How to Resolve Project Sign-off Bottlenecks

Most organizations employ a formal approval process for everyday business procedures. This kind of process often involves a document being created and sent around for a series of edits and amendments, and sign-off by a senior member of staff.

While such a process may require some collaboration and input from more than a single team, as a singular process, it is typically quite straightforward.

However, when we look at projects which involve external parties, things quickly become more complex.

Take, for example, a large construction project, where proposals need review and approval by several different companies, agencies and consultants before the project can even get the ‘green light’. Project sign off delays can lead to missed deadlines, budget imbalances and poor client relationships; all of which have consequences for your bottom line.

Let’s review common causes of project sign off bottlenecks and how you can resolve them.

What is a Bottleneck?

A bottleneck occurs when:

  • Preceding steps in a process happen faster than the subsequent steps can be accomplished.
  • Certain tasks in the process haven’t been assigned properly, or at all.
  • Sign off or approval from a senior figure in your organization is necessary and you don’t get it quickly enough.
  • A third-party organization you’re collaborating with misses their deadline and leaves other parties unable to complete their jobs.

Document Sign-off Is a Big Barrier to Project’s Progress

As pointed to above, the process for the planning, executing and signing off on a single document isn’t that difficult, in theory. But when there are many documents that need to be created, edited and approved as part of a much broader process, often including more than one company (each with its own set of documents and procedures to be approved, etc.) bottlenecks and other disruptions can easily occur.

This is where your process really needs to earn its corn.

By having strong and sophisticated processes across your organization, document sign off and other essential project functions can be achieved effectively and efficiently without putting quality at risk.

How do you make sure that you can avoid project sign off delays and other troublesome bottlenecks?

Project Sign-off Delay Resolutions

Projects are made up of workflows that need to be managed with absolute precision from concept to final execution. So, when it comes to ironing out bottlenecks and improving approval processes, what we are really talking about is effective workflow management.

Effective workflow management can be achieved through good planning and sophisticated automation:

Identify Your Bottlenecks

Bottlenecks can be difficult to see sometimes. To resolve bumps in your business processes, you need to first recognize them. Distinguishing between short-term and long-term bottlenecks is a good place to start. Short-term bottlenecks are usually simple to understand.

They are often the result of some member of your staff being sick or on vacation; without their input or sign off, a project can’t move forward, hence a bottleneck. This can be resolved by reassigning their work proactively if they know they are going on vacation, or leaving the company. And reactively if someone is out sick.

Knowing and acknowledging who else can be drafted into different parts of a process is an important skill for anyone who hopes to execute a project successfully.

Automating Your Processes Is a Process

Automating your essential project functions is key to making sure they are completed on time and to the right standard. Implementing automation should be a gradual process.

This begins by understanding which tasks are often repeated and can easily be integrated into an automated workflow. You can progress your implementation by adding approvals to your workflows which will speed up the process of getting your important documents signed off – internally at first.

This can be evolved to include other, bigger task approvals and those tasks that include collaboration with third-party organizations. In time, with your processes streamlined, project tasks will run more smoothly, reducing unforced delays and other bottlenecks.

And that, of course, is in everyone’s interest.

Nintex Brings Bottlenecks to the Bottle Bank

Workflow automation is about making sure the right people receive the most precise information to enhance their decision-making process, enabling them to get their work completed most effectively.

By introducing a simple-to-use, yet highly sophisticated, point-and-click automated workflow system that connects your people and teams to tasks both inside and outside your organization, Nintex Workflows makes project bottlenecks, collaboration frustration, and sign off delays a thing of the past.

 

Want to join us on the journey to even better workflow automation? Contact us today to learn how we can resolve your project bottlenecks.

 

Vadim Tabakman

Nintex Technical Evangelist Vadim Tabakman is a Nintex developer with 20 years of development experience and more than nine years' experience in SharePoint and Nintex technologies. He understands how SharePoint, business process automation and forms can successfully join forces in numerous industries and business scenarios to drive business adoption and success in SharePoint projects.