In her previous article, You Need a Project Workflow, pmStudent contributor Sara Sparrow taught us how a project workflow helps manage risks, increases team efficiency, and brings clarity to project work. In this helpful follow-up, Sara gives us tips on how to create your project workflow.
- Start At The End
Believe it or not, when creating a project workflow, you’ll need to start at the end. This is why:
- You and your team will know what the end goal is.
- You and your team will know the deadline ahead of time. AND,
- You and your team will know what to expect throughout the project.
Once you have your end goal in mind, you can then work backward, so that you can learn what path is best for you and the team. Think of this step as creating a checklist from end to beginning.
- Create A Definition For Your Workflow
Now that you’ve figured out the ending and starting points of your workflow, it’s time to define it. How? By creating a realistic workflow diagram.
A workflow diagram allows you to incorporate the different kinds of people that are going to be involved with the project. However, you’ll need to make sure that everyone on the team has signed off on the workflow before you make any changes.
- Give Each Person A Role In The Workflow
Of course, there’s no doubt that each team member will have a significant role in the project. In other words, each member has a say in each stage of production. That means allowing each member to do the following in a project:
- Approve ideas
- Reject ideas
- Point out any issues (frequent or new)
- Change statuses (what’s done, what’s incomplete, etc.)
- Double-check things, etc.
No matter what, a project workflow will ensure that everyone on the team is contributing to the project.
Now that you know what the end goals are, the definition of the workflow, and who is responsible for what in the project, it’s time for some optimization!
This is where you take the time to look back at your workflow and make modifications. When optimizing the workflow, make sure you do the following:
- Identify any issues or bottlenecks that might hinder the project.
- Correct any dead ends before starting the project.
- Figure out how you can collaborate between and across teams.
- Figure out what tasks can be automated. This allows your team to focus on work that requires their skills and expertise.
After optimizing your workflow, you’ll need to analyze it. When analyzing your workflow, do the following:
- Identify any trends in the performance of your workflow.
- Fix loose ends of your workflow.
- Eliminate any repetitive or unimportant tasks. Etc.
You can analyze your workflow by using project workflow software, which are readily available online.
- Track Progress
Finally, you’ll need to track your progress. With a project workflow, tracking progress is made easier!
The good news is, there are plenty of online tools that can help you track your project. This is especially helpful if your project requires cross-team collaboration. Plus, online tools can help you track progress if you’re working with more than one workflow.
Ultimately, project workflows can help you and your project team get the most out of your project work. Use this guide to get started and reap the benefits on your way to project success.
Contributed by: Sara Sparrow is a project manager and technical writer at Top Canadian writers and Best essay writing services, spends most of her time attending tech and marketing conferences as well as providing consultations to businesses on these topics. When she has a minute, she also contributes to magazines and blogs, including Study demic.