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10 workflow tips for project managers

Whether you're creating manual or automated project workflows, the goal is to ensure they're easy to use and efficient for your entire project team.
From Team '23

Tempo Team

The role of a project manager is to ensure that your company meets internal and external deadlines. It's also in your best interest to make sure projects are being completed efficiently in a manner that improves customer satisfaction.

The first step in promoting effective project management is creating efficient project workflows. Whether you're creating manual or automated project workflows, the goal is to ensure they're easy to use and efficient for your entire project team.

In this guide, we'll explain several workflow tips you can use to meet project deadlines and make the best use of your project management software.

1. Set Clear Objectives

The first step in creating efficient workflows is setting clear objectives. You'll need to be clear on what you want your workflow to achieve in the first place.

For example, let's say you want to design a content marketing workflow for your team. Here are some questions you need to answer before setting up this workflow:

  • What do you hope to accomplish with a new workflow? Do you want to create a more efficient system or optimize quality control?

  • Who are the main collaborators on your team? Do you have governance in your workflow management software?

  • What

    KPIs

    and metrics are you tracking to ensure your new workflow is successful? Are you looking at

    billable hours

    or project length?

Setting clear goals can help guide the setup of efficient workflows in your project management workflow software.

2. Produce a List of Jobs That Need to Be Done

The design of your project management workflow will ultimately come down to the tasks that need to be done.

For example, if you're creating a customer onboarding workflow, it's going to be filled with critical tasks down the project timeline, such as:

  • Scheduling a training session

  • Sending a drip email campaign

  • Giving account credentials

Creating a sequence of tasks makes it easier for project managers to brainstorm ways to make each of them efficient.

It also helps ensure no important task or project management process step is left out. When creating your list of essential tasks in a workflow, ensure they're in order of importance.

You should also be very clear about which collaborators or departments are responsible for each task, how long it takes, and the effort it'll take to get the job done.

3. Establish Roles and Delegate Tasks

No project workflow is complete without established roles. As a project manager, you must be clear on who is doing what on any given day. Let's use an example to drive this point home.

Let's say that you're creating a sales workflow. The purpose is to book demo calls for interested prospects and make sure they have all the information necessary to make a purchase.

You've gone ahead and listed all the tasks that need to be done within the workflow, such as:

  • Scheduling the demo call

  • Offering additional marketing resources

  • Handing off a lead to have a final sales call with the vice president of sales

Finally, you run the workflow and realize that nothing is going according to plan. And no sales have converted. The problem is that you've designed a great workflow, but you didn't specify who'd do what.

This is why it's essential to create roles for each of your collaborators. Ensure you're clear on which collaborators have the highest permissions within the workflow.

For example, in the case of the sales workflow, you should establish roles that communicate who'll host the sales call and which marketers will facilitate the process of developing the content your leads need to make a buying decision.

4. Create an Onboarding Strategy

As a project manager, one of the foundational steps towards ensuring that a project runs smoothly is making sure that every member of your team is fully onboarded and given the necessary access right from the start.

It might seem like a small detail, but this simple step can make a huge difference in your project's overall efficiency and success.

Here's why. There's nothing more frustrating than starting a project only to realize that you don't have access to a crucial tool or workflow management software.

When this happens, your team is fighting against the clock to get login credentials and complete your task.

Nip this problem in the bud by using OAuth to simplify and secure the authentication and authorization of their users across different applications.

OAuth is a set of specifications that allow developers to easily delegate the authentication and authorization of their users to someone else, such as a trusted third-party service.

That way, ‌users only need to log in to the workflow management tool once and use tokens generated by the service to access data and perform actions in one or more applications without sharing their credentials with each application.

OAuth also allows users to control the scope and duration of the access they grant to each application, ensuring they have more privacy and security. OAuth is widely used in web, mobile, and desktop applications, and it supports various use cases and scenarios.

With ‌proper onboarding, it means that your team members aren't left fumbling around trying to figure things out on their own. When everyone understands their role, the tools at their disposal, and the project's goals, they can hit the ground running.

It reduces the downtime that often comes with joining a new project or team.

Holdups like this occur far too often in inefficient project management workflows. The best workflows don't leave out important information, such as the project management tools and project management software that are necessary for the job.

Plus, when onboarding is overlooked or rushed, there's a good chance you'll spend a significant chunk of your time playing catch-up.

Instead of moving forward, you might find yourself repeatedly pausing to explain basic concepts, answering the same questions, or guiding team members through processes they should've been familiar with from day one.

Therefore, when structuring your project plan, you should provide a governance structure that includes the tools you use in each department and the permissions each collaborator will have.

5. Distinguish Between One-Off and Reusable Workflows

One-off workflows are unique to a specific task or project and might not be replicated. These are often tailored to unique challenges or requirements to address a singular objective.

