In an attempt to ride the wave of backronyms like INVEST in your user stories and DEEP product backlogs (though they are now supposedly DEEO ;-)), here's my rule to create task lists for doers.
I am childishly pleased with the backronym, but I'm pretty sure it's not foolproof: can you think of other characteristics that make a good task list? Let me know! Anyhow, here goes…
A task list needs to be:
Each item in the task list should be delegated to one person.
This does not necessarily imply the person is solely responsible, but someone needs to be appointed to ensure task completion.
The task list should be ordered, or rather: it should be possible to order, group and sort items in different ways.
For example, it is often very useful to group tasks by owner and perhaps filter out tasks in progress.
The task list should be exclusive: information should not be spread across different documents or media.
When information is kept in multiple places, it soon becomes difficult to ensure data is properly updated.
This is also called known as the DRY (Don't Repeat Yourself) principle. Hey! Another acro…. backro… whatever-nym.
The task list should be relevant.
Stale information and obsolete tasks of no interest should be deleted or moved to an archive.
The task list should be shared.
What I mean by this is that it should be accessible by everyone involved, and everyone should be able to add and update items in the list.