Though there are considerable similarities between project workflow and the management of a specific project, the differences and what they can mean for consistency throughout all of your projects mean that workflow is an important element to understand and integrate into your processes.
Project workflow is a system, a default way of approaching every project which gives you as a PM an automatic template to work from and structure your processes. It brings many advantages in terms of team onboarding, project structure and visibility and with the great new advances in technology in the field, project workflow software can now assist project managers in greatly reducing the amount of time that they have to spend on monitoring, creating and updating status reports.
What are the elements of a project workflow
Project workflow divides tasks into a linear system where, after one part is finished it is signed off and moved to the next section. For example, for an organization involved in digital marketing copywriting the workflow for writing projects might be as follows:
- Client Delivery
Once the workflow sections have been decided upon, the next step is to decide the breakdown of the tasks and when something is ready to be signed off and moved to the next section. This will vary for each project and economic sector however the most important thing is to keep deliverables uniform and easy to communicate. Team members should know exactly when a task in a workflow is completed so it can be moved along the line.
Advantages of project workflow
Once you have created your system, especially if you are using project workflow software, then you can continue to use the same system for as long as individual projects fall within the same terms. You can also tweak your template to add and remove sections, tasks and deliverable criteria where necessary.
Task length estimation
As you are deciding the sections and which tasks will go into them, it is a good idea to try and keep all tasks at around the same length. For example, if tasks are generally three working days long, a quick look at where the task is on the pipeline will let you or other stakeholders know how much has been done and how long until it is completed.
Easy to teach process
The uniformity and relative simplicity of a project workflow means that new members to each team can be quickly shown how the system works during their induction. It also allows more complicated systems to be broken down into units to be explained as necessary. For example, in the copywriting organization workflow shown earlier, if a new team member will only immediately be involved with Research and Copy, then their initial training will only have to involve explaining the process and deliverables for those two sections.
Simplified and centralized sign-off
Another great advantage of using project workflow software is that it provides a centralized sign-off location for the relevant team members to sign-off on completed deliverables. This can be given in the form of simple box-ticking to confirm that they are happy for the task to proceed to the next stage.
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