Many aspects of work and business operations are dramatically changing in several ways. Regardless of your niche or role, you might have recognized some of these. For one, most companies now lean toward project-based tasks. As such, the demand for project managers may soar higher soon than qualified professionals in various occupations.
This increased focus on project management reflects a rising appreciation of the worth of competent project managers in an organization. Apart from handling tasks, deadlines, and budgets, many companies are discovering the need for a reliable project manager for better results and employee satisfaction.
As for the qualities that distinguish a good project manager, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. Someone who knows how to come up with one excellent solution and then moves on to another may be effective, but that’s not the only key trait to look for. In reality, the ideal project manager will work tirelessly to improve current business operations and cultivate a culture of continual progress and process optimization.
What can be considered a project?
A project can take different forms, but generally, it is a one-time, temporary undertaking focusing on specific goals or targets.
These targets can be outputs, outcomes, or benefits. A project is usually considered a success if it meets the objectives based on essential criteria such as time, budget, and quality.
Projects could be large or small depending on the goals or targets. And regardless of scale, all projects must be expertly managed to achieve the intended product, service, or result.
What is a workflow?
A workflow, also known as a business process, is a set of procedures that teams must follow when performing tasks specific to a project or goal. Workflows are reusable and can bring changes or improvements to how a team transitions from one project to another.
Since business processes can be broad, project management is critical for dividing those processes into distinguishable milestones or quantifiable tasks. As such, even the most complex or most extensive project becomes manageable.
Why should you optimize project management workflows?
Again, project management is one way of ensuring the completion of critical tasks within the allowed time and budget. There is no denying the value that project management brings to the table. Besides the project manager, everyone in the organization should be concerned about project management workflows.
Suppose you’re managing several business units. You won’t be able to manage several teams and employees without a dependable project management workflow. A poorly executed workflow among your staff may also result in low productivity and expensive costs.
Most people identify project management as the sole function of a project manager yet fail to account for the project scale or degree. But even the seemingly simple task of sending email campaigns is a project that requires a well-defined workflow.
An optimized project management workflow enhances the efficiency of every aspect of the business. It enables your team to prioritize the activities that matter the most, empowers them to produce results that directly affect the company’s growth, and lets them see how their roles contribute to achieving that growth. Business success would be challenging to attain without a project management workflow.
12 Optimizations to Apply in Your Project Management Workflow
Project management is a dynamic field that necessitates a continuous evaluation of a company’s operations. Here are some of the best improvements to introduce to your day-to-day processes.
- Talent acquisition and human resources management
The first optimization that can make a tremendous difference is human resources management. HR must consistently enhance the process of finding the right people with the appropriate skills to deliver results for the organization.
Not only does it promote a smooth flow of projects, but it also fosters a culture of continuous improvement in the workplace. The capability of a competent team to draw up plans and strategies when performing their responsibilities can influence how well a project turns out.
HR teams should carefully evaluate the skill set of each candidate. You want to onboard professionals who can help build a strong team for the company. Take the time to validate credentials and certifications. Look for traits that embody a positive and collaborative work ethic, resulting in better project outcomes.
At the heart of every successful project lies good communication. Your ability to steer projects in the right direction requires that you be an outstanding communicator.
For one, you must inform all project stakeholders and team members of the expected project outcomes. Here, clear communication entails establishing a comprehensive framework for project execution. It defines project goals and objectives in detail, leaving no space for ambiguity or doubt.
It’s also necessary to discuss potential challenges, compensation or incentives, work arrangements, and the like.
You can almost tell that a project is set up for success when all communication channels contain the same information with easy-to-understand instructions.
- Project scope
A vital part of project preparation is making a project scope with a comprehensive list of all the requirements. These can include the names of project stakeholders, a work plan, an itemized list of deliverables, required resources, standard operating procedures (SOPs), etc.
