Managing a project can involve multiple moving parts – budgets, timelines, resources, targets, and measures are all like spinning plates, constantly demanding time and attention.
Regardless of the desired outcome, projects will require planning, organizing, lateral thinking, team collaboration, and much more. Managing the demands of a project can require a great deal of administrative work and creates a heavy workload that can be a challenge.
To optimize their time, project managers are frequently looking for ways to improve the procedures they follow.
Between mapping and managing workflows, improving worker efficiencies, and tracking budgets, resources, and timelines, project managers must juggle more processes than ever to keep their teams working optimally and projects moving smoothly forward.
Thankfully, instead of manually mapping and performing processes, project managers are able to capture the processes involved in their projects and get a visual of what the processes look like, end-to-end. Over time they can also build automated tasks within their workflows to reduce repetitive administrative work and reduce the potential for errors.
Here’s how process management and automation can support project managers through the phases of project management and help teams to adapt to the change that invariably comes with project implementation.
1. Provide an overview during the initiation stage
To begin outlining a project, the scope, deliverables, and stakeholders must be identified. When the project is approved, a thorough plan is then created to fully visualize how the process will run, with associated goals and jobs.
Project plans require a great deal of organization. Some of the processes include establishing a timeframe and a budget; identifying costs, materials and people resources; providing training; and identifying risks, roadblocks and potential bottlenecks.
The effective management of processes can help project managers get organized in five ways:
- By capturing their processes and attaching supporting documentation, project managers can make the most accurate recent information available in one place for everyone to access.
- Project managers and their resources can get a visual of existing processes related to the new project, thereby getting an overview of who and what will be impacted by any changes.
- By capturing new processes related to the project, everyone in the organization will be kept in the loop, with notifications on their dashboard alerting them of any action they need to take.
- Risks related to the project can be managed and monitored in the process management platform, giving execs the confidence that potential threats are being tracked.
- Those team members who are new to the organization or aren’t sure about what is expected of them can refer to the relevant processes for step-by-step information that they can access in as much detail as they require.
Automation goals: When processes are automated, they can then be easily tracked, further minimizing risk, and instead of approval processes slowing down workflows, simultaneous digital approvals can be requested within a workflow to save time and avoid bottlenecking.
2. Share progress during execution
Once the project has begun, it’s the project manager’s job to oversee everything. Execution processes for a project manager will typically include organizing tasks; tracking resources; communicating progress to stakeholders; arranging regular meetings to update stakeholders and workers, and problem-solving if any budgetary or resource issues are encountered.
To make sure that all aspects of the project are visible, project managers can share their data-driven projections about how the project is progressing, within the relevant process maps.
Real-time reporting and automatically generated reports can also be stored there, giving project managers the assurance that teams are viewing the most recent version of the relevant reports.
When creating contracts or invoices, document generation will allow project managers to quickly generate consistently compliant documents and records. To ensure that communications and data reporting doesn’t slow down when a team member is in the field or working remotely, automated forms will allow workers to quickly and accurately submit information.
3. Facilitate ongoing monitoring and control
This stage runs alongside execution and oversees the performance of the project.
To ensure that a project is running smoothly, project managers will track the project budget, and KPIs and SLAs, reallocate resources; monitor tasks to prevent downtime; track high-quality deliverables, and monitor project performance.
During this phase of the project, the project manager may need to make changes in order to adapt to new developments as they happen.
When processes are updated and corresponding documents are centrally stored within a process management platform, execs have the confidence that everyone in the organization is being kept up to date during this time of transition.
Project managers can also stay current with change suggestions from people, as teams review the existing processes and recommend improvements.
This way, everyone across the organization is an active participant in ensuring the success of the project.
By integrating automatic reporting in the monitoring and control phase, project managers can be alerted to any fluctuations in performance quickly enough to reallocate resources in a good time. Tracking the performance of both the project and the individual resources makes benchmarking project progress simpler, eliminating the need to repeatedly enter data into spreadsheets so project managers can put more of their time into project oversight.
4. Drive lasting change post-project closure
When a project comes to an end, the project manager and their team will typically assess whether it was a success. Did it achieve the goals agreed upon? Were the deliverables of a high standard? Can the project be considered finished?
But project management should also be about enduring value – leading organizations to better outcomes that continue to deliver value, years after project completion.
It is true that analytics are key for PMs to present to stakeholders and indicate overall success post-project. To close a project, the project manager will follow steps like communicating with stakeholders about the closing status of the project; examining the success of the project in relation to the scope that was agreed, analyzing team performance; evaluating how effectively resources were used; reallocating any unused budget or resources; providing data and insights about the project to relevant parties.
However, truly successful projects should effect lasting, positive change, instead of letting teams slowly but surely revert back to the old way of doing things. By creating a culture of continuous improvement and using an intuitive process management tool, teams can digest the new way of operating in a format that is easy to use, review and edit.
Operational metrics will give a thorough overview of how successful the project was in terms of productivity, budget, and efficiency—and these insights can be used to improve and optimize future projects. Project managers can easily create reports and close workflows before going on to their next project, knowing decisions are informed by quality data.
Stay ahead of the game.
Today project managers have options available to them if they want to improve every stage of their project management process while reducing the administrative burden that comes with it.
Process management can help get teams on the same page while providing a blueprint for the way forward. And with automation, project managers can accurately and efficiently execute tasks that tend to be menial, repetitive and time-consuming.
Projects are implemented to improve organizations and position them for increased success. When businesses engage their people in their improvement efforts and include them on the journey, the change can be rewarding, and result in long-lasting benefits.
Interested in better mapping and managing of your business processes? Click here to get a free trial of Nintex Promapp®.