item, I am not

going to store the identification of the status with the item itself.  There is a reason for this. 

I’ll explain why in the next section.

A module is a description you need to

attach to an item. A module can be something like product, version, assigned

user, status, priority, or due date.  As

I discussed earlier, some of this information is specific to the development

team and some of it, such as status and priority, will probably be important to

every team that uses the application.

As I said earlier, even though status

and the originator of an item are both pieces of information used by most teams,

there is still a difference and so I store the information differently. 

The difference is that the status of an item is something that is chosen

or selected from a list.  The issuer of an item simply is the team member who

originated the item.  That is, the

issuer is automatically determined and the information is entered into the

database by the application.

For this reason I handle status the same

way I handle all of the other values that are manipulated by team members. 

These values are collected in modules. 

Each module is stored in its own table to make maintenance and

organization easier.  It also makes

it easier to manipulate the data associated with an item for display in the

application.

Staying Flexible

Now the basic elements of our database

design are determined.  I know that

the item is the center of my database and it will have some information stored

with it in its table.  Most of the

information that describes the item will be its own table. 

These groupings of information are called modules.

This brings me to another feature I

wanted to provide to give my application flexibility. 

I decided to use one database for configuration and another database for

data. This allows me to easily manipulate my configuration and my data

separately. If I want to create a new data store with the same configuration, I

can simply create a new database for the data. 

This is especially helpful when testing or initially setting up an

installation for a team.

In the configuration database the module

table would provide a list of the values that could be selected by a team member

for an item.  In the data database

the values selected for an item would be held in a table bearing the same name

as in the configuration database.  If

necessary or desired the configuration and data could all be kept in the same

database with different names for the list values and the values selected for an

I also had to account for the fact that

not all values would be selected from a list. 

There are many module variations that need to be accounted for.  Some modules might not have a list of values, but might be

freely entered text or a date selection by the team member.  In this case the configuration database module table would be

empty and the application would need to know what kind of dialog to present to

With all of this flexibility I needed a

way to let the application know what was going on. 

I had said at the beginning of this article that my plan called for a

management utility so that teams could determine exactly what information they

would store.  This information would

need to be configured and the configuration would need to be saved in a location

in the database.  I chose to save

this information in a table called Modules in the configuration database along

with all of the list values.

Each module in the modules table has an

ID.  In the original application I

decided to name each module table, list values and item associated values

tables, as generic numbered table, relating to the module ID.  I could not name the tables by the data stored in the table

because for each group that could be different.

The Modules table, therefore, determined

what a module was named, if it was active or inactive (some groups might not as

much information as others), what type of values it stored, whether multiple

values or only single values could be selected, and whether an alternative table

name was used for the module table (allowing teams to name their tables

something more descriptive).

This concludes a summary of the design

considerations I used in creating a flexible task management database.  Since I developed the database 3 years ago I’ve made small

changes and I still have small improvements planned to give myself an acceptable

balance of flexibility, sense, and data integrity. 

Since I started as flexible as I did in the beginning I gave myself

enough room to satisfy this balance and still maintain a compatibility with

teams that have been using the database for years.

I invite you to take a look at the

current implementation of my task management database and application at:

SQLServerCentral.com users receive a free 10 user license to ItemAction (the program Jamie is talking about in this article) by using the following registration code and company name:

Company Name : FREE from SQLServerCentral.com

IA-E922CC20-AEABF18192AF16199150-CBAFDD0D49AB2D1E233C

Download ItemAction at :

http://www.itemaction.com

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The Task Management Database Design in MySQL to manage the Users, Tasks, and Activities.

tutorials24x7/task-management-database-mysql

Folders and files, repository files navigation, task management database.

The complete details to design the database for the Task Management Application is available at Guide To Design Database For Task Manager In MySQL .

Database Schema

The visual database design of the Task Management Database is shown below.

Task Management Database

How to build a Project Management Application in PHP & MySQL from scratch

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Trying to find a project management application is a daunting task: you want a system with powerful features and you must get a buy-in from your colleagues. Most of the time, you wind up with a bloated system filled with features you’ll never use.

The good news is that it turns out it is not that difficult to build one from scratch yourself. After reading this tutorial, you should have a clean, well-designed project management application up and running in less than an hour.

What IS a Project Management Application?

A project management application is a software system used for project planning, resource allocation, tracking of project components, and change management.

In this tutorial, we are going to build a simple project management system in PHP which employees and managers can use for collaboration and communication between project stakeholders.

What is IN a Project Management Application?

We will be creating a simple and easily customizable PM system to tracks projects, including milestones, tasks, hours, costs, and more. Since every project is unique, this tutorial merely means to build an application foundation; you should be able to easily extend it based on your requirements.

In our project management application, employees will be able to:

  • View their tasks
  • Log in hours worked

Managers will be able to:

  • Manage projects
  • Manage milestones
  • Manage tasks
  • Manage costs and hours
  • Manage employee resources

The Building Blocks of a Project Management System

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Here are the primary functions of a project management system:

  • Project planning : To define a project schedule, a project manager may use the software to map project tasks and visually describe task interactions.
  • Task management : Allows the project manager to create and assign tasks, establish deadlines, and produce status reports.
  • Resource management : Defines responsibilities — who is supposed to do what.
  • Budgeting and cost tracking : A good project management application facilitates budget reporting as well as viewing, notifying, and updating costs for stakeholders.
  • Time tracking : The software must have the ability to track time spent on all tasks and maintain records for third-party consultants.

System Requirements

  • MySQL or MariaDB

Creating a Project Management Database

We will start by creating our project management database. The main tables we will use are:

  • Clients — customer company data
  • Contacts — client contact data. A client can have one or more contacts.
  • Projects — project information
  • Milestones — project milestone
  • Tasks — project tasks
  • Hours — time spent on each task
  • Costs — cost of a task
  • Users — user data; one can be either an employee or a manager

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Other tables ( lookup tables):

  • proj_status
  • task_status

Complete Database Schema Diagram

A database schema is the structure that represents the logical view of the entire database: tables, views, and primary and foreign keys. A database schema includes all entities and the relationships between them.

Below is the database diagram of our simple project management application. The key symbol in each table represents the table’s primary key while the magnifying glass indicates a foreign key linking it to another table (lookup table) in the database.

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simple_pm_install.sql

Once you have an understanding of the database’s table structure, obtain the simple_pm_install.sql sql script from this tutorial’s GitHub repo, and then execute the sql script using a MySQL tool such as MySQL Workbench or Sequel Pro. This will create a new database named simple_pm and tables we need in this tutorial.

Setup phpGrid

Our simple project management contains many DataGrids. The DataGrid is a spreadsheet-like data table which displays rows and columns representing records and fields from the database table. The DataGrid provides the end-user with the ability to read and write to the database tables on a web page.

To create the DataGrid, we use a dataGrid tool from phpGrid . The reason why we use a tool instead of building our grids from scratch is that developing a DataGrid in php is usually extremely tedious and prone to errors. The phpGrid DataGrid library will handle all internal database CRUD (Create, Remove, Update, and Delete) operations for us offering faster and better results with minimal coding.

To install phpGrid, follow these steps:

  • Unzip the phpGrid download file.
  • Upload the phpGrid folder to the phpGrid folder.
  • Complete the installation by configuring the conf.php file.

Before we begin coding, we must include the following information in `conf.php` the phpGrid configuration file. Here is an example of the database connection settings:

  • PHPGRID_DB_HOSTNAME — web server IP or host name
  • PHPGRID_DB_USERNAME — database user name
  • PHPGRID_DB_PASSWORD — database password
  • PHPGRID_DB_NAME — database name
  • PHPGRID_DB_TYPE — type of database
  • PHPGRID_DB_CHARSET — always ‘utf8’ in MySQL

Page Template

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Our page will be comprised of a header , menu , body , and footer . Instead of creating the same page elements repeatedly, we will start by creating a reusable page template.

This is a basic HTML5 template header; it includes a link to a custom stylesheet that will be created in a later step.

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Notice the usage of $_GET['currentPage'] . Each page will set a value that will highlight the name of the current page on the top menu bar.

Include the following code in style.css for menu styling; it will transform the above unordered list into a menu.

Simply includes the closing tags for the elements we opened in the header:

Our Complete Reusable Page Template

The main content will go after the section title.

Project Management Main Pages

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Our project management application for managers has four pages:

Client Details

Project details.

The Clients page displays a list of clients with links to individual client details ( Client Details page).

The Projects page displays a list of projects being managed with links to project details ( Project Details page).

Design Mockup

Here is our project management application design mockup for project managers who manage one or more projects and assign tasks to employees.

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When a manager logs in to the project management system, the first page he sees is the Clients page which contains a complete list of companies.

The following code will give us a list of clients.

  • The first line creates a phpGrid object by passing the SELECT SQL statement with its primary key id followed by the name of the database table – clients .
  • The second line creates a dynamic URL from the primary key “id”; it uses a function called set_col_dynalink() . This function sets a specific column-to-display HTML hyperlink URL based on dynamic values. If the primary key “id” has the value 100, it will display a URL like this client-details.php?id=100 which drills down the client detail page.
  • The third line, enable_edit() , makes the DataGrid editable and all CRUD (Create, Read, Update, Delete) operations are now accessible.
  • The last line calls the display() function to render the DataGrid on the screen.

You can find out more demos below using those functions:

Display Dynamic URL | phpGrid From example above, we learn that phpGrid can display simple, static URL using set_col_link() method. However, it is… phpgrid.com CRUD PHP Datagrid (Editable Datagrid) * | phpGrid The PHP datagrid is not editable by default. You can enable edit by simply calling enable_edit(). Whala! phpgrid.com

From the Clients page, the client name has a hyperlink that redirects to the Client Details page for that client when clicked.

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From the Client Details page, we need to obtain the Client ID that is passed as the URL parameter.

In our application, the Client ID should always be an integer. Thus, we use the PHP intval() function to ensure the Client ID is returned as an integer.

The following code displays projects associated with the current $clientId using the filter function set_query_filter() . In addition, we make the DataGrid editable with the enable_edit() function; phpGrid will take care of any CRUD operations for us.

Client Details > Proje cts

As you may notice, we again use the same function, set_col_dynalink() , to create hyperlinks to the Project Details table using the Project ID. We will get into the project-details.php page next.

Client Details > Conta cts

Under the Projects DataGrid, a list of contacts associated with the $clientid is displayed using the same functions set_query_filter() and enable_edit() .

Now, let’s build the Projects page.

The Projects page displays a list of managed projects. It is very similar to the Clients page except that the database table is “Projects,” and the hyperlinks have the URL project-details.php instead of client-details.php .

From the Projects page, each project name has a hyperlink which redirects to each individual Project Details page when clicked.

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And from the Project Details page, we retrieve the Project ID for the URL parameter.

Look familiar? Because it is! It should because both Projects and Project Details pretty much follow the same coding pattern used in the Clients and Client Details pages; there are not really that many surprises.

The Project Details page is made of the following grids, all filtered by the $projectId obtained from the URL parameter.

A milestone marks a major event in a project timeline. Here, we can easily display all the milestones of a project by filtering the value $projectId . Project managers have the necessary access rights to modify the milestones.

Likewise, we can easily filter and display a list of tasks for the current project.

I think you are probably getting the hang of it now. Here’s the code for the two remaining datagrids.

Employees Page

We can now move on to the final part of the tutorial, the Employees page. Employees can login to view active project tasks assigned to them, track task hours, and costs. Their responsibility is simple: to monitor the tasks and log hours worked on any specific project task.

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The Employees page has only one menu item: Tasks .