Will regular stakeholder permissions be required at each stage? What specific skill sets are necessary for a particular project? To keep everyone on track and address any confusion, take the time and effort to map out the major project requirements from the outset.
- Teamwork culture
Teams that collaborate well can be efficient in managing and executing projects. Bring them together, engage them in team-building exercises, and incorporate a good collaboration tool into team procedures to establish a cooperative environment among the members.
Employees and managers should communicate smoothly across teams, exchange project-related information, and discuss problems comfortably. Coordinated actions among various groups or units help to improve production, increase efficiency, and achieve common business goals.
- Workplace disruptions and distractions
Overall team performance is subject to various disruptions and distractions, which can negatively impact project completion. These unwanted events can emerge in the middle of a project, causing bottlenecks in the workflow and production. Distractions can also come from coworkers, office noise, or getting caught up in unimportant email threads.
It is critical to recognize such common disturbances and regain control of productivity. Your team can employ effective strategies to prevent these from affecting projects or processes. Disabling social media use during working hours, rearranging the workspace, and eliminating unnecessary noise and clutter are all proven ways to reducing distraction and increasing focus at work.
- Risk control
Any project can be derailed or halted by certain risks. For this reason, it is crucial to identify and address possible risk areas before launching a project. Another best practice is to develop an efficient risk management strategy.
The risk management strategy ensures that your team has the best measures for dealing with risks by quickly recognizing, assessing, and resolving them. The goal is to mitigate, if not eliminate, the effects of all probable project risks.
- Time management
To succeed in project management, you must learn to run the day instead of letting the day run you. You can achieve this by managing your time efficiently daily. Time is one of your best resources, so you’re on the right track if you have expert time management skills.
Effective time management allows for better team cooperation, increased productivity, and improved project outcomes. It’s a wise approach to handling any project, whether small or large. To ensure you never miss a deadline, use time management techniques, including organizing schedules, utilizing a timer, and using a project management application.
- Standardization of processes
Standardized project processes result in smooth project implementation. It enables team members to apply the most simplified approach and gain the most outstanding output. Apart from streamlining fundamental project operations, it promotes trust within the team through well-defined processes.
Standardized processes also help you get off the right foot, thanks to a ready-made framework of tried and tested methods.
- Project management methodologies
Being familiar with and implementing common project management methodologies can be advantageous for overall project management regardless of your industry.
These established strategies allow for quickly navigating even the most complicated projects, paving the road for successful project execution. Each methodology provides a framework for achieving the required goals and completing tasks successfully. You must assess and select the best method for your organization’s culture or the project’s nature.
Automation may be necessary to improve processes or projects. It can serve you well as a project manager if you know how to leverage its uses. For one, it can take care of the menial tasks, letting you focus on the more critical work that requires your skills. Allocation of resources, task progress monitoring, and issuing real-time alerts and notifications are all examples of automation.
If you don’t incorporate automation into the project execution stage, your operations could slow down and lead to project delays. Therefore, using automation to define dependencies, provide real-time task alerts, and provide up-to-date work progress is a cost-effective approach to managing projects efficiently.
- Project evaluation
Before sharing project milestones or sending deliverables for team or client approval, it is crucial to conduct testing or evaluation to check if they align with the intended project and business goals.
You’ll better understand how the project will turn out as you complete each milestone, keeping you on target and ensuring the project runs smoothly throughout its life cycle.
- Use of tools and software
The right tools and software can contribute to successful projects. You’ll need modern tools and software to complement your team’s processes to achieve this goal. They must have features and functions that empower teams to collaborate in real time and increase project visibility, making tracking and reporting easier for project managers.
Projects of all scales can benefit significantly from project management tools and software. By utilizing them, project managers can save time and money, reduce inconsistencies, and improve overall team performance.
