You Need a Project Workflow!

pmStudent Contributor Sara Sparrow shares the value of project workflow. 

How much time do you spend answering questions like these?

  • Who does what in the project?
  • What are the expectations of the project?
  • What is the deadline for such a project?
  • What can team members take away from the project?

These are important questions. Your time is also important, and a project workflow can quickly and easily provide the answers. Freeing your time up so that you can be more strategic.

A project workflow gives your team a valuable roadmap.

What Is A Project Workflow?

What does a project workflow entail?

A workflow consists of various tasks. Workflows are often incorporated in businesses, companies, organizations, etc. Workflows often involve defining, executing, and automating certain business processes. Plus, workflows can be followed by one or more people, depending on the project or task itself.

However, in order for a workflow to provide value, you’ll need to keep the following objectives in mind:

  • Assign the right people to the right positions or jobs.
  • Be respectful of people’s wishes if they feel more comfortable doing something in a certain way.
  • Ensure that your workflow considers outside influences like third parties, vendors, other contractors, etc.
  • Ensure that the right tools are being used in your project.
  • Make sure that there’s a process in place when doing a project.

Why You Need A Project Workflow

While it’s easy to do without a project workflow, the reality is, a workflow can make things run smoother for you and your team. Suppose that your team runs into an issue during production. What would you do?

Project workflows give you plenty of structure and order. When something happens that’s out of anyone’s control, then at least you can fall back on your workflow. In fact, a workflow can act as your safety net, whenever something goes wrong.

With that said, check out these great benefits of utilizing a project workflow:

Improving Project Management

First, a project workflow helps you define all the steps in the production phase. From ideation to deliverable, a workflow allows you and the team to know what needs to be done, how, and by who. As a result, you’ll get much-needed structure in project management.

Cost- And Time-Estimate Accuracies

All project teams worry about how much a project will cost, as well as how long the project will take. If the cost and time estimates aren’t accurate enough, then your project team might either fall behind in production or risk having to start all over again.

We’ve established that project workflows allow for structure and order during the production phase. A workflow can also help you and your team make more accurate estimates on how much a project will cost, and how long production will take.

Operations Made More Efficient

A project workflow also ensures that operations are more efficient. When operations are efficient, deliverables can be created and delivered on time and without issue. This is made possible when you allow a workflow to act as your roadmap. As a roadmap, a workflow defines and executes operations. In addition, the workflow can help you spot inefficiencies, and suggest alternate ways to resolve them. As a result, tasks and roles can be streamlined when needed; and team members will know what to do.

Prevent Risks

No project is perfect. Your team will encounter risks. That’s part of why project workflows exist, is so that you can easily identify risks in your project. With a workflow mapped out, not only can you spot risks, but you can also prevent them from happening again.

Types Of Project Workflows

With the benefits in mind, you might think that there’s only one type of project workflow. But in reality, there are many variations of project workflows. Here are just two examples of project workflows:

Process Workflows

Process workflows are designed to define a set of tasks that are repetitive and already expected of production. In other words, it’s predetermined on what the path would look like, even before an item starts the workflow. Rather than having to establish elements over and over again, a workflow already knows what’s expected, because it is repeatable.

Case Workflows

A case workflow, on the other hand, works slightly differently. Although you might know what you’re going to create (like with the process workflow), the endpoint of the workflow isn’t always clear. In other words, while you’ll know what the outcome will be in a process workflow, that’s not always the case in a case workflow.

Suppose you’re going to build something. While you might know what the end product will look like, you won’t know which framework or resources to use. That’s why it’s important to do plenty of research, gather your resources, and learn the requirements before starting a project.

As you can tell, a case workflow operates on a “case by case” basis.

How To Incorporate A Project Workflow

So far, we have covered the following about project workflows:

  • The definition of workflows
  • Why it’s important to have a project workflow, AND
  • The types of project workflows

Now, it’s time to create a workflow that would do your project plenty of good.

Good luck!

Contributed by Sara Sparrow:

Technical Writer and Project Coordinator Sara Sparrow, Essay help and Speech writing service UK, 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 Lia Help.