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My Active Tasks

The first part of the page shows a list of active tasks assigned to the current employee. Each task will have the hours reported by the current employee; this is a perfect situation in which to use a phpGrid subgrid .

We also need to use set_query_filter() to display only active tasks that have Status value "2", and only for the current employee.

For demo purposes, we hard-coded the Employee ID to 2. In a real-world application, the Employee ID value should be stored and retrieved using PHP SESSION .

We then create the active Tasks DataGrid for the current employee. Notice the filter function.

Once we’ve defined the grid for the active tasks, we create a DataGrid to log the hours reported by the current employee.

Lastly, set_subgrid() causes the Hours DataGrid to become a subgrid of the Tasks DataGrid. The linking field in the Hours subgrid is ‘TaskID’, which is the second parameter, and in the main grid Tasks , it is “id,” the third parameter.

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My Hours History

Lastly, we would like to display a read-only DataGrid using data from the Hours table for the current employee for reviewing purposes.

Notice we used a function called set_jq_gridName() . You can find more documentation here . This function sets a unique object name for the DataGrid. By default, phpGrid uses the database table name as its internal object name. Since we already created a DataGrid from the Hours table in the last part, we must set a unique name for our second Hours DataGrid.

Application Screenshots

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Login as manager | Login as employee

Download Source Code

phpcontrols/phpgrid-project-management phpgrid-project-management — phpGrid Complete Project Management Demo Application github.com

Thanks for reading. If you enjoyed this article, please hit that clap button ? to help others find it and f ollow me on Twitter.

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Task Management Framework

Help operations scale, by managing and streamlining tasks across teams, functions, business units, and partner ecosystem. jul 21, 2023 • knowledge article, information.

Author: Chris Cappetta

Task management is a requirement across all businesses. On the Boomi Innovation & Solutions team we've built a task management tool to fit our specific needs, and to integrate with our technology stack. In this article we are excited to share a template of those designs with you.

Our goal was to create something like a "virtual whiteboard" of our day-to-day tasks. In other roles and organizations we had all used "task trackers" that felt like we were retroactively logging activity, solely for monitoring purposes. Those are more of a Friday-morning chore to the end users, than an asset to accelerate work.

From a philosophical perspective we set out first-and-foremost to make our task management tool highly useful to the end users . We expected that by being useful, it would be highly-used, and we would therefore leave behind a wake of valuable management-level insights and data about what we are working on. This has proven to be more true than we could have even anticipated!

The central record in this design is, naturally, a task . Tasks can be sorted between a worklist and a task pool.  The worklist is our "virtual whiteboard" of tasks, to complete on an hours-and-days timescale, while the task pool is our backlog. To see a three minute demo of this accelerator click here .  The community asset here is intended to be a foundation for other folks to build a similar task management tool, tailored to their own use cases and technology stacks. Before exploring the specifics of the packages provided here I will give quick overview of our Boomi Solutions team's tailored version of this tool.... as context and to spark ideas.

Our Boomi Solutions Team version of this Task Management Framework

Task slack integration

For clarity - the asset pack shared in this article does not include those specific features. Those are quite niche to our requirements, but we wanted to describe them to show the sorts of things that are possible. I encourage you to consider this article and accelerator pack a foundation , on which your own task management use case and requirements can be customized. If you would find value in us publishing additional modules and features like the ones described above please reach out, and we will endeavor to get those published on Boomiverse as well!

Flow import tokens

Task Management Home:

yRpOGB++j6JLJ9f3DYwHp+ZACSHZqhi9Zy0y52IRAQrZKmmOdaZHyJ7XpJmo0Jma

Create or Edit Task:

g+hdMKbIKEEqy462+MTaVFjLYDcbbMxcIPJ0Q5Jot5zCWpZYVYR4P5JzUeUOut/n

Insights Dashboard:

5RnkqeG/NDzAkUdZu5mOH6Gjm+B114/UKIuIoSVTHM3PhlIy47poOBe4eiraVnRU

Flow Player/User Interface Customization

The Flow applications above do use custom components, the specifics of which will be described in the main body of the article. The player linked here already includes the custom components that are expected by the flows, and can be copy-pasted in-full into your own Flow tenant: https://github.com/OfficialBoomi/solution-task-management/blob/master/task_management_player.html

The Flow import tokens come with their service-passwords "nulled," so to setup your own working version you'll need to create a database with the tables and views defined in this MySQL DDL . I've used DataGrip for the export and testing. Modifications might be required to use a different tool:  https://github.com/OfficialBoomi/solution-task-management/blob/master/create_task_management_db.sql

After making a copy of the database, you will modify the SQL Service included in those Flow packages to use the service configuration values from your  database.  

The step-by-step database management & administration portion of this use case is beyond the scope of this article, but it is worth noting a few key things: 

(1) The Flow packages and SQL are for  MySQL . Using some other sort of database is possible but would entail additional work.

(2) An Amazon Web Services RDS free tier database may be a good option if you don't already have a database host in mind.

(3) There are click-by-click database setup instructions in this Boomi Bot framework article  that would be similar to the database setup in this use case. You'll need to be logged into community to access that article; and videos #2 and #5 are particularly relevant. 

Design Overview

Task management home

There isn't much functionality to speak of in this flow, since it's a single page with just the access log steps happening before the landing. If you're a "database person" you might enjoy the SQL views that underpin those insight tables.

Work Reimagined

This solution is part of the Boomi Work Reimagined solutions catalog, providing innovative solutions that fuel our workforce and workplace with agility in times of rapid change.

> Discover more Work Reimagined Boomi Solutions

Next steps?

  • Get started with your free Boomi trial today!
  • Learn more  about how Boomi Flow can help accelerate your business outcomes
  • Join us  in the Boomiverse and collaborate with customers and Boomi experts, join on-demand training, and get real-time updates on all things Boomi

About the Author

Written by Chris Cappetta ( [email protected] )

Chris is an architect on the Boomi Innovation & Solutions team, based in Fort Collins. He enjoys mountain biking, nachos, and pushing the state of the Boomi art. Click here for a list of his other articles.

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10 Best Database Design Tools to Visualize and Build Data Models in 2024

ClickUp Contributor

February 13, 2024

Choosing the right database design tool can be a bit of a puzzle with so many choices out there. You may have run into problems with tools that are too hard to use, too pricey, or just don’t fit with your specific database management systems (DBMS).

But don’t worry, we’ve put together a list of the top 10 tools for database design that make diagramming and data analysis easier—and more fun. Whether you’re new to database design or a pro looking to optimize your workflows, we’ve got you covered.

What Are Database Design Tools?

What to look for in a database design tool, 2. quickdbd, 3. lucidchart, 4. smartsheet, 5. airtable, 7. dbschema, 10. datanamic dezign.

Database design software tools are specialized applications that simplify the process of creating and managing database models. They provide a visual interface to sketch a map of your data models. You can then design tables, specify the data each table will hold, and create connections between them to continue building out your database structure.

So instead of jumping straight into building a database, this database map makes it easy to spot and fix any potential issues before the actual database is built. 🛠️

Some design tools take it a step further by automatically generating code from your visual maps to create the databases. This saves time and reduces errors that occur when this design-to-code process is done manually.

The right database modeling tools come with features ranging from basic to advanced. To find the right fit, here are key areas to consider:

  • Ease of use: Look for a tool with a simple interface for quickly navigating its features and capturing your ideas
  • Supported platform: Consider whether you need a web-based design tool or a desktop application with support for your operating system 
  • Compatibility: Looking for a tool that goes beyond design to streamline the development phase? If so, check if it supports your DBMS of choice
  • Collaboration: If you’re working with a team, features like sharing, commenting, and real-time editing are a must-have
  • Reporting: Choose a tool that makes it easy to generate database documentation based on your designs
  • Support: An active community, comprehensive documentation, and responsive customer support can be invaluable, especially when you run into issues

Note the features that are a priority for you. Keep these in mind as you explore each diagram tool to find the right option for your needs.

10 Best Database Design Tools in 2024

The right database design tool makes your workflow smoother and more efficient. We’ve researched and handpicked 10 of the best tools, each with a unique feature set for building database designs. 

Ready to find the perfect tool for your next database project? Let’s get into the details.

ClickUp may not be your typical database design software. However, its built-in diagram tool and highly visual features are ideal for designing, building, and managing no-code databases for various teams and projects.

Start with the Mind Map tool to quickly jot down your ideas about the tables and relationships in your database diagram. Expand on these concepts using ClickUp Whiteboards to piece together database objects, sticky notes, connectors, and images. When the design is complete, turn it into a working database system in ClickUp’s Table view .

This view comes with 15+ Custom Fields for storing data types like text, number, date, file, and formula. And here’s the cool part: Create relationships between tasks and across multiple tables to sync data and streamline data flows—allowing you to save time and reduce errors in the database design process. ✔️

With ClickUp Dashboards , display insights from your databases so it’s easier to digest and useful for making decisions. Let’s say you’re managing a blog database with blog titles, category, status, etc. You can design your custom Dashboard to show an overview of posts in multiple categories, percentage completion, overdue posts, and more.

ClickUp best features

  • Set up ClickUp Automations to create new row entries and auto-update existing ones
  • Collaborate with your team in real-time inside Whiteboards, Chat, Table view, and even on project documents with ClickUp Docs
  • Use the task management features to manage database projects by setting Goals, assigning tasks, setting deadlines, and tracking time ⏰
  • Create recurring tasks to remind you of routine database maintenance or checks
  • Access ClickUp via the web as well as your desktop (Windows, MacOS, and Linux) and mobile devices (Android and iOS)

ClickUp limitations

  • ClickUp isn’t a dedicated data modeling tool
  • Sometimes gets slow when working on large projects

ClickUp pricing

  • Free Forever
  • Unlimited: $7/month per user
  • Business: $12/month per user
  • Enterprise: Contact for pricing

ClickUp ratings and reviews

  • G2: 4.7/5 (8,200+ reviews)
  • Capterra: 4.7/5 (3,700+ reviews)

Database design tools: example of a diagram created in QuickDBD

QuickDBD (Quick Database Diagrams) is a cloud-based database modeling tool for quickly creating and visualizing database models. You can start using it without creating an account, but you do need one if you want to save your work online. 🧑‍💻

It’s super easy to use. Just type in your database details on the left pane and QuickDBD generates neat entity-relationship diagrams (ERDs) on the right. When you log in the first time, it opens with a sample diagram that you can modify to get started. 

If you’re looking for a keyboard-first tool to quickly sketch your database model, QuickDBD is a great choice.

QuickDBD best features

  • Rearrange database tables in your diagram with the drag-and-drop feature
  • Organize your diagrams into folders
  • Export your diagrams as image, PDF, and SQL files
  • Share diagrams via a link or directly to social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn 

QuickDBD limitations

  • Free plan is limited to 1 diagram and 10 tables per diagram
  • You need the Pro plan to keep diagrams private

QuickDBD pricing

  • Pro: $95/year

QuickDBD ratings and reviews

  • G2: 4.8/5 (2 reviews)
  • Capterra: 5/5 (5 reviews)

Database design tools: screenshot of Lucidchart's editor view

Lucidchart is a web-based design and mind mapping software for creating a variety of database diagrams—from flowcharts and wireframes to mind maps and ERDs.

Get started with these designs from scratch or use a template from its extensive library. Lucidchart also comes with lots of shapes and connectors for creating your diagrams. You can customize them by changing their color, size, and thickness. 

Working with your team is super easy. Everyone can edit diagrams at the same time and leave comments and feedback for others. If you’re looking to present a complex database model, check out Lucidchart.

