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A Guide to Project Workflow

Whenever you look around any business, you’ll notice a number of project workflows collaborating to produce business results. The procedure your barista follows to prepare your coffee each morning? Such a workflow exists. The Netflix email you get after your credit card is automatically charged? It is a workflow as well.

Each business’s value delivery process consists of a collection of manual or automated workflows that are connected in order to provide outcomes to clients or stakeholders.

This RisePath article is for you whether you’re a project manager now or plan to be one in the future, or if you just want your company to function more smoothly.

How Do Workflows Work?

A workflow is a set of tasks required to complete a project in project management. For instance, when developing a new website, the workflow can include activities like designing the layout, coding, testing, and launching the site. The workflow can be either linear or nonlinear, depending on the project. 

A linear workflow is a sequential process like constructing a building where each stage must be completed in order, starting with laying the foundation to painting the walls. Nonlinear workflows are common in software development, allowing different features to be worked on simultaneously. A well-defined workflow is essential for completing all the required tasks and keeping the project on track. 

Although workflows should be developed at the outset, they can be customized and adapted as the project progresses. By implementing workflows, project managers can ensure that all tasks are completed efficiently and on time.

project workflow

How Do Workflows & Processes Vary From One Another?

In the business world, ‘workflow’ and ‘process’ are sometimes used interchangeably, but they have a subtle difference. A workflow refers to a set of steps that are required to complete a task, serving as a roadmap from start to finish. Workflows are more adaptable than processes, and they can be altered to match changing situations. Processes, including business processes, are designed to be strictly followed to achieve specific outcomes. They are more rigid than workflows and generally require more formal documentation and multiple stakeholder approvals.

