For many organizations, project management can be hard to manage. They suffer from over-reliance on time-consuming processes that span a confusing array of systems, with lots of data from different sources to deal with. But what if we told you that you could automate project management and solve all that?
Well, that’s exactly what we’re saying. Big claim? Let’s see.
Thinking outside the Excel cell
If it hadn’t even occurred to you to automate project management before reading this article, that’s okay – you’re not alone. Plenty of project managers out there are still struggling with dizzying multicolor spreadsheets and Byzantine email chains that stretch back as far as the eye can see.
But We’ll tell you just why automation is perfect for PMs: project management has historically been heavily dependent on manual work. That includes:
- Monitoring and recording project participants’ time spent on various tasks
- Ensuring that various project costs are staying within the project budget
- Making sure project milestones are reached according to the schedule
- Communicating with participants and coordinating their work
- Keeping stakeholders in the loop and informed of progress and issues
All these aspects of a project manager’s role can benefit from digital transformation via automation. In fact, it’s an ideal application of the technology.
The difference a little automation makes
The benefits of automating a manual process are richly abundant in a project management context. Capturing project data from multiple colleagues/partners/clients can be vastly streamlined. Automated systems can process that data and provide valuable insights and useful alerts. All participants can be digitally coordinated for more effective and efficient collaboration.
What does that actually translate to in a project? Let’s get specific.
Time recording and cost-calculating made easy
With an easily-created digital workflow, employees working on a project can be automatically prompted to provide timekeeping or expense details at pre-defined stages or time intervals. They receive an alert and then enter the data via a simple digital form. Finally, the data is automatically stored with the rest of the project information – which could be a traditional time-and-cost spreadsheet.
No more chasing colleagues to fill in their timesheets and expenses forms – the system will bug them for you. No more manually entering the figures into your records. And no more typos or copy-and-paste errors from manually transferring the information to your system. It’s all entered automatically, instantly, and correctly.
What’s more, these new automated processes can even complete the calculations that project managers need to see and present them via more automatic alerts. “Are you sure we’re set to be on-budget at the end of this week?”, a colleague asks. And you reply: “The notification we just received says yes – and we’ve got the data right here if you’d like to see it”.
Keeping everyone on track and in the loop
When you automate project management, these automatic alerts We’ve mentioned can be very valuable. A huge part of a PM’s job is to monitor what has and hasn’t been done – and by whom. Project managers can easily define each participant and stakeholder in workflows and set up automatic prompts for them to enter project status information at pre-set stages in the project timeline. Then, when they’ve played their part and clicked “Done”, the next participant can be automatically prompted to get started.
Once again, other participants or stakeholders can be automatically notified when a task has been completed or a milestone passed. Projects are no longer stalled when one person has completed their part but forgets to tell the others, or when one participant forgets that there’s something they need to do – they’re all kept on track through the power of process automation. And with automatic notifications when work is completed, everyone is kept in the loop regarding the project’s progress.
No more drafting countless emails to project team members, clients, and partners – status updates can now be created automatically and delivered instantly. They can even be provided in the form of snazzy autogenerated documents, using the data and pre-defined templates – which comes in very handy at the project wrap-up when it’s time to document everything. If your boss or client says, “This report looks great – hope it didn’t take you too long”, don’t worry – your secret is safe with us.
Ready to automate project management in your organization?
We’ve outlined some of the key use cases for automating project management here – but it’s not an exhaustive list. Because although project managers are well-versed in systems like Agile methodology and Scrum, which create consistency and order in project management, every PM and every organization operates a little differently. We’re not robots, after all.
With a powerful low-code process automation platform like Nintex Workflow Cloud, you can easily build project management systems that fit the way you work perfectly – unlike with one-size-fits-all project management software.
So, what do you say: time to break out of the spreadsheet cell and make project management really work – without so much…hard work?
If you’d like to explore how to automate project management with Nintex, just get in touch. We’ll be glad to discuss the possibilities.