Lucidchart best features

  • Link diagrams to live data from spreadsheets or databases 
  • Auto-change shape appearance based on data conditions
  • Export diagrams as image, PDF, CSV, and Visio files
  • Connect Lucidchart with popular tools like Microsoft Office, Google Workspace, and Slack 

Lucidchart limitations

  • Free plan is limited to 3 documents and 60 shapes per document
  • Non-Lucidchart users need an account to view shared links

Lucidchart pricing

  • Individual: $7.95/month
  • Team: $9/month per user

Lucidchart ratings and reviews

  • G2: 4.5/5 (4,710+ reviews)
  • Capterra: 4.5/5 (1,970+ reviews)

Database design tools: screenshot of Smartsheet's templates

Smartsheet is a spreadsheet-like tool for creating and managing simple data models and projects. You can switch between various views—grid for entering data, card for tracking tasks, Gantt for viewing project timelines, and calendar for never missing a deadline. 🗓️

Instead of starting from scratch, choose a template from Smartsheet’s library of database templates catering to diverse industries and use cases. Whether you’re working in retail and need to manage customer databases or marketing for content databases , there’s a template for you.

Collect and track data from multiple sources by connecting Smartsheet to apps like Google Forms, DocuSign, and HubSpot. Plus, you can set up rule-based triggers to automate row updates, move rows to different sheets, and send alerts when certain conditions are met.

Smartsheet best features

  • Customize cell appearance by status, deadlines, and priority 
  • Combine data from multiple sheets into a master sheet with two-way sync
  • Collaborate with your team using @mentions, comments, and attachments
  • Access Smartsheet via web, Windows, MacOS, Android, and iOS

Smartsheet limitations

  • The free plan is limited to 2 sheets and 2 editors
  • Can’t open multiple sheets as tabs in one space

Smartsheet pricing

  • Pro: $7/month per user
  • Business: $25/month per user

Smartsheet ratings and reviews

  • G2: 4.4/5 (14,510+ reviews)
  • Capterra: 4.5/5 (3,000 reviews)

Database design tools: example of a table created in Airtable

Airtable , similar to Smartsheet, merges the simplicity of spreadsheets with the functionality of databases. You can create “bases” (short for databases) in your workspace, each with multiple tables. These tables can be connected through relationships, much like a relational database.

Each row in a table can hold any type of record and each column stores various data types like text, number, date, lookup, and linked records. Create forms or connect with external apps to capture data directly into a base and set up automations to streamline base management.

Airtable best features

  • Invite your team to collaborate with different access levels (read-only, commenter, editor, creator)
  • Switch base views between grid, calendar, Kanban, and gallery
  • Automate repetitive actions like creating and updating records, sending emails, and running scripts 
  • Integrate with 30+ tools including Gmail, Slack, Miro, and GitHub

Airtable limitations

  • A steep learning curve for new users
  • Paid plans may not be suitable for teams on a budget

Airtable pricing

  • Team: $24/month per seat
  • Business: $54/month per seat

Airtable ratings and reviews

  • G2: 4.6/5 (2,160+ reviews)
  • Capterra: 4.7/5 (1,870+ reviews)

Example of a diagram created in ERDPlus

ERDPlus is a user-friendly free database software for designing ERDs using Chen notation—with rectangles for entities (aka tables), ovals for attributes, and diamonds for relationships. It also works perfectly for creating relational and star schemas. 

Like QuickDBD, data analysts can start using ERDPlus without an account, but you’ll need to sign up to save your work online. If you’re looking for a minimalist drag-and-drop canvas for quickly sketching your database schema design, ERDPlus might be the tool for you.

ERDPlus best features

  • Create unlimited diagrams and organize them into folders 📂
  • Download your diagrams as an ERDPlus file or as a PNG image
  • Convert ERDs into relational schemas 
  • Generate SQL scripts from relational schemas

ERDPlus limitations

  • Not suitable for working on large projects
  • You have to manually save changes

ERDPlus pricing

Erdplus ratings and reviews.

  • G2: 4.3/5 (2 reviews)
  • Capterra: N/A

Example of a diagram created in DbSchema

DbSchema is a database design, management, and deployment tool used for complex database projects. It works with all relational databases like MySQL, PostgreSQL, and Microsoft SQL Server, as well as some NoSQL ones like MongoDB and Cassandra. 

Build databases from scratch without any SQL knowledge inside its intuitive drag-and-drop interface. And document your database structure with comments. 💬

DbSchema is available for download as a desktop application for Windows, Linux, and MacOS devices. There’s the community version, which is free, and the pro version, which is paid and comes with more advanced features. 

DbSchema best features

  • Import CSV, XLS, XLSX, and XML data files into your database
  • Test database configurations with randomly generated data
  • Write SQL queries using the visual query builder or SQL editor
  • Generate HTML5 schema documentation with vector images and comment-based tooltips

DbSchema limitations

  • Doesn’t have a web-based version
  • The user interface and features take some getting used to

DbSchema pricing

  • Monthly subscription (Student): $9.80/month
  • Monthly subscription (Personal): $19.60/month
  • Monthly subscription (Organization): $29.40/month
  • Perpetual license (Student): $98 + $25/year*
  • Perpetual license (Personal): $196 + $50/year*
  • Perpetual license (Organization): $294 + $75/year*

*Yearly fee for maintenance and upgrades

DbSchema ratings and reviews

  • G2: 4/5 (2 reviews)
  • Capterra: 5/5 (1 review)

Example of a diagram created in SqlDBM

SqlDBM is an online database modeling tool for designing and visualizing complex database architecture. 

Like DbSchema, SqlDBM connects to various SQL databases for creating new databases (forward engineering) and analyzing existing databases (reverse engineering).

If you’re looking for a web-based alternative to DbSchema, you might want to check out SqlDM.

SqlDBM best features

  • Customize your view to only show tables, columns, keys, and descriptions
  • Collaborate with team members by tagging and commenting on specific objects 
  • Connect SqlDBM with tools like Microsoft Excel, GitHub, GitLab, Bitbucket, and Jira
  • Switch your interface between light and dark mode

SqlDBM limitations

  • No HTML export for database documentation
  • Newbies need to spend time to find all the features

SqlDBM pricing

  • Starter: $2,000/seat (minimum of 2 seats)
  • Small enterprise: Contact for pricing
  • Standard enterprise: Contact for pricing

SqlDBM ratings and reviews

  • G2: No reviews
  • Capterra: 4.8/5 (5 reviews)

Example of diagrams created in Moqups

Moqups is a versatile design tool for wireframes, mockups, and flowcharts. Build these designs from scratch on its drag-and-drop canvas or start with a ready-made template. 

Get access to an extensive library of stencils (aka shapes) and icons for your designs, and customize each element’s color, size, opacity, alignment, and more. Save your diagrams as a custom template to reuse in the future.

Moqups best features

  • Share pages with your team and specify whether they can view, comment, or edit
  • Use annotation tools like sticky notes, callouts, and speech bubbles for brainstorming and giving feedback
  • View the comments on a specific page or across all pages and filter them by unresolved, resolved, and unread 
  • Export your diagrams to PNG, PDF, or HTML

Moqups limitations

  • The free plan is limited to 2 projects and 400 objects
  • Doesn’t have a desktop or mobile app

Moqups pricing

  • Solo: $13/month (1 seat)
  • Team: $23/month (5 seats)
  • Unlimited: $67/month (unlimited seats)

Moqups ratings and reviews

  • G2: 4.2/5 (91 reviews)
  • Capterra: 4.6/5 (29 reviews)

Example of a diagram created in Datanamic DeZign

Datanamic DeZign is a data modeling tool for designing databases with crowsfoot and IDEF1X notations. Generate databases from your diagrams or connect them with existing databases to convert them into ERDs for analysis and updates. 

DeZign allows for bi-directional comparison and synchronization between models and databases. You can also create documentation for your diagrams in formats like HTML, MS Word, and PDF.

Datanamic DeZign best features

  • Rearrange diagram entities with custom layouts for clearer visualization
  • Highlight and analyze related entities using the dynamic highlighter
  • Export diagrams as image files and data dictionaries as CSV files
  • Connect to 15+ databases including Microsoft Access, MySQL, Oracle, and SQLite

Datanamic DeZign limitations

  • Only available as a desktop application
  • All features are unlocked on the highest plan

Datanamic DeZign pricing

  • Monthly subscription (Standard): $28/month
  • Monthly subscription (Professional): $58/month
  • Monthly subscription (Expert): $88/month
  • Perpetual license (Standard): $329
  • Perpetual license (Professional): $882
  • Perpetual license (Expert): $1,249

Datanamic DeZign ratings and reviews

Eliminate the stress and build better databases.

Whether you’re working on a basic or complex database modeling project, using the right tool simplifies the design process and helps you build efficient database models.

However, designing a database is only one part of the project lifecycle. To manage and execute these projects smoothly from start to finish, consider integrating your chosen tool with ClickUp. ✨

Aside from using ClickUp to design and manage simple databases, it doubles as a project management tool for handling large projects and project documents. Sign up for ClickUp’s Free Forever plan to check out these features for yourself.

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aidelojep

Posted on Nov 30, 2021 • Updated on Jul 23, 2022

Building a Task Management Application using Rest API, Spring Boot, Maven and Fauna

Written in connection with the Write with Fauna Program .

This article focuses on the tutorial steps in building a Rest API using the Java Programming framework (Spring Boot), Maven, and Fauna. We used Fauna as our database to save our information and integrated this into our Spring Boot project. We also outlined these steps to make it easy for beginners to follow through and implement the same using these steps when working on a similar project. The Rest API is more suitable for server-side API rendering. Hence, the REST API is a valuable architectural style for microservices because of its simplicity, scalability and flexibility. In microservice architecture, each application is designed as an independent service from the other. We recall that microservices rely on small teams to deploy and scale their respective services independently, this makes the REST API an invaluable resource to this architectural style.

Prerequisites

To fully understand this part of the tutorial, you are required to have the following:

  • Fundamental knowledge of how to program with Java.
  • At least fundamental knowledge of Spring Framework and Spring Boot.
  • Java Development Kit(JDK) installed.
  • Postman installed or click on the link to download and install.
  • Maven installed or click on the link to download and install.
  • IntelliJ installed or click on the link to install. You can use any other IDEA of choice.

What is an API?

In the simplest form, an API is the acronym for application programming interface that allows for two or more different applications to talk to each other. Everytime you make use of these applications, the applications on your phone, gadgets or computer connect to the internet and send data to the server. This data retrieved by the server is then interpreted, and some actions are performed and a feedback is sent back to you in a human or readable format. The API also provides a level of security here since each communication entails a small packet of data, the data sharing here only entails that which is necessary. Another additional benefit of RESTful APIs is its Client-Server constraints. This constraint operates on the concept that the client and server side should be separated from each other. This is referred to as separation of concerns which guarantees more efficiency in our application. Therefore, I should be able to make changes on my client side without affecting my database design on the server and vice-versa. This makes our application to be loosely coupled and easily scalable . This article teaches how to create a SpringBoot and Restful API that performs CRUD (Create, Read, Update and Delete) operations by making a database call to a Fauna. The application we will be building in this tutorial is a “task-management app” for users to manage all their daily tasks.

Key Takeaways

  • How to create and set up a Spring Boot application with a Tomcat Server.
  • Fauna database configuration in a Spring Boot Project.
  • Maven for Dependency management.
  • Exception Handling in Java.
  • How to document API using Swagger.