On the other hand, reusable workflows are standardized processes that can be applied across multiple projects or tasks within your organization. Many companies use both, but as the main project collaborator, you should know their differences and when to apply each.

Think of creating reusable workflows with best practices that prioritize efficiency and scalability. That way, your teams aren't reinventing the wheel where established processes can suffice.

6. Leverage Project Management Templates

Creating project management workflows from scratch isn't a walk in the park.

And let's face it. You're busy with a million other balls to juggle. So, work smarter, not harder, by leveraging project management templates.

Pre-made templates can help your team customize a general workflow in any way you like. It can save you time and effort building a workflow from scratch.

Plus, there are tons of different workflows you can find online to gain inspiration with your project requirements in mind.

7. Master Resource Allocation

Effective resource management is critical to the success of any project, as it involves allocating essential assets such as human resources, time, and financial capital.

In other words, without proper resource allocation, your project can run into serious roadblocks and delay deadlines. Thankfully, many tools and strategies are available to facilitate the generation and allocation of resources.

Managing several projects simultaneously often feels like a juggling act. With LiquidPlanner's sophisticated engine, you can easily assess your team's availability, access workload predictions, and see a birds-eye view across all projects.

The result? A clear picture of achievable outcomes and timelines. With a single snapshot of all ongoing tasks (backed by live data), you can maximize your team's potential and consistently deliver top-notch work on time.

In the human resources arena, many platforms are dedicated to matching skilled freelancers with specific project needs. These platforms allow you to draw on a diverse talent pool, thus optimizing resource allocation and using specialized expertise.

Also, contemporary resource generation has evolved with the emergence of innovative funding platforms. From real estate crowdfunding initiatives to platforms such as Kickstarter, individuals and organizations have access to a wide range of financial resources for their projects.

These platforms democratize the fundraising process, allowing greater financial flexibility and enabling project managers to bring their visions to life.

8. Make the Most Out of Every Meeting

Love or hate them, meetings can be a double-edged sword. Here's why.

When executed properly, they can be platforms for ideation, alignment, and problem-solving. On the flip side, they can quickly become a time vacuum, contributing little to project advancement.

Finding the right balance between emails, Slack messaging, and in-person or video meetings is the key to your success. So, when you do have a meeting, make sure it is time well spent.

How? Before even scheduling a meeting, pinpoint its objective. Is it for decision-making, brainstorming, status updates, or resolving conflicts? An agenda provides clarity, not just for you but for all attendees, ensuring the meeting stays on track.

There's no quicker way to sidetrack a meeting than having the wrong people in the room. Invite only those who are directly involved in the topic at hand.

And finally, to ensure that meetings are orderly and formal, it's a great idea to implement Robert's Rules of Order, a popular methodology for board meetings.

However, you can also apply these rules for smaller teams to establish a clear process of discussion and decision-making. It's one of the best methodologies when you want to have fewer meetings but make them more productive.

9. Don't Underestimate the Power of Outsourcing

Efficient workflows are the lifeblood of successful project management, ensuring tasks and activities stay on track without missing a beat.

However, with workflow management software at your disposal in the digital age, it's not just about having the tools — it's about using them smartly.

Yes, most project management tools have dedicated resource pages to help you learn how to properly set up workflows. But sometimes, that isn't enough to fully unlock the tool's potential. In other words, how can you boost productivity tenfold?

That's where outsourcing to the experts comes into play. For example, Portfolio Manager offers demos with product experts to help you with onboarding support and building effective reports for your project needs.

Or if you are struggling to build workflows for your HR team, that's where Workday Consulting Services steps in as a guiding light. These experts specialize in demystifying Workday's potential, helping you configure the most effective workflows tailored to the needs of your project team.

Sometimes, it's best to let the experts show you the ropes. That way, you start on the right foot from day one. It's a no-brainer.

10. Continuously Evaluate and Optimize Your Workflows

Efficient project management isn't a fix-it-and-forget-it task. It's about regularly revisiting, evaluating, and refining. Because the only constant is change, especially when managing a larger team.

As you progress through a project, gather feedback from your team about the workflow. Are there bottlenecks? Are certain steps redundant or unnecessary? Are there tools or resources that could be added to make a task more manageable?

Regular check-ins with your team can also shed light on areas of the workflow that may be confusing or misunderstood. Remember, the best workflows are the ones that are both efficient and clear to everyone involved.

Treat your workflows as living entities that grow, change, and adapt based on the needs of the project and feedback from the team. By doing so, you'll ensure that your projects remain agile, efficient, and on track for success.

Final words

Creating the perfect project management workflow helps you nail deadlines.

Workflows help keep teams on task and provide a blueprint for completing their jobs on time and within budget. Plus, the better individual tasks are completed within your organization, the better the company can drive productivity and profits.

Which project management methodologies will you implement to make it easier to develop workflows that make sense for your business? Here's to your success!