An Overview of Managing Project Workflows (With Benefits)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated June 16, 2022

Published January 3, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Maintaining a balance between multiple tasks with different requirements and deadlines is vital for most jobs. It's important to efficiently organize the steps involved in these tasks and move effectively between them. Understanding project workflow management may help you create a structure for your tasks and monitor the work processes. In this article, we explore managing project workflows, outline their benefits, contrast project workflow management and project management, identify tips for using the management systems appropriately, highlight available methodologies, detail workflow software, and discuss the benefits of workflow software.

What does managing project workflows involve?

Managing project workflows involve a series of necessary steps that you take to complete tasks and move between them. For example, if you're a sales representative, the entire process of pitching a product to a potential client to the after-sale follow-up is a workflow. Project workflow management refers to the process of ordering activities and tasks into an effective and efficient sequence.

An effective management system helps you arrange, record these steps, and guide you and a team to achieve your goals. A workflow control system is a software that helps automate the tasks, so the process moves between steps with little or no manual intervention. For example, in automating the system, you may include the conditions and requirements to satisfy before a team can move to the next step.

Related: Work Routine

Benefits of workflow management

Some of the benefits of organizing your workflow include:

Improves overall efficiency

A properly organized workflow system helps you effectively track the points of all your tasks to have a clear picture of your pending and completed tasks. They also reduce paper trails and keep important materials in easily accessible places. Also, organizing your steps allows you to execute them efficiently by giving you time to focus on one task at a time.

Supplies a better work environment

An organized workflow enhances cooperation and makes collaboration towards a common goal effective. The best workflow management systems have in-built teamwork tools that enhance communications and cohesive work. In addition, it allows the team to focus on strategic work by eliminating the requirement for manual reports.

Provides extra accuracy

These management systems help you locate errors and areas prone to errors. Identifying these loopholes makes it easier to solve them. In addition, after identifying and solving these issues, you can take precautionary measures to prevent similar mistakes during future tasks.

Offers total accountability

With these systems, it's easier to find who's responsible for a task as you assign every task to an individual or team. This kind of visibility encourages accountability and motivates other employees and team members to complete tasks as soon as possible. Also, it helps project managers identify and address backlogs in the system and get the process back on track.

Encourages transparency and clarity

With workflow management systems, you know all the processes involved and the requirements of each stage. There's a clear distinction between roles and how to address issues and delays. It also allows the company to show clients and stakeholders the business' processes and how it supervises projects. In addition, these management systems have tools for more accurate, simpler, and faster reporting. For mobile teams, project management systems keep them updated on the project's status and allow them to send reports when necessary.

Project workflow management vs project management

Workflow management and project management share some similarities and differences. For instance, they both work towards the same end, such as completing tasks. They also complement each other as projects depend on workflow to function smoothly and move from one stage to another. In contrast, project management focuses on planning, directing, and overseeing tasks, while workflow management focuses on connecting and linking these tasks. The point of project management is to provide an overview and supervise ongoing tasks. In contrast, workflow management involves the daily running of a project and keeps operations moving from one step to another.

Categories of workflow management systems

How a company distributes tasks reflects in its workflow management systems. The categories are:

  • Coordination: Here, you distribute tasks to teams and ensure to minimize conflicts.

  • Workload: In this category, you divide tasks based on capacity.

  • Sequentially: This category sorts steps by task progression.

Tips for using workflow management systems effectively

Here are some tips to help you effectively use workflow management systems:

Plan

Proper planning is vital to any successful project. As a result, it's advisable to start broad, then break the projects into smaller parts for individuals or team members to handle. Also, ensure you remain flexible while being precise, as plans may change even after you start executing them.

Involve

Ensure you discuss with team members, clients, and other relevant parties. Although you may not require input from everybody, it's important to ensure they all know what the plan entails. The benefits of involving others include different perspectives, better teamwork, and flexible resources.

Anticipate

It's advisable to anticipate disruptions as you carry out the projects. Identify areas where your plan may require change, improvement, or leave you vulnerable to issues. It's a sign of good management to anticipate issues and prepare for such occurrences.

Track

This involves documenting the stages of the procedure. It's important to log, update, and time-stamp every event or milestone in the project. Ensure that your plan includes systems to facilitate proper recording and documentation. This aids easy reference for evaluation and improvements.

Related: Create an Effective Work Plan for a Successful Project (With Template)

Workflow management methodologies

Some of the common workflow management methodologies include:

Agile project management workflow

This project methodology has values such as collaboration, adaptability, cross-functionality, and self-organization at its core. Innovative Japanese companies were the major drivers of this process in the '70s and '80s. Agile project workflow favours tasks with a high level of adaptability and requires regular internal and external feedback. It's also ideal for projects with fast-tracked development timelines or smaller projects.

Waterfall project management workflow

This method is more traditional and handles the different stages of a project sequentially. It starts from the early concept planning phase to the development, quality assurance, project completion, and ends with the maintenance stage. The requirements emerge initially with minimal changes only where necessary. This methodology is ideal for large-scale projects with comprehensive planning and predictable processes.

PRISM project management workflow

The Projects Integrating Sustainable Methods considers environmental factors while ensuring you can apply its efficient system to a wide range of projects. This method is unique because it requires and rewards managers with accreditation. It typically applies to extensive public works infrastructure or construction projects that require in-depth planning and consideration of its effects on the environment.

Types of workflow management software

Some workflow management software that can help you automate repetitive tasks include:

Asana

This software helps you manage the workflow for multiple team members working on a project so that everyone has a clear understanding of the tasks. In addition, it offers different options for viewing tasks, such as calendars and task boards. Asana is easy to learn and is both app and web-based. It also offers a free version with a broad set of features to organize and plan your projects.

Monday.com

Monday.com offers some of the most common management functions, including workflow management, project management, and the option to visualize the status of projects. You can set up tasks from various templates or create custom templates on the platform and select various ways to see the projects' status. Monday.com also has a social interaction app for team members to communicate.

Wrike

Wrike is suitable for organizations with hybrid teams where some members work physically while others work remotely. This software also has a workload management tool that evenly distributes team members' tasks. It also produces various reports to help you evaluate productivity with different metrics.

Smartsheet

The Smartsheet platform has a spreadsheet design format for tracking processes and tasks. This software is more flexible and offers team members access to features that suit them best. Smartsheet offers detailed reporting on the team's productivity and allows you to identify and resolve issues quickly.

Hive

The Hive platform is a management tool that integrates other users' works into one platform. In addition, the software's flexibility allows users to customize it to suit their work style and structure. As a result, Hive is more suitable for smaller businesses.

Read more: Top 9 Workflow Management Software (With Benefits)

Benefits of using project management software

Some of the benefits of using the most suitable project management software include:

  • Better management: Selecting the best management software ensures you have the most appropriate tools to manage better and monitor workflows and tasks. Also, if you conduct multiple tasks simultaneously, workflow management software can help make your daily activities more productive and efficient.

  • Coordination infrastructure: This software provides management and coordination infrastructure for companies and businesses. They also promote greater collaboration and integration between teams and projects.

  • Efficiency: Project management software help automate repetitive and mundane tasks and focuses your efforts on more productive tasks.

Please note that none of the companies, institutions, or organizations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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