Project Setup

To initialize the project we are going to use spring initializer . Enter the maven project properties of the project including the dependencies as shown below and click on the generate button. This will generate a zip file and download it for you. Unzip it and open it in your favorite IDEA and sync the dependencies with Maven.

spring initializer image

For this project we are going to add two dependencies namely:

  • Spring web : This dependency makes your project a web application. The spring-boot-starter-web dependency transitively pulls in all dependencies related to Web development using Spring MVC, REST, and Tomcat as a default embedded server.
  • Spring Data JPA : This allows us to persist data in SQL databases using Spring Data and Hibernate which is an implementation of the JPA. JPA stands for Java Persistent API, it is a specification that is part of Java EE (Enterprise Edition) and defines an API for Object-Relational Mappings (ORM) and for managing persistent objects and Relational Databases. It is considered a standard approach for Object Relational Mapping. Being that JPA is a specification, it does not perform any operation by itself, as such requires implementation. Hibernate is one of those ORM (Object Relational Mapping) tools that implements JPA. Others include TopLink, MyBatis.

The EntryPoint of the Application

The beauty of SpringBoot lies in how easy it is to create stand-alone, production-grade spring-based applications that you can "just run". If you open your TaskManagerApplication.java file.

SpringBoot applications should have an entry point class with the public static void main(String[] args) methods, which is annotated with the @SpringBootApplication annotation and will be used to bootstrap the application. It is the main method which is the entry point of the JVM to run our application. The @SpringBootApplication annotation informs the Spring framework, when launched, to scan for Spring components inside this package and register them. It also tells Spring Boot to enable Autoconfiguration, a process where beans are automatically created based on classpath settings, property settings, and other factors. The @SpringBootApplication annotation has composed functionality from three annotations namely @EnableAutoConfiguration , @ComponentScan , and @Configuration . So we can say it is the shortcut for the three annotations.

Now, we can now run our application. We can do this by either clicking on the play button on our IDEA or running this command: mvn spring-boot:run on our command line. Navigate to the root of the project via the command line and execute the command. Boom! Tomcat started on port 8081 which is the port we configured our application to run.

Maven as a dependency management tool.

The pom.xml file houses the dependencies, Maven plugins in our project. The dependency section simply contains the dependencies we added to our project namely SpringWeb and springfox for documenting our api.

Adding Additional Maven Dependencies

In this section we are going to add additional deficiencies to the project. To do this, we navigate to Maven Repository and search for the Fauna dependency and add it to the dependencies section of the pom.xml file:

  • Faunadb: A Fauna cloud database dependencies that connect our Java application to Fuana serverless database.
  • Lombok: A lombok dependency helps us to reduce boiler plate codes.
  • Sync the newly added dependencies to the application.
  • The modified pom.xml should like this:

Next, we can now proceed to create a database on the Fauna dashboard, and generate a server key and configure FaunaClient in the Spring Boot project. To create a database and server key for our SpringBoot project, we are going to register a Fauna account. To do this, click on this link sign up today and ignore if you have one already. After signup, you get a prompt to create a database like the image below:

image shows Fauna sign-up page

Creating a Fauna API Key

To create a Fauna API Key, you would go to your settings on the Fauna sidebar (at the top left of the screen). This Fauna API key is required to connect the database to our Task_Management_App.

image showing Fauna API keys generation

Configuring Fauna Client

In the resources folder within the src/main folder, open application.properties file and add the secret key that you have generated. fauna-db.secret=”your api secret key should be here” Next we need to create a bean creates a single instance of the configuration with the help of the @Scope annotation and inject our api key using the @value annotation.

Project Structure

Our project will be structured into four subpackages: Data: This subpackage will house our Data access layer, which will include our Domain and repository.

  • Service: This is where our business logic will be.
  • Web: This package will house our controllers.
  • Exceptions: This is where all our custom exceptions will be. Throwing exceptions is very important in building a resilient system. This structure will ensure that when a client makes a call to access a resource in the application, such client does not have direct access to our database, rather a request is directed to our controller. Our controller calls the right service(the business logic) which then through our repository makes a call to our database. This architecture also ensures the separation of concerns.

Creating The Domain Class

In the data package, create another package called models. Inside the models package, create a class called Task with the following code:

  • @FaunaField annotation Makes the instance variable annotated as database column
  • We have used the @FaunaConstructor annotation to specify our create constructor and give our files values on creation.
  • @data creates setters and getters for the class.
  • @NoArgsConstructor annotation creates a no argument constructor.
  • @AllArgsContructor creates an all argument constructor.

Inside the data package, create a package with the name payloads. This package will have two sub-packages “request” and “response” to handle our request payloads and response payloads respectively.

Request payloads

Inside the request package create an EmployeeRequest class with the following code:

@NotBlank and @notnull : These two annotation checks and validate the fields where they are mapped to ensure the values are not blank and null respectively.

Response payload

Inside the response package create a TaskResponse class with the following code:

  • The above code is simply a POJO (Plain Old Java Object) with one instance variable, a constructor, a mutator(setters), and an accessor(getters).

The Repository

Inside the data package, create a sub-package called a repository. Then create an interface called “TaskRepository” that extends JpaRepository. The JpaRepository is generic so it takes a model class(Type) and the data type of the primary key. Write the following code in the TaskRepository interface.

  • @Repository makes the interface a bean. It is treated identically to the @Component annotation, therefore it is a specialization of the @Component annotation. Beans are simply Java classes that spring knows.

Next let’s create a class called FaunaRepository that will contain methods that will allow us to perform the CRUD Operation. We are going to first create an interface that will contain these methods. Let's call the interface Repository .

  • We have defined an interface with methods that allow us to save, find, and update a task .

The above class provides an implementation to the methods defined on the interface. You can look up the Fauna documentation for Java by clicking on this link: Fauna/JVM doc

The TaskService

Create a service package under the taskmanager directory. This package is going to house the business logic. We have divided the service into two, an interface where the methods of our business logic will be declared and a concrete class that implements the interface. Create an interface with the name “taskService" with the following code:

  • @Component annotation is a shorthand for the @Bean annotation. It registers the TaskService interface as a bean in the application context and makes it accessible during classpath scanning. We created five methods that allow us to create, update, get and delete tasks.

Next, create a TaskServiceImpl class that implements the TaskService interface. Write the following code:

@Service annotation is a specialized form of @Component . With the @Service annotation, the class that is annotated is registered in the application context and accessible during classpath scanning.

The TaskServiceImpl class implemented the TaskService interface by overriding the method and implementing them. The class throws an exception(ResourceNotFoundException- This is the custom exception class we created that extends RunTimeException) where the Id supplied to get a single task does not exist on the database.

The Controller

Create a package called web under the taskmanager package . This package is going to house the APIs controller. Create an TaskController class with the following code:

  • @RestController: This annotation marks the EmployeeController as an HTTP request handler and allows Spring to recognize it as a RESTful service.
  • @RequestMapping("/task") annotation sets the base path to the resource endpoints in the controller as /task. Next, we injected the TaskService class.
  • @GetMapping is a shortcut for @RequestMapping(method = RequestMethod.GET), and is used to map HTTP GET requests to the mapped controller methods. We used it to return all the tasks and a single task.
  • @PathVariable annotation shows that a method parameter should be bound to a URI template variable.
  • @PostMapping is a shorthand for @RequestMapping where the method is equal to POST. It is used to map HTTP POST requests to the mapped controller methods.
  • @RequestBody: This annotation takes care of binding the web request body to the method parameter with the help of the registered HttpMessageConverters. So when you make a POST request to the “/task/add” URL with a Post JSON body, the HttpMessageConverters converts the JSON request body into a Post object and passes it to the createTask method.
  • @PutMapping is a shorthand for @RequestMapping where the method is equal to PUT. It is used to map HTTP PUT requests to the mapped controller methods.
  • @DeleteMapping: Using this annotation makes the Mapped controller method to be ready for a delete operation. is a shortcut for @RequestMapping (method = RequestMethod.DELETE).

Documenting your API with Swagger

We already added the io.springfox dependency to the pom.xml. With this dependency we will document the API so that it will be easy for other developers to use it. All is required is to add the following line of code at the class level of our controller as follows:

We added the @ApiResponse annotation from swagger at the class level. As simple as this, our APIs are fully documented. Go to localhost:8081/swagger-ui to access the documentation and test that our APIs are still working properly. Use the Swagger API document at localhost:8900/swagger-ui to add an employee, get, update and delete an employee.

image

In this article project, we successfully built a Task Management Application using SpringBoot framework and Maven as our dependency management and build tools. We used Fauna as our Cloud datastore. Additionally, we learned how to throw exceptions in our application which ensures that our application is fault-tolerant and resilient. We also learned how to document our API using Swagger . You can clone the project from my GitHub via this link: Task_Management_SpringBoot_Project If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact me via any of my socials:

  • Peter Aideloje LinkedIn
  • Peter Aideloje Twitter

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task management database design

Database design basics

A properly designed database provides you with access to up-to-date, accurate information. Because a correct design is essential to achieving your goals in working with a database, investing the time required to learn the principles of good design makes sense. In the end, you are much more likely to end up with a database that meets your needs and can easily accommodate change.

This article provides guidelines for planning a desktop database. You will learn how to decide what information you need, how to divide that information into the appropriate tables and columns, and how those tables relate to each other. You should read this article before you create your first desktop database.

In this article

Some database terms to know, what is good database design, the design process, determining the purpose of your database, finding and organizing the required information, dividing the information into tables, turning information items into columns, specifying primary keys, creating the table relationships, refining the design, applying the normalization rules.

Access organizes your information into tables : lists of rows and columns reminiscent of an accountant’s pad or a spreadsheet. In a simple database, you might have only one table. For most databases you will need more than one. For example, you might have a table that stores information about products, another table that stores information about orders, and another table with information about customers.

Each row is more correctly called a record , and each column, a field . A record is a meaningful and consistent way to combine information about something. A field is a single item of information — an item type that appears in every record. In the Products table, for instance, each row or record would hold information about one product. Each column or field holds some type of information about that product, such as its name or price.

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Certain principles guide the database design process. The first principle is that duplicate information (also called redundant data) is bad, because it wastes space and increases the likelihood of errors and inconsistencies. The second principle is that the correctness and completeness of information is important. If your database contains incorrect information, any reports that pull information from the database will also contain incorrect information. As a result, any decisions you make that are based on those reports will then be misinformed.

A good database design is, therefore, one that:

Divides your information into subject-based tables to reduce redundant data.

Provides Access with the information it requires to join the information in the tables together as needed.

Helps support and ensure the accuracy and integrity of your information.

Accommodates your data processing and reporting needs.

The design process consists of the following steps:

Determine the purpose of your database     

This helps prepare you for the remaining steps.

Find and organize the information required     

Gather all of the types of information you might want to record in the database, such as product name and order number.

Divide the information into tables     

Divide your information items into major entities or subjects, such as Products or Orders. Each subject then becomes a table.

Turn information items into columns     

Decide what information you want to store in each table. Each item becomes a field, and is displayed as a column in the table. For example, an Employees table might include fields such as Last Name and Hire Date.

Specify primary keys     

Choose each table’s primary key. The primary key is a column that is used to uniquely identify each row. An example might be Product ID or Order ID.

Set up the table relationships     

Look at each table and decide how the data in one table is related to the data in other tables. Add fields to tables or create new tables to clarify the relationships, as necessary.

Refine your design     

Analyze your design for errors. Create the tables and add a few records of sample data. See if you can get the results you want from your tables. Make adjustments to the design, as needed.

Apply the normalization rules     

Apply the data normalization rules to see if your tables are structured correctly. Make adjustments to the tables, as needed.

It is a good idea to write down the purpose of the database on paper — its purpose, how you expect to use it, and who will use it. For a small database for a home based business, for example, you might write something simple like "The customer database keeps a list of customer information for the purpose of producing mailings and reports." If the database is more complex or is used by many people, as often occurs in a corporate setting, the purpose could easily be a paragraph or more and should include when and how each person will use the database. The idea is to have a well developed mission statement that can be referred to throughout the design process. Having such a statement helps you focus on your goals when you make decisions.

