Effective project management is all about working with maximum efficiency and minimum errors. It requires careful planning and a workflow that makes sense to everyone involved.
You can optimize your project management workflow by choosing a workflow management strategy that suits your business, and by leaning on technology that helps you visualize daily tasks and overarching projects.
Technology like organizational software and instant messaging programs ensure that you can stay in lockstep with your entire team — even if they live thousands of miles away.
Benefits of Optimization
Optimizing your workflow is a tall order. You’ll have to take time away from your normal responsibilities to reassess your current operations and create new processes and procedures. However, the benefits of optimizing your project management workflow far outweigh the costs. Companies that optimize their workflow benefit from:
Reduced Errors: Optimized workflows ensure that everyone is on the same page. This means that all your employees know their role and how to complete it. Team members can also spot risks sooner with an optimized workflow, as they have more time to think critically about the “big picture”.
Reduced Costs: Reducing errors will save you time and money. An optimized workflow will also help you spot inefficiencies and address slack in your business. Reducing slack will save you money and improve your profit margin.
Greater Agility: Optimizing your workflow allows you to adapt to market conditions quickly. This is particularly important if you work in an industry with fluctuating sales volume.
Utilize Automation: AI is increasingly useful in the business world. AI can spot incoming risks and help automate some of your business operations. This speeds up your decision-making and allows your team to focus on more important tasks.
Optimizing your project management workflow is essential in today’s competitive business environment. By optimizing your workflow, you can expect projects to go more smoothly and receive a greater ROI on all your expenditures.
Every business aspires to optimization, but few know how to achieve it. Fortunately, there are several tried and tested project management workflow strategies that you can adopt:
PDSA: Plan, Do, Study, Act (PDSA) is a cyclical model that businesses use to implement, assess, and improve project management workflow strategies. It’s akin to the scientific method, but you study the impact that your change has on the business. Start small scale, and ensure that you have a firm grasp on your key performance indicators (KPIs) before making major changes
TQM: Total Quality Management (TQM) is a customer-focused approach to project management workflow. Consider the customer whenever you make a change to your workflow. Will these changes pass on reduced costs for consumers? Will consumers benefit from shorter wait times for order fulfillment? Will consumer retention increase?
Six Sigma: Six Sigma is particularly useful if you manufacture your own goods. Six Sigma uses statistical analysis to spot common errors and reduce faults during the production process. Six Sigma can optimize your project management workflow by spotting inefficiencies in the current processes and identifying areas for improvement or change.
Kanban: Kanban is a responsive workflow optimization strategy developed in the 1940s by Toyota. It can be tailored to today’s market demands by integrating automation to help fine-tune business processes and create a stable, reliable workflow for all employees to follow.
All workflow optimization strategies can be helpful. However, you should choose the strategy that best suits your business and the market challenges you face.
Preparing for a Project
Choose a new project management workflow strategy before a new project begins. This will give you a chance to run the new strategy without the influence of previous strategies or misunderstandings.
Start by mapping your workflow using a project management flowchart. Keep the flowchart simple, and use a Swimlane Diagram to show how different teams will work together. Utilize the correct symbols for decisions, terminators, data, and documents, as this will help everyone understand the flow chart at a glance.
Once you’ve mapped out your current workflow, look for any bottlenecks or pinch points. You may find that your workflow is being disrupted by slow decision-making or unnecessary hurdles.
You can speed up your project management workflow using software like Slack. Slack offers real-time communication and can be used to delegate and organize daily tasks. Onboard your staff before the project begins, and train them so they know how to utilize Slack during their day-to-day work. You can check that your staff knows how to use all the functions in Slack by setting them tasks like:
Pin messages in Slack
Engage with a shared channel on Slack
This quick test will ensure that all your staff is up to speed with Slack before you start on your next big project.
Documentation and Data
Most businesses collect a vast amount of documentation and data. Using documentation and data effectively is key to optimizing your project management workflow. Rather than manually trawling through consumer data and market documentation, adopt an automated approach to data management.
Most data management programs have AI software that can help you break down vast swaths of data in the blink of an eye. These programs use deep learning software to “learn” from current trends and historical data. This will give you the edge in project management, as you’ll be able to spot supply-chain issues and reduce the risk of errors that will tank your productivity.
Automation is also a great way to improve time management. Automating processes like sending confirmation emails following an order and inventory management will free up time for more important tasks.
Optimizing your workflow is essential for effective project management. Optimized workflow strategies allow you to adapt to market fluctuations and reduce your overall costs. Workflow strategies like kanban and TQM can also give you a competitive advantage over competitors who do not have a formalized workflow strategy. Just be sure to use all the technology available to you, as digital communication platforms like Slack ensure that everyone is on the same page.