The WorkflowMax blog is here to help readers continue to grow their project management knowledge. As part of our ongoing series, we have been featuring segments from our recently released the Essential Guide to Project Management. In this issue, we will be offering a little taste of Chapter 3: What is Project Management Workflow?.
Do you ever find yourself lost in the middle of a large project, not sure of what has been done or where to go next? With effective Project Management Workflow, you can bring order to the chaos and put everything into an efficient and meaningful order to maximise your productivity.
So what does Workflow mean when it comes to Project Management?
We can break the meaning of Project Management Workflow into two parts. Firstly, within the framework of a Project Management Plan, ‘workflow’ refers to the series of steps that need to be taken to complete tasks, and how you move between them.
Next up, ‘project’. A project is generally a one-off, time-bound event that serves a very specific purpose and results in a very specific outcome. For example, an annual large scale outdoor festival is a time-bound project, serving a specified purpose and outcome. When both the purpose and outcome have been reached, the event is over for the year. The project management of the event is the handling of all the activities related to it.
Combined, this leads us to ‘Project management workflow’ – the process of ordering tasks and activities between key milestones into an efficient and meaningful sequence.
Workflow is part of our everyday lives. It is happening right now, as you sit at your desk, writing that email to a supplier or following up on a task a colleague is responsible for. Like projects, all businesses and organisations have ongoing processes of workflow. Without these, little would be achieved!
The successful completion of individual tasks usually requires that projects pass through a series of stages. Regardless of size and complexity, all individual projects have their own patterns of workflow.
Effective project management workflow systems should help you to organise and record the stages of workflow. A good workflow process will create a series of steps directing you and your team towards a final destination. The most efficient and best-lit path will ensure the smoothest ride.
Here is a basic project workflow management diagram illustrating how a workflow can look when it's mapped out.
Why is Project Management Workflow important?
- Improves overall efficiency - Workflow systems reduce paper trails and keep everything in one centralised, easily accessible place.
- Allows for collaboration - The best project management workflow systems have in-built collaboration tools that make communication easier and more cohesive.
- Makes reporting easier and more transparent - Workflow project management software has tools that make reporting simpler, faster and more accurate.
- Keeps people connected - Mobility is now the norm for many work teams today. When your project management workflow systems are mobile-friendly, workers who are travelling, off-site, or telecommuting can easily check up on project status and update their own.
Want to learn more about Project Management? We have created The Essential Guide to Project Management to help you to be an effective Project Manager. It’s free and you can access it here.