To find and organize the information required, start with your existing information. For example, you might record purchase orders in a ledger or keep customer information on paper forms in a file cabinet. Gather those documents and list each type of information shown (for example, each box that you fill in on a form). If you don't have any existing forms, imagine instead that you have to design a form to record the customer information. What information would you put on the form? What fill-in boxes would you create? Identify and list each of these items. For example, suppose you currently keep the customer list on index cards. Examining these cards might show that each card holds a customers name, address, city, state, postal code and telephone number. Each of these items represents a potential column in a table.

As you prepare this list, don’t worry about getting it perfect at first. Instead, list each item that comes to mind. If someone else will be using the database, ask for their ideas, too. You can fine-tune the list later.

Next, consider the types of reports or mailings you might want to produce from the database. For instance, you might want a product sales report to show sales by region, or an inventory summary report that shows product inventory levels. You might also want to generate form letters to send to customers that announces a sale event or offers a premium. Design the report in your mind, and imagine what it would look like. What information would you place on the report? List each item. Do the same for the form letter and for any other report you anticipate creating.

Giving thought to the reports and mailings you might want to create helps you identify items you will need in your database. For example, suppose you give customers the opportunity to opt in to (or out of) periodic e-mail updates, and you want to print a listing of those who have opted in. To record that information, you add a “Send e-mail” column to the customer table. For each customer, you can set the field to Yes or No.

The requirement to send e-mail messages to customers suggests another item to record. Once you know that a customer wants to receive e-mail messages, you will also need to know the e-mail address to which to send them. Therefore you need to record an e-mail address for each customer.

It makes good sense to construct a prototype of each report or output listing and consider what items you will need to produce the report. For instance, when you examine a form letter, a few things might come to mind. If you want to include a proper salutation — for example, the "Mr.", "Mrs." or "Ms." string that starts a greeting, you will have to create a salutation item. Also, you might typically start a letter with “Dear Mr. Smith”, rather than “Dear. Mr. Sylvester Smith”. This suggests you would typically want to store the last name separate from the first name.

A key point to remember is that you should break each piece of information into its smallest useful parts. In the case of a name, to make the last name readily available, you will break the name into two parts — First Name and Last Name. To sort a report by last name, for example, it helps to have the customer's last name stored separately. In general, if you want to sort, search, calculate, or report based on an item of information, you should put that item in its own field.

Think about the questions you might want the database to answer. For instance, how many sales of your featured product did you close last month? Where do your best customers live? Who is the supplier for your best-selling product? Anticipating these questions helps you zero in on additional items to record.

After gathering this information, you are ready for the next step.

To divide the information into tables, choose the major entities, or subjects. For example, after finding and organizing information for a product sales database, the preliminary list might look like this:

The major entities shown here are the products, the suppliers, the customers, and the orders. Therefore, it makes sense to start out with these four tables: one for facts about products, one for facts about suppliers, one for facts about customers, and one for facts about orders. Although this doesn’t complete the list, it is a good starting point. You can continue to refine this list until you have a design that works well.

When you first review the preliminary list of items, you might be tempted to place them all in a single table, instead of the four shown in the preceding illustration. You will learn here why that is a bad idea. Consider for a moment, the table shown here:

In this case, each row contains information about both the product and its supplier. Because you can have many products from the same supplier, the supplier name and address information has to be repeated many times. This wastes disk space. Recording the supplier information only once in a separate Suppliers table, and then linking that table to the Products table, is a much better solution.

A second problem with this design comes about when you need to modify information about the supplier. For example, suppose you need to change a supplier's address. Because it appears in many places, you might accidentally change the address in one place but forget to change it in the others. Recording the supplier’s address in only one place solves the problem.

When you design your database, always try to record each fact just once. If you find yourself repeating the same information in more than one place, such as the address for a particular supplier, place that information in a separate table.

Finally, suppose there is only one product supplied by Coho Winery, and you want to delete the product, but retain the supplier name and address information. How would you delete the product record without also losing the supplier information? You can't. Because each record contains facts about a product, as well as facts about a supplier, you cannot delete one without deleting the other. To keep these facts separate, you must split the one table into two: one table for product information, and another table for supplier information. Deleting a product record should delete only the facts about the product, not the facts about the supplier.

Once you have chosen the subject that is represented by a table, columns in that table should store facts only about the subject. For instance, the product table should store facts only about products. Because the supplier address is a fact about the supplier, and not a fact about the product, it belongs in the supplier table.

To determine the columns in a table, decide what information you need to track about the subject recorded in the table. For example, for the Customers table, Name, Address, City-State-Zip, Send e-mail, Salutation and E-mail address comprise a good starting list of columns. Each record in the table contains the same set of columns, so you can store Name, Address, City-State-Zip, Send e-mail, Salutation and E-mail address information for each record. For example, the address column contains customers’ addresses. Each record contains data about one customer, and the address field contains the address for that customer.

Once you have determined the initial set of columns for each table, you can further refine the columns. For example, it makes sense to store the customer name as two separate columns: first name and last name, so that you can sort, search, and index on just those columns. Similarly, the address actually consists of five separate components, address, city, state, postal code, and country/region, and it also makes sense to store them in separate columns. If you want to perform a search, filter or sort operation by state, for example, you need the state information stored in a separate column.

You should also consider whether the database will hold information that is of domestic origin only, or international, as well. For instance, if you plan to store international addresses, it is better to have a Region column instead of State, because such a column can accommodate both domestic states and the regions of other countries/regions. Similarly, Postal Code makes more sense than Zip Code if you are going to store international addresses.

The following list shows a few tips for determining your columns.

Don’t include calculated data     

In most cases, you should not store the result of calculations in tables. Instead, you can have Access perform the calculations when you want to see the result. For example, suppose there is a Products On Order report that displays the subtotal of units on order for each category of product in the database. However, there is no Units On Order subtotal column in any table. Instead, the Products table includes a Units On Order column that stores the units on order for each product. Using that data, Access calculates the subtotal each time you print the report. The subtotal itself should not be stored in a table.

Store information in its smallest logical parts     

You may be tempted to have a single field for full names, or for product names along with product descriptions. If you combine more than one kind of information in a field, it is difficult to retrieve individual facts later. Try to break down information into logical parts; for example, create separate fields for first and last name, or for product name, category, and description.

Once you have refined the data columns in each table, you are ready to choose each table's primary key.

Each table should include a column or set of columns that uniquely identifies each row stored in the table. This is often a unique identification number, such as an employee ID number or a serial number. In database terminology, this information is called the primary key of the table. Access uses primary key fields to quickly associate data from multiple tables and bring the data together for you.

If you already have a unique identifier for a table, such as a product number that uniquely identifies each product in your catalog, you can use that identifier as the table’s primary key — but only if the values in this column will always be different for each record. You cannot have duplicate values in a primary key. For example, don’t use people’s names as a primary key, because names are not unique. You could easily have two people with the same name in the same table.

A primary key must always have a value. If a column's value can become unassigned or unknown (a missing value) at some point, it can't be used as a component in a primary key.

You should always choose a primary key whose value will not change. In a database that uses more than one table, a table’s primary key can be used as a reference in other tables. If the primary key changes, the change must also be applied everywhere the key is referenced. Using a primary key that will not change reduces the chance that the primary key might become out of sync with other tables that reference it.

Often, an arbitrary unique number is used as the primary key. For example, you might assign each order a unique order number. The order number's only purpose is to identify an order. Once assigned, it never changes.

If you don’t have in mind a column or set of columns that might make a good primary key, consider using a column that has the AutoNumber data type. When you use the AutoNumber data type, Access automatically assigns a value for you. Such an identifier is factless; it contains no factual information describing the row that it represents. Factless identifiers are ideal for use as a primary key because they do not change. A primary key that contains facts about a row — a telephone number or a customer name, for example — is more likely to change, because the factual information itself might change.

1. A column set to the AutoNumber data type often makes a good primary key. No two product IDs are the same.

In some cases, you may want to use two or more fields that, together, provide the primary key of a table. For example, an Order Details table that stores line items for orders would use two columns in its primary key: Order ID and Product ID. When a primary key employs more than one column, it is also called a composite key.

For the product sales database, you can create an AutoNumber column for each of the tables to serve as primary key: ProductID for the Products table, OrderID for the Orders table, CustomerID for the Customers table, and SupplierID for the Suppliers table.

Now that you have divided your information into tables, you need a way to bring the information together again in meaningful ways. For example, the following form includes information from several tables.

1. Information in this form comes from the Customers table...

2. ...the Employees table...

3. ...the Orders table...

4. ...the Products table...

5. ...and the Order Details table.

Access is a relational database management system. In a relational database, you divide your information into separate, subject-based tables. You then use table relationships to bring the information together as needed.

Creating a one-to-many relationship

Consider this example: the Suppliers and Products tables in the product orders database. A supplier can supply any number of products. It follows that for any supplier represented in the Suppliers table, there can be many products represented in the Products table. The relationship between the Suppliers table and the Products table is, therefore, a one-to-many relationship.

To represent a one-to-many relationship in your database design, take the primary key on the "one" side of the relationship and add it as an additional column or columns to the table on the "many" side of the relationship. In this case, for example, you add the Supplier ID column from the Suppliers table to the Products table. Access can then use the supplier ID number in the Products table to locate the correct supplier for each product.

The Supplier ID column in the Products table is called a foreign key. A foreign key is another table’s primary key. The Supplier ID column in the Products table is a foreign key because it is also the primary key in the Suppliers table.

You provide the basis for joining related tables by establishing pairings of primary keys and foreign keys. If you are not sure which tables should share a common column, identifying a one-to-many relationship ensures that the two tables involved will, indeed, require a shared column.

Creating a many-to-many relationship

Consider the relationship between the Products table and Orders table.

A single order can include more than one product. On the other hand, a single product can appear on many orders. Therefore, for each record in the Orders table, there can be many records in the Products table. And for each record in the Products table, there can be many records in the Orders table. This type of relationship is called a many-to-many relationship because for any product, there can be many orders; and for any order, there can be many products. Note that to detect many-to-many relationships between your tables, it is important that you consider both sides of the relationship.

The subjects of the two tables — orders and products — have a many-to-many relationship. This presents a problem. To understand the problem, imagine what would happen if you tried to create the relationship between the two tables by adding the Product ID field to the Orders table. To have more than one product per order, you need more than one record in the Orders table per order. You would be repeating order information for each row that relates to a single order — resulting in an inefficient design that could lead to inaccurate data. You run into the same problem if you put the Order ID field in the Products table — you would have more than one record in the Products table for each product. How do you solve this problem?

The answer is to create a third table, often called a junction table, that breaks down the many-to-many relationship into two one-to-many relationships. You insert the primary key from each of the two tables into the third table. As a result, the third table records each occurrence or instance of the relationship.

Each record in the Order Details table represents one line item on an order. The Order Details table’s primary key consists of two fields — the foreign keys from the Orders and the Products tables. Using the Order ID field alone doesn’t work as the primary key for this table, because one order can have many line items. The Order ID is repeated for each line item on an order, so the field doesn’t contain unique values. Using the Product ID field alone doesn’t work either, because one product can appear on many different orders. But together, the two fields always produce a unique value for each record.

In the product sales database, the Orders table and the Products table are not related to each other directly. Instead, they are related indirectly through the Order Details table. The many-to-many relationship between orders and products is represented in the database by using two one-to-many relationships:

The Orders table and Order Details table have a one-to-many relationship. Each order can have more than one line item, but each line item is connected to only one order.