7 Tools and Software to Optimize Project Management Workflow
There’s no shortage of project management tools and software, but here are the top ones:
Project and task management workflows are easier with Asana job management software. It gives teams a structured workspace where they can view project data in various ways, including lists, timelines, and board views. Users can customize workflows, create and allocate tasks, establish plans, and monitor project progress over time.
Basecamp is a project management platform with an integrated team communication system that works well in a variety of settings, including remote work. It enables businesses, teams, and individuals to organize activities, find information, and receive real-time project updates. Everyone engaged can work together using specialized tools for project planning, file sharing, and idea exchange.
ClickUp is a popular productivity app that helps you properly manage tasks, memos, projects, and schedules. The project management tool is valuable in determining who is responsible for what and centralizes all the team’s resources. To provide you with a better user experience, ClickUp pays special attention to views, statuses, features, and processes.
Freedcamp provides a custom suite of project management solutions that can give your team comprehensive capabilities to help everyone complete projects successfully. This software is a straightforward and intuitive solution for larger firms in architecture, retail, IT services, telecommunications, and many more. Freedcamp allows for functionality to limitless users.
- Jira Work Management
Jira Work Management is among the most effective project management platforms for bringing all business teams together. This platform allows departments like finance, marketing, and human resources to connect and interact with technical teams conveniently. Users can also choose between list, timeline, calendar, and board views for varied viewpoints.
Professional services organizations will benefit from Mavenlink’s resource and project management application. It enables businesses to make the most of their resources across all initiatives. The integrated capabilities allow clients to swiftly respond to staffing needs by locating available workers with the necessary skills and experience.
Wrike is a straightforward project management application that works well for small groups. It features an activity stream dashboard that shows who is working on which. Their issue monitoring can also benefit a variety of development teams. Wrike readily adapts to a wide range of business requirements, including managing agile teams, clients, and remote workers.
- Zoho Projects
Zoho Projects is a project management application for small and medium-sized organizations. It is a complete project management system for any workgroup, regardless of size. Zoho can help you manage papers, collaborate with your team more efficiently, and track problems with an issue tracker. It’s one of the most straightforward project management tools to help you organize your future projects.
This free app lets you organize ideas, store research materials or resources, and more. One of the best things about Evernote is that it is easy to use. Just create a folder, drop your notes in, and search for them on your computer or phone if you need to check or add notes.
It’s also great that Evernote allows you to share your notes with different people and even invite someone else to create their own while you work on yours. This functionality makes sharing ideas or planning meetings super easy!
Trello is a great tool that can help organize your project into different stages of development. The cards on Trello could be the different phases of development, the different teams working on the project, or other vital details. This card system can also track team progress and facilitate brainstorming purposes.
- Dropbox Paper
Dropbox is a cloud storage and file syncing tool that allows you to upload and access your files from anywhere. Examples include Google Docs and Evernote, making it easy to share documents with others.
By using Dropbox Paper, you can share the document publicly or create bubbles that are private to different users. It’s an excellent feature for when you want to work with other people on a project without having all the content floating around in your shared Dropbox folder.
- Project Insight
Project Insight is an online app that has simplified project management, eliminating the complications of spreadsheets, long documents, and unorganized notes. It has a built-in task manager, real-time reporting, and automated reminder notifications so you can always stay on top of your work.
Using Project Insight, you can keep track of multiple tasks, progress bars, and budgets. Share your tasks with others through the cloud or mobile app to ensure everyone is on the same page.
Optimize for Project Success
Business needs are constantly evolving in these changing times. Using project management strategies and tools to efficiently manage your project can help you easily navigate seemingly impossible situations.
These optimizations will help you examine project developments and quickly adopt the best answer to a problem. Indeed, excellent project management can significantly improve your workflows and overall efficiency.
Trevor Michael is a Customer Contact Industry Specialist of Select VoiceCom, an inbound call center with telemarketing and IT support services. He has operated successfully within this niche industry for over ten years across Australia, New Zealand, and Southeast Asia. He enjoys writing, golf, and going to social events.