Project Management Professional (PMP)® Articles - Five Critical Stats that Project Managers Should Know Regarding Workflow Management

Five Critical Stats that Project Managers Should Know Regarding Workflow Management

How's your project team's workflow? Is it seamless and straightforward, or is it a process that has become entirely disrupted by inefficiencies? Well, all workflows—regardless of where you are— could likely use a continuous improvement mindset.

The task of workflow management has come a long way. Today, tactics like automation, machine learning, and smart working have come to the forefront, and are now used in tandem with workflow management strategies.

Successfully managing workflows are the key to you increasing productivity and improving project success. So, how are things in the world of workflow management? Understanding the current stats can help you create some benchmarks of your own while also seeing how the industry is moving within this concept. Here is a collection of statistics that you should be aware of as you continue to improve your workflow management strategies.

Task Switching is Becoming a Problem

According to a McKinsey report, companies can lose 40 percent of their productivity due to constant task-switching. In society today, multitasking is celebrated. Many of us try to think of ways that we can get multiple things done at one time. Unfortunately, our brains do not always operate at optimum capacity when focus has to be split between various actions.

Your goal should be to help team members optimize their time instead of encouraging them to move between multiple tasks at one time. At some point, task allocation will lead to diminishing returns, and many companies come to realize this too late in the process. Take the time to monitor your team member's workday and observe if large workloads and constant task-switching are contributing to some of your workflow issues.

Document Location and Organization is a Growing Issue

In another report related to workflow management, Mckinsey highlighted the amount of time it generally takes for individuals to locate documentation. According to them, 20 percent of a professional's workweek is spent finding internal information. This stat reveals how locating documentation can be a significant drain on your team's time.

Considering that the standard workweek is 40 hours, almost eight are spent searching for the information they need. Resultantly, there is a need for companies to invest in a common information hub.

There should be a set location where your team members can find all task updates, documentation, and log-in information. Additionally, you need to create a plan and strategy for organizing documentation between team members and allowing access to specific professionals who may be outside of your direct team.

How long have you had to wait for someone to approve access to a Google Doc or needed a colleague to email you a link to a Dropbox document? Having a plan for this will prevent a blockage in workflow and give individuals access to documentation quickly.

Inefficiencies are Costing Companies Revenue

Companies lose 20 to 30 percent of revenue each year due to efficiencies. Take a moment to think about what you made last year in revenue. Now, add 20 or 30 percent of that number to it. That's likely what you could have had in the previous year if you cut processes that weren’t working.

To successfully add workflow management strategies to your project management, you have to understand what needs to be optimized as well as what needs to be cut. This strategy requires some data collection and committed observations.

Ask yourself: where are the bottlenecks occurring? You can then break down your project process into steps. Once you do that, it can be easier to see where the hold-up and inefficiencies are happening.

For example, let's say that your team is close to the end of the project timeline and that the final project deliverable is filled with various errors. You may notice that you need to add a more comprehensive quality control and assessment process. Additionally, you may determine that you can cut out specific meetings, so that team members don't have to rush to finish things. It's about locating inefficiencies and either cutting them out or improving on them.

AI and Automation Can Save Time and Promote Productivity

Technology and the right strategic approach can bring a significant change to your workflow management processes. According to a Mckinsey report about workplace automation, 60 percent of occupations could save 30 percent of their time by incorporating automation. Fortunately, we live in a world where there are a variety of tools out there that can aid in automation. From social media postings to paperwork approvals, tasks can be made much simpler using workflow automation.

You need to take the time to see the tasks that require a personalized human touch and which tasks can be automated with technology. For example, look at your latest project, were there routine tasks that could be programmed to be automated? Are task updates and notifications automatically sent out to team members? Can you automate the processing of project and client documents? Start to look at what you can take off your team members' plate and see if there is a way to automate it.

Digitize Your Processes Wherever Possible

The software company, Planview, conducted a study of over 500 businesses. They found that 43 percent of companies deem too much paperwork to be the biggest cause of wasted time. Even though it is 2021, many companies still use paper for a variety of work processes. Ultimately, your team benefits from the digitization of as many processes as possible.

It's not challenging to see how operations can become less efficient when paper is involved. There is the issue of storage, location, and ensuring that professionals who may not be in the office have access to the documentation. Additionally, digitizing various aspects of your workflow can ensure that information is moved quickly, securely, and efficiently between professionals.

Workflow Management Should go Hand-In-Hand with Project Management

For your projects to be successful, you have to make effective workflow management an ideal to strive for. Inefficiencies can be the kryptonite for successful project completion. Therefore, it is critical that you set up times to observe your project processes to see where you can better organize documents, digitize workflows, add automation, and prevent constant task switching.

If you can get those elements under control, you can likely see an improvement in your project success rates. Additionally, you can also see other stats like employee satisfaction and engagement also see an uptick, as employees will have a better opportunity to show what they can do in this environment. Your entire team wins when workflow management strategies are successful.


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