The Products table and Order Details table have a one-to-many relationship. Each product can have many line items associated with it, but each line item refers to only one product.

From the Order Details table, you can determine all of the products on a particular order. You can also determine all of the orders for a particular product.

After incorporating the Order Details table, the list of tables and fields might look something like this:

Creating a one-to-one relationship

Another type of relationship is the one-to-one relationship. For instance, suppose you need to record some special supplementary product information that you will need rarely or that only applies to a few products. Because you don't need the information often, and because storing the information in the Products table would result in empty space for every product to which it doesn’t apply, you place it in a separate table. Like the Products table, you use the ProductID as the primary key. The relationship between this supplemental table and the Product table is a one-to-one relationship. For each record in the Product table, there exists a single matching record in the supplemental table. When you do identify such a relationship, both tables must share a common field.

When you detect the need for a one-to-one relationship in your database, consider whether you can put the information from the two tables together in one table. If you don’t want to do that for some reason, perhaps because it would result in a lot of empty space, the following list shows how you would represent the relationship in your design:

If the two tables have the same subject, you can probably set up the relationship by using the same primary key in both tables.

If the two tables have different subjects with different primary keys, choose one of the tables (either one) and insert its primary key in the other table as a foreign key.

Determining the relationships between tables helps you ensure that you have the right tables and columns. When a one-to-one or one-to-many relationship exists, the tables involved need to share a common column or columns. When a many-to-many relationship exists, a third table is needed to represent the relationship.

Once you have the tables, fields, and relationships you need, you should create and populate your tables with sample data and try working with the information: creating queries, adding new records, and so on. Doing this helps highlight potential problems — for example, you might need to add a column that you forgot to insert during your design phase, or you may have a table that you should split into two tables to remove duplication.

See if you can use the database to get the answers you want. Create rough drafts of your forms and reports and see if they show the data you expect. Look for unnecessary duplication of data and, when you find any, alter your design to eliminate it.

As you try out your initial database, you will probably discover room for improvement. Here are a few things to check for:

Did you forget any columns? If so, does the information belong in the existing tables? If it is information about something else, you may need to create another table. Create a column for every information item you need to track. If the information can’t be calculated from other columns, it is likely that you will need a new column for it.

Are any columns unnecessary because they can be calculated from existing fields? If an information item can be calculated from other existing columns — a discounted price calculated from the retail price, for example — it is usually better to do just that, and avoid creating new column.

Are you repeatedly entering duplicate information in one of your tables? If so, you probably need to divide the table into two tables that have a one-to-many relationship.

Do you have tables with many fields, a limited number of records, and many empty fields in individual records? If so, think about redesigning the table so it has fewer fields and more records.

Has each information item been broken into its smallest useful parts? If you need to report, sort, search, or calculate on an item of information, put that item in its own column.

Does each column contain a fact about the table's subject? If a column does not contain information about the table's subject, it belongs in a different table.

Are all relationships between tables represented, either by common fields or by a third table? One-to-one and one-to- many relationships require common columns. Many-to-many relationships require a third table.

Refining the Products table

Suppose that each product in the product sales database falls under a general category, such as beverages, condiments, or seafood. The Products table could include a field that shows the category of each product.

Suppose that after examining and refining the design of the database, you decide to store a description of the category along with its name. If you add a Category Description field to the Products table, you have to repeat each category description for each product that falls under the category — this is not a good solution.

A better solution is to make Categories a new subject for the database to track, with its own table and its own primary key. You can then add the primary key from the Categories table to the Products table as a foreign key.

The Categories and Products tables have a one-to-many relationship: a category can include more than one product, but a product can belong to only one category.

When you review your table structures, be on the lookout for repeating groups. For example, consider a table containing the following columns:

Product ID1

Product ID2

Product ID3

Here, each product is a repeating group of columns that differs from the others only by adding a number to the end of the column name. When you see columns numbered this way, you should revisit your design.

Such a design has several flaws. For starters, it forces you to place an upper limit on the number of products. As soon as you exceed that limit, you must add a new group of columns to the table structure, which is a major administrative task.

Another problem is that those suppliers that have fewer than the maximum number of products will waste some space, since the additional columns will be blank. The most serious flaw with such a design is that it makes many tasks difficult to perform, such as sorting or indexing the table by product ID or name.

Whenever you see repeating groups review the design closely with an eye on splitting the table in two. In the above example it is better to use two tables, one for suppliers and one for products, linked by supplier ID.

You can apply the data normalization rules (sometimes just called normalization rules) as the next step in your design. You use these rules to see if your tables are structured correctly. The process of applying the rules to your database design is called normalizing the database, or just normalization.

Normalization is most useful after you have represented all of the information items and have arrived at a preliminary design. The idea is to help you ensure that you have divided your information items into the appropriate tables. What normalization cannot do is ensure that you have all the correct data items to begin with.

You apply the rules in succession, at each step ensuring that your design arrives at one of what is known as the "normal forms." Five normal forms are widely accepted — the first normal form through the fifth normal form. This article expands on the first three, because they are all that is required for the majority of database designs.

First normal form

First normal form states that at every row and column intersection in the table there, exists a single value, and never a list of values. For example, you cannot have a field named Price in which you place more than one Price. If you think of each intersection of rows and columns as a cell, each cell can hold only one value.

Second normal form

Second normal form requires that each non-key column be fully dependent on the entire primary key, not on just part of the key. This rule applies when you have a primary key that consists of more than one column. For example, suppose you have a table containing the following columns, where Order ID and Product ID form the primary key:

Order ID (primary key)

Product ID (primary key)

Product Name

This design violates second normal form, because Product Name is dependent on Product ID, but not on Order ID, so it is not dependent on the entire primary key. You must remove Product Name from the table. It belongs in a different table (Products).

Third normal form

Third normal form requires that not only every non-key column be dependent on the entire primary key, but that non-key columns be independent of each other.

Another way of saying this is that each non-key column must be dependent on the primary key and nothing but the primary key. For example, suppose you have a table containing the following columns:

ProductID (primary key)

Assume that Discount depends on the suggested retail price (SRP). This table violates third normal form because a non-key column, Discount, depends on another non-key column, SRP. Column independence means that you should be able to change any non-key column without affecting any other column. If you change a value in the SRP field, the Discount would change accordingly, thus violating that rule. In this case Discount should be moved to another table that is keyed on SRP.

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Online Programming Lessons, Tutorials and Capstone Project guide

Task Management System ER Diagram

The capstone project entitled Task Management System is an online platform for monitoring task or activities of a certain project. This is an example of collaborative software wherein multiple workers can work on 1 project by dividing the task to each member.

You may visit the read the articles posted on task management system

  • Task management system database design
  • Task management system Capstone Project

This article will discuss the step by step process on how to prepare the entity relationship diagram or ERD of the project entitled Task Management System.

The first step in the development of the Task Management System is to prepare the ER diagram that will serve as the basis later on in the creation of the actual database.

We will create and explain the process of making the entity relationship diagram of Task Management System.

Let’s start from the symbols used in the ER Diagram.

Entity is represented by the rectangle shape. The entity will be our database table of Task Management System later on.

Attribute is represented by the oval shape. This will be the columns or fields of each table in the Task Management System.

Relationship is represented by diamond shape. This will determine the relationships among entities. This is usually in a form of primary key to foreign key connection.

We will follow the 3 basic rules in creating the ER Diagram.

  • Identify all the entities.
  • Identify the relationship between entities and
  • Add meaningful attributes to our entities.

Step 1 . In the Task Management System we have the following entities

  • Task Category
  • Task Update
  • Project Manager

Our design of Task Management System consists of 7 entities; the specified entities will be our database tables in the design and implementation of Task Management database schema.

We will now draw the entities of the Task Management System specified above and it will be represented by a rectangle shape. The image below is the entities identified in the scope of the Task Management System.

Task Management System ER Diagram - Step 1 Identify Entities

Step 2 . After we have specified our entities, it is time now to connect or establish a relationship among the entities.

Task Management System ER Diagram - Step 2 Table Relationship

  • The administrator will first encode or approve the list of tasks requested by the clients (1 to many relationship).
  • The administrator also encodes and manages tasks category (1 to many relationship).
  • The client request for several tasks (1 to many relationship).
  • A task belongs to a specific category (1 to 1 relationship).
  • The project manager will assign the task to every member or employee (1 to many relationship).
  • The task has several update information (1 to many relationship).
  • The members of the project will post an update regarding their specific task (1 to many relationship). Every task update can be viewed by the project manager and the client.

Step 3 . The last part of the ERD process is to add attributes to our entities.

Task Management System ER Diagram - Step 3 Complete ERD

Admin Entity has the following attributes:

  • ID – primary key represented with underline

Employee Entity has the following attributes:

Task Entity has the following attributes:

  • Description
  • Category ID – foreign key
  • Client ID – foreign key
  • Admin ID – foreign key
  • Manager ID – foreign key

Task Category Entity has the following attributes:

Task Update Entity has the following attributes:

  • Task ID – foreign key
  • Update Info
  • Employee ID
  • Date Updated

Client Entity has the following attributes:

Project Manager Entity has the following attributes:

Note: all attributes with underline represents the primary key of the entity or table.

The next step is to convert the plan designed on ER Diagram into the actual database, please search for the Task Management System article which was already posted.

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Database Design in DBMS

Database Design can be defined as a set of procedures or collection of tasks involving various steps taken to implement a database. Following are some critical points to keep in mind to achieve a good database design:

  • Data consistency and integrity must be maintained.
  • Low Redundancy
  • Faster searching through indices
  • Security measures should be taken by enforcing various integrity constraints.
  • Data should be stored in fragmented bits of information in the most atomic format possible.

However, depending on specific requirements above criteria might change. But these are the most common things that ensure a good database design.

What are the Following Steps that can be taken by a Database Designer to Ensure Good Database Design?

Step 1: Determine the goal of your database, and ensure clear communication with the stakeholders (if any). Understanding the purpose of a database will help in thinking of various use cases & where the problem may arise & how we can prevent it.

Step 2: List down all the entities that will be present in the database & what relationships exist among them.

Step 3: Organize the information into different tables such that no or very little redundancy is there.

Step 4: Ensure uniqueness in every table. The uniqueness of records present in any relation is a very crucial part of database design that helps us avoid redundancy. Identify the key attributes to uniquely identify every row from columns. You can use various key constraints to ensure the uniqueness of your table, also keep in mind the uniquely identifying records must consume as little space as possible & shall not contain any NULL values.

Step 5: After all the tables are structured, and information is organized apply Normalization Forms to identify anomalies that may arise & redundancy that can cause inconsistency in the database.

Primary Terminologies Used in Database Design

Following are the terminologies that a person should be familiar with before designing a database:

  • Redundancy : Redundancy refers to the duplicity of the data. There can be specific use cases when we need or don’t need redundancy in our Database. For ex: If we have a banking system application then we may need to strictly prevent redundancy in our Database.
  • Schema : Schema is a logical container that defines the structure & manages the organization of the data stored in it. It consists of rows and columns having data types for each column.
  • Records/Tuples : A Record or a tuple is the same thing, basically its where our data is stored inside a table
  • Indexing : Indexing is a data structure technique to promote efficient retrieval of the data stored in our database.
  • Data Integrity & Consistency: Data integrity refers to the quality of the information stored in our database and consistency refers to the correctness of the data stored.
  • Data Models: Data models provide us with visual modeling techniques to visualize the data & the relationship that exists among those data. Ex: model, Network Model, Object Oriented Model, Hierarchical model, etc.
  • Functional Dependency: Functional Dependency is a relationship between two attributes of the table that represents that the value of one attribute can be determined by another. Ex: { A -> B}, A & B are two attributes and attribute A can uniquely determine the value of B.
  • Transaction: Transaction is a single logical unit of work. It signifies that some changes are made in the database. A transaction must satisfy the ACID or BASE properties (depending on the type of Database).
  • Schedule: Schedule defines the sequence of transactions in which they’re executed by one or multiple users.
  • Concurrency: Concurrency refers to allowing multiple transactions to operate simultaneously without interfering with one another.

