From small to large projects, a workflow template can help you identify everything you need to complete a project. This guide covers the six steps to creating a successful project management workflow.
When working on a project, being organized and approaching the task in a methodical manner ensures consistent and timely results, and the best way to achieve this is to manage the workflow. The following step-by-step guide walks you through the process of creating a project management workflow model that you can implement for all of your future projects.
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What is workflow in relation to project management?
Project management is the science of everything it takes to complete a project or task. By ensuring transparency of all aspects of the project, formalized project management seeks to answer what is going to be delivered, by whom and when.
Workflow management is the next layer of detail below project management. While project management is broad, workflow management is more narrowly focused. Workflows are the specific sequenced steps required to complete a task or project. In short, while project management is responsible for answering what, who, and when, a workflow is primarily about how.
Why is the project management workflow important?
It is quite possible to deliver a project without workflow management. That said, it’s not recommended.
While you can reasonably say that as you deliver the project, workflows will emerge, failing to manage your workflows will lead to missed dependencies, which manifest as delays and stoppages. work. This inefficiency will make it difficult to respond when a project is complete, one of the desired results of good project management.
The goal of workflow management is to create efficient and repeatable ways to get work done. The repeatable aspect is especially important if you manage similar types of projects. For example, if you’re part of a team that primarily delivers software, you’ll find that once you’ve established a good workflow, your ability to forecast other aspects of project management, such as resources and lead times, will improve considerably.
Ultimately, the best project managers use project management and workflow management to complete a project.
How to build a project management workflow?
There are a number of good project management software tools on the market to help you create your project management workflow. Products like Jira, Smartsheet, and Monday Work Management all have a number of workflow templates you can use or customize.
You don’t necessarily need anything other than a pen and paper to design your project management workflows. Here are the steps we recommend.
The first step in designing a project management workflow is to think about all the steps needed to complete your project. It is important to think categorically rather than quietly. For example, a typical software workflow might consist of:
- Interview stakeholders
- Creation of wireframes
- Build the software
These are repeatable steps that you can apply to multiple projects. As you document your to-do list, do your best to put the items in chronological order, as this will come in handy later.
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After you’ve detailed the tasks required to complete your project, it’s time to think about the types of resources you’ll need to complete it. These generally fall into the categories of tools and people. If you provide software, you will need developers and visual designers. Be sure to not only list all the necessary resources, but highlight any gaps or areas where you lack the people and/or tools needed to succeed.
Just to make sure you haven’t left any critical steps out of your workflow, it’s a good idea to write down exactly what the outcome of your project will be. For example, if you are designing a new report for the accounting team, your deliverables might be the new reporting software itself, documentation on how to use that report, and training to teach the accounting team how it works. the new software.
Going through this thought process may cause you to re-evaluate the tasks and resources you identified earlier. Perhaps there should be a documentation task between the build and test stages. Or maybe you need a change manager as a resource on your team to successfully deliver the training.
4. Roles and assignments
With your task list and required resources determined, decide who will contribute to which tasks to complete your project. Remember, the goal is to design a reusable workflow, not a specific project plan. Therefore, think of roles like user experience designer instead of names like creative’s Tracy.
5. Map your workflow
It can be particularly effective to visualize a project management workflow. There are several ways to visualize the workflow from a flowchart to a Gannt chart. The table below is an example of a simple way to map a project management workflow.
|1. Interviews||2. Wireframe Mockups||3. Development||4. Test||5. Deploy|
Last but not least, don’t let perfection get in the way of you being good enough. You’re unlikely to get everything right with your project management workflow the first time around. Don’t let that stop you from putting it into practice. If you constantly inspect and adapt along the way, in no time your project management workflow will be buzzing.