Database Design Lifecycle

The database design lifecycle goes something like this:

db-design

Lifecycle of Database Design

1. Requirement Analysis

It’s very crucial to understand the requirements of our application so that you can think in productive terms. And imply appropriate integrity constraints to maintain the data integrity & consistency.

2. Logical & Physical Design

This is the actual design phase that involves various steps that are to be taken while designing a database. This phase is further divided into two stages:

  • Logical Data Model Design: This phase consists of coming up with a high-level design of our database based on initially gathered requirements to structure & organize our data accordingly. A high-level overview on paper is made of the database without considering the physical level design, this phase proceeds by identifying the kind of data to be stored and what relationship will exist among those data. Entity, Key attributes identification & what constraints are to be implemented is the core functionality of this phase. It involves techniques such as Data Modeling to visualize data, normalization to prevent redundancy, etc.
  • Physical Design of Data Model: This phase involves the implementation of the logical design made in the previous stage. All the relationships among data and integrity constraints are implemented to maintain consistency & generate the actual database.

3. Data Insertion and testing for various integrity Constraints

Finally, after implementing the physical design of the database, we’re ready to input the data & test our integrity. This phase involves testing our database for its integrity to see if something got left out or, if anything new to add & then integrating it with the desired application.

Logical Data Model Design

The logical data model design defines the structure of data and what relationship exists among those data. The following are the major components of the logical design:

1. Data Models : Data modeling is a visual modeling technique used to get a high-level overview of our database. Data models help us understand the needs and requirements of our database by defining the design of our database through diagrammatic representation. Ex: model, Network model, Relational Model, object-oriented data model.

Data-Models

Data Models

2. Entity : Entities are objects in the real world, which can have certain properties & these properties are referred to as attributes of that particular entity. There are 2 types of entities: Strong and weak entity, weak entity do not have a key attribute to identify them, their existence solely depends on one 1-specific strong entity & also have full participation in a relationship whereas strong entity does have a key attribute to uniquely identify them.

Weak entity example: Loan -> Loan will be given to a customer (which is optional) & the load will be identified by the customer_id to whom the lone is granted.

3. Relationships : How data is logically related to each other defines the relationship of that data with other entities. In simple words, the association of one entity with another is defined here.

A relationship can be further categorized into – unary, binary, and ternary relationships.

  • Unary : In this, the associating entity & the associated entity both are the same. Ex: Employee Manages themselves, and students are also given the post of monitor hence here the student themselves is a monitor.
  • Binary: This is a very common relationship that you will come across while designing a database. Ex: Student is enrolled in courses, Employee is managed by different managers, One student can be taught by many professors.
  • Ternary: In this, we have 3 entities involved in a single relationship. Ex: an employee works on a project for a client. Note that, here we have 3 entities: Employee, Project & Client.

4. Attributes : Attributes are nothing but properties of a specific entity that define its behavior. For example, an employee can have unique_id, name, age, date of birth (DOB), salary, department, Manager, project id, etc.

5. Normalization : After all the entities are put in place and the relationship among data is defined, we need to look for loopholes or possible ambiguities that may arise as a result of CRUD operations. To prevent various Anomalies such as INSERTION, UPDATION, and DELETION Anomalies.

Data Normalization is a basic procedure defined for databases to eliminate such anomalies & prevent redundancy.

An Example of Logical Design

logical-design

Logical Design Example

Physical Design

The main purpose of the physical design is to actually implement the logical design that is, show the structure of the database along with all the columns & their data types, rows, relations, relationships among data & clearly define how relations are related to each other.

Following are the steps taken in physical design

Step 1: Entities are converted into tables or relations that consist of their properties (attributes)

Step 2: Apply integrity constraints: establish foreign key, unique key, and composite key relationships among the data. And apply various constraints.

Step 3: Entity names are converted into table names, property names are translated into attribute names, and so on.

Step 4: Apply normalization & modify as per the requirements.

Step 5: Final Schemes are defined based on the entities & attributes derived in logical design.

physical-design

In conclusion, a good database design is an essential part of a strong database management system (DBMS). It provides the basis for data governance, data storage, and data retrieval. The quality of a database has a direct impact on a system’s overall performance and dependability. It is important to consider data organization, standardization, performance, integrity, and more when designing a database to meet the needs of your organization and your users.

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Best free task management software in 2024

Mehdi Punjwani

Sierra Campbell

Sierra Campbell

“Verified by an expert” means that this article has been thoroughly reviewed and evaluated for accuracy.

Published 7:24 a.m. UTC Feb. 15, 2024

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A good task management software will give you the tools you need to organize projects for your business and help individuals, teams and businesses stay organized and productive. They offer a range of features and capabilities depending on the complexities of your business and projects, allowing you to set deadlines, assign tasks to team members, allocate resources and track and report on progress.

Finding the best task management software for your business means considering a range of factors, like the core features on offer, the customer service you’ll get and the ability to scale up according to your needs. We’ve tried and tested some of the biggest platforms available to give you our list of best task management software in 2024.

Best free task management software

  • Notion : Best for flexibility.
  • ClickUp : Best for customization.
  • Trello : Best for automation.
  • Hive : Best for collaboration.
  • Zoho Projects : Best for startups using Zoho.
  • Teamwork : Best for client task management.
  • Monday : Best for individuals and freelancers.
  • Asana : Best for complex tasks.
  • Podio : Best for app building.
  • GoodDay : Best for scaling up.

Why trust our small business experts

Our team of experts evaluates hundreds of business products and analyzes thousands of data points to help you find the best product for your situation. We use a data-driven methodology to determine each rating. Advertisers do not influence our editorial content. You can read more about our methodology below.

  • 62 companies reviewed.
  • 164 products reviewed.
  • 2,028 data points analyzed.

Best for flexibility

Notion

Cheapest paid plan (billed monthly)

Number of users, number of projects/tasks, what you should know.

Notion is a versatile task management platform that gives you a high degree of control and customization even on its free plan. With an abundance of views and formats, including Kanban boards, Gantt charts, calendar views and to-do lists, it offers users multiple ways to track and organize projects. You can also make use of thousands of templates built by Notion and its users, catering to an array of health and fitness, work and office and day-to-day home management needs.

You won’t need to pay anything to get unlimited pages and workflows as an individual, but you’ll need to upgrade to give multiple users full functionality. While you can upload unlimited files on the free plan, you’ll be limited to 5 MB per file, as well as a seven-day history and one synced database.

We’d recommend it if you want to use one platform to manage a variety of project and task types with flexible views and displays; it’s particularly good for content creators.

Pros and cons

  • Multiple views, including Kanban boards, Gantt charts and to-do lists.
  • Thousands of versatile templates for things like health and fitness, work and home.
  • Free version offers individuals unlimited pages and workflows.
  • Custom automation features only available on paid plans.
  • Maximum file upload of 5 MB on free plan.
  • Limited admin and security features on free plan.

Best for customization

ClickUp

ClickUp’s free platform gives you a highly capable and customizable task management platform with an unlimited number of tasks and members. It also offers 24/7 customer service on all plans. You’ll be able to view tasks in unlimited lists, boards and calendars, but you’ll only get 60 uses of Gantt charts, timelines and workloads.

The free plan also allows custom statuses and up to 20 custom task types, as well as other useful features like multiple assignees, checklists, dependencies and a basic custom field manager. However, you’ll only be able to create five “spaces” as part of the free plan — unlimited spaces are only available on paid plans. There are also no time-tracking features and very limited other reporting capabilities.

  • Free version offers unlimited free plan members and tasks.
  • A range of views, including Kanban boards and Gantt charts.
  • 24/7 customer support on all plans.
  • Limits on how many views, custom fields and workloads you can use.
  • No time tracking features.
  • Only five ‘spaces’ on free plan.

Best for automation

Trello

While Trello’s free platform only offers its Kanban-style board view, its two main highlights are its automation services and unlimited power-ups. With its Butler automation, you’ll be able to create rules, buttons and commands, and repetitive actions are recognized with suggested automations that help increase productivity. Third-party apps you can integrate include Slack, Jira, Gmail, Microsoft Teams and Google Drive.

You’ll be limited to 10 MB file uploads and only 10 boards per workspace, though with unlimited storage and workspaces for all plans, this isn’t too restrictive. It’s not ideal if you want to see projects and tasks in calendar or timeline views, but as a basic task manager with smart automation tools, it can be a useful platform for individuals and small businesses.

  • Very straightforward and easy to use.
  • Built-in automation features, including an automation bot called Butler.
  • Unlimited power-up feature lets you integrate third-party apps.
  • File uploads are limited to 10 MB per file.
  • You only get up to 10 boards per workspace.
  • Limited view options.

Best for collaboration

Hive

Hive comes with its own native communication tools, allowing for straightforward collaboration with up to 10 workspace members on its free plan. As a task manager, it’s fairly capable, offering unlimited tasks and subtasks as well as multiple views such as Kanban, Gantt, calendars and tables. However, you’ll only get two pages and 100 workflows, and while Kanban views are unlimited, the free plan only offers 100 uses of Gantt, calendar and table views.

Your ability to customize projects and tasks will also be fairly restricted with no custom fields or labels, and your storage limit on the free plan will be 200 MB overall. Its free plan also comes without a few other features, such as AI assists, custom dashboards and analytics. We’d recommend it as a simple free task manager for small teams working together that will benefit from its native collaborative tools.

  • Native collaboration and communication tools.
  • Multiple views and layouts.
  • Unlimited tasks and sub-tasks.
  • 200 MB storage limit.
  • 10 projects and two pages on free plan.
  • No custom project fields or task labels.

Best for startups using Zoho

Zoho projects.

Zoho Projects

Zoho offers a project manager as part of its larger suite of tools and products, offering a free version for up to three users as well as a 10-day free trial on its paid plans. You’ll be able to manage two projects, create feeds, share documents and custom statuses and set up task dependencies within projects. It’s particularly useful for startups already making use of other Zoho products like CRM, Meeting and Sprints, all of which integrate into the free platform.

You can also use third-party app integrations for Microsoft Teams and Office 365, Slack, Dropbox, Zendesk and Zapier. However, there are some significant limitations to the free version, including limited customization — you can’t create custom fields or views, and there are only basic reporting capabilities.

  • Integrates with Zoho CRM, Meeting and Sprints.
  • Straightforward and easy to use.
  • Offers useful core features, including document sharing, subtasks and custom statuses.
  • Only three users and two projects on free plan.
  • No Gantt charts, custom views, time tracking or custom fields.

Best for client task management

Teamwork

Teamwork will be particularly useful for agencies needing to manage client tasks, as it comes with built-in billable time-tracking features and estimated time management. It also offers client-level insights and client-company management, though you’ll only get client users with premium paid plans. With Teamwork, you’ll also get a range of automation features, including automatic Slack updates, HubSpot deals and Microsoft Teams messages.

It does have drawbacks in the shape of limited reporting capabilities — while all plans come with a dashboard, only premium paid plans offer reports on status, portfolio health, time, utilization and profitability. You also won’t have any phone, live chat or email support options on its free plan.

  • Billable time-tracking and invoicing features useful for agencies.
  • Client views and management features.
  • Wide range of automation features.
  • No phone, live chat or email support.
  • Limited reporting and customization options.
  • No client users on free plan.

Best for individuals and freelancers

Monday

Monday is a popular task management platform with businesses worldwide, but we’d recommend its free plan specifically for individuals and freelancers managing their businesses. It offers a straightforward Kanban interface only, with over 200 templates available, so you’ll be able to create up to three boards with two users and unlimited documents.

However, Monday’s free plan is missing a number of wider features like timeline, Gantt and calendar views, as well as offering no integrations or automations. It’s a relatively simplistic platform compared to others, so we’d recommend it more for individuals than teams that will need more advanced collaboration and reporting capabilities.

  • Over 200 templates available.
  • Apps for iOS and Android.
  • Intuitive and easy to use interface.
  • No integrations on free version.
  • Only offers Kanban view.

Best for complex tasks

Asana

We’d recommend Asana’s powerful platform as an ideal choice for small businesses managing complex tasks or projects with plenty of moving parts. With unlimited tasks, projects, file storage, assignees and messages alongside multiple views such as boards, calendars and lists all included on its free plan, it’s a capable piece of software. You’ll also have access to over 100 free third-party integrations such as Microsoft Teams, Adobe Creative Cloud, Okta and Tableau.

However, you won’t be able to use timelines, Gantt views, goals or portfolios with the free plan, nor time-tracking, workflows or various automation features. The free plan is also fairly limited when it comes to reporting, with only status updates and CSV and PDF exports available.

  • Unlimited project management essential features.
  • Multiple views available.
  • Over 100 free integrations.
  • Limited reporting features.
  • No 24/7 support.

Best for app building

Podio

Podio offers a unique solution for businesses that will benefit from building their own customized project management apps to suit their specific needs. As well as the ability to design a bespoke task manager for your team, you’ll have access to hundreds of user-created apps online. It allows you to keep all important aspects of your business and projects in one central place, depending on the requirements of you and your team.

However, its free version is limited in the other features it offers — including the number of items and client users you can support. It also doesn’t offer automated workflows or visual reports, so keep this in mind if you’re considering Podio.

  • You can build your own customizable apps for project management.
  • You’ll also have access to hundreds of pre-made apps.
  • Live chat support available.
  • Limited features on the free plan.
  • Takes a while to set up and customize to your exact specifications.

Best for scaling up

GoodDay

With a robust set of features and capabilities as well as relatively affordable price plans for upgrading, we’d recommend GoodDay for businesses looking to scale up their operations. Its free version is already quite powerful, offering unlimited projects and tasks for up to 15 users, with views including lists, boards, tables, calendars, event summaries and portfolios. You can customize views, priorities, workflows and statuses, as well as set up dependencies, reminders and to-do lists.

Other customization options are only available on paid plans, such as task, project and user fields, as well as task types and IDs. Additionally, many security features and all CRM features are only available when you upgrade, but with the next price plan up only costing $6 per month, it’s an affordable choice for scaling up.

  • Unlimited projects and tasks.
  • Unlimited views, with most available on free plan.
  • Powerful features for big businesses with affordable plans for scaling up.
  • Many customization options unavailable on free plan.
  • No finance, time tracking, chats or automation.

Best task management software comparison

Methodology

We extensively research the key competitors within an industry to determine the best products and services for your business. Our experts identify the factors that matter most to business owners, including pricing, features and customer support, to ensure that our recommendations offer well-rounded products that will meet the needs of various small businesses.

We collect extensive data to narrow our best list to reputable, easy-to-use products with stand-out features at a reasonable price point. And we look at user reviews to ensure that business owners like you are satisfied with our top picks’ services. We use the same rubric to assess companies within a particular space so you can confidently follow our blueprint to the best free task management software.

The best task management software has positive user reviews on customer review sites and app stores. Task management software companies should provide customers with fast and reliable support. Using a combination of phone support, live chat and knowledge bases, customers should be able to quickly resolve issues 24/7.

Task management software should have role assignment features, timelines and dependencies. It should also allow businesses to use customizable templates, track expenses and track milestones.

And the best task management software should offer client access, billing and invoice capabilities and budgeting features.

What is task management software and how does it work?

Task management software is a digital tool you can use as an individual or a business to manage, organize and prioritize tasks. While levels of features and capabilities will vary between platforms, many also offer the ability to communicate between team members, share files and updates and track progress toward objectives. 

You’ll be able to use task management software to create and assign tasks, set deadlines, allocate resources and allow for collaboration between colleagues. These tools can help you and your business increase productivity and efficiency. However, it’s important to be aware of how complex your needs are. 

Some task management programs can be complex and could end up reducing your productivity and organization, which is why it’s so important to find the right platform for your needs.

Benefits of free task management software

Using task management software can offer a number of benefits for individuals and businesses, including:

  • Free forever: A good free task management software will offer unlimited projects or workflows without any extra costs — not just a free trial before you have to pay.
  • Productivity: Task management platforms can increase your team’s productivity through automation, progress tracking and reporting, saving time on repetitive tasks.
  • Centralized workflow: You can use task management software to keep all workflows centralized, allowing easy access for all team members and collaborators to stay updated and informed.
  • Collaboration: You’ll be able to clearly assign roles and allocate resources on projects and tasks to different team members, and many platforms also allow team members to work together and communicate. 
  • Manage big projects: Complex and lengthy projects can be broken down into separate tasks and workflows with multiple teams and team members. 
  • Remote workers: If you rely on remote workers or freelancers, many task management platforms allow all team members to collaborate online from any location.

Who needs task management software?

Task management software can prove useful for a variety of individuals and businesses. You might be a freelancer with a number of client tasks to manage or a hobbyist running a side hustle — in which case, a free task manager will be ideal. 

Likewise, small teams and businesses can also benefit from using task management software to organize and track workflow progress for team projects. A free plan or trial period offers a great way to try out different platforms and products so you can find one that suits your needs best before committing to a paid plan with more features and capabilities required by your business.

How to choose the best task management software

Choosing the best free task management software for your business means considering a range of factors and how each of these will best suit your needs. You will need to think about the core features offered by each platform, as well as whether it plugs into any existing software you have and how easy and intuitive it is to use. 

Additionally, you should look into the customer support options each platform offers, as this will be crucial in case things go wrong and your work is at risk.

Key features to look for

Levels of complexity and customization will vary between platforms, but in general, you should look out for the following features as part of your task management software:

  • Sub-tasks: Key to keeping big projects organized, task managers should allow you to split tasks and assign different deadlines and workers to each sub-task.
  • Views and visualizations: You should also be able to see your tasks and projects in different views, like Kanban dashboards or Gantt charts. You may find these to be limited in free versions of some platforms, so check price plans to ensure you’re getting what you need.
  • Integration: If you have any existing software or hardware in use for your business, such as finance and accounting apps, design tools or communication platforms, it’s worth seeing if these will plug into the task management software you want. It helps keep everything synchronized and centralized.
  • Tracking and reporting: Your task manager should also allow you to track task and project progress against deadlines and objectives, as well as generate reports. 
  • Automation: Some platforms will even offer automation services that let you set up automatic tracking and reporting.
  • Collaboration: Lastly, if you’re managing a team’s workload, it’s vital they can work together, so look for task management software that allows for communication and role delegation.

Ease of use

Some task management tools will be relatively simple and easy to use, with intuitive drag-and-drop interfaces that allow for straightforward organization. However, others offer more complex capabilities, including multiple views like Gantt charts, calendars, lists and galleries, automated reporting and collaboration between multiple team members. 

Consider what you’ll need the software for, how many people and tasks you’ll be managing and what kind of insights you’ll want when making your choice.

Security 

You should also factor in any security requirements you might have, especially if you’re a big organization or you use third-party apps, providers or even freelancers. Being able to control access on multiple levels may be particularly important. Additionally, consider things like two-factor authentication, secure sharing and data protection when choosing platforms.

Customer service

If something goes wrong with your task manager, it can affect your business’s ability to complete projects and assure stakeholders of progress. Customer service is a key part of being able to resolve issues, so look for providers that offer both round-the-clock availability and instant contact by phone or live chat as a priority.

How much does task management software cost?

When looking for free task management software, consider whether it’s truly free forever — meaning you’ll have access to all the features on the free plan forever without having to pay. 

While this might mean many advanced features are hidden behind paywalls, you’ll at least be able to rely on the software for your basic needs without restriction. This is in contrast to free trials that often give you access to the entire platform for a limited time, after which you won’t be able to use it without paying.

If you’re looking to try a free plan in order to get a feel for a specific task management software before committing to a paid plan, you’ll likely be more on the lookout for usability as well as scalability. Consider which paid plans offer the most bang for your buck to narrow down your options, but focus on which free software feels the most natural to use for your business. 

You may find that some software platforms offer prices on a per-user basis while others offer a set number of users for each plan. Others may even have a minimum-user requirement, so if they charge a set price per user and require at least three users, you’ll need to pay three times the price you see given as a minimum.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

The best free task management software will depend entirely on your needs and requirements as an individual or business. ClickUp and Notion both offer great customization features, with Notion especially good for content creators.

Paid task management software plans offer a range of extra benefits, including more users or projects, additional features and advanced integrations and security. These will often be more useful for bigger teams and companies managing complex projects with multiple moving parts and stakeholders that need to be kept informed. 

When prioritizing tasks in project management, you should consider the resources available, any dependencies on the task being completed and the urgency of the request. 

Task management software lets you manage multiple tasks at work by allowing you to create, organize and assign tasks, set deadlines, track progress and, if required, add sub-tasks. All tasks are kept in one place and accessible for anyone who needs to see them, often in digestible formats like calendars, boards and timelines.

Improving task management skills will require you to be disciplined and attentive to detail in order to get the best from task management software and boost your productivity. You should: 

  • Focus on prioritizing tasks on your to-do list.
  • Create a manageable schedule for delivery with realistic deadlines. 
  • Ensure you’re communicating with stakeholders to keep everyone on the same page.

The best software will make this easy and help you manage your workload efficiently and effectively — but it’s made even easier when you know you’ve picked the right task management software for your requirements.

Blueprint is an independent publisher and comparison service, not an investment advisor. The information provided is for educational purposes only and we encourage you to seek personalized advice from qualified professionals regarding specific financial decisions. Past performance is not indicative of future results.

Blueprint has an advertiser disclosure policy . The opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Blueprint editorial staff alone. Blueprint adheres to strict editorial integrity standards. The information is accurate as of the publish date, but always check the provider’s website for the most current information.

Mehdi Punjwani

Mehdi is a writer and editor with many years of personal finance expertise under his belt. He's a spirited money-saver, with a passion for making personal finance accessible and manageable. When he isn't writing, Mehdi likes to read about history and travel, hike along coastlines and in forests, and watch his beloved team Manchester United underperform.

Sierra Campbell is a small business editor for USA Today Blueprint. She specializes in writing, editing and fact-checking content centered around helping businesses. She has worked as a digital content and show producer for several local TV stations, an editor for U.S. News & World Report and a freelance writer and editor for many companies. Sierra prides herself in delivering accurate and up-to-date information to readers. Her expertise includes credit card processing companies, e-commerce platforms, payroll software, accounting software and virtual private networks (VPNs). She also owns Editing by Sierra, where she offers editing services to writers of all backgrounds, including self-published and traditionally published authors.

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    Step 1. In the Task Management System we have the following entities Admin Employee Task Task Category Task Update Client Project Manager Our design of Task Management System consists of 7 entities; the specified entities will be our database tables in the design and implementation of Task Management database schema.

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  25. Best Free Task Management Software in 2024

    ClickUp's free platform gives you a highly capable and customizable task management platform with an unlimited number of tasks and members. It also offers 24/7 customer service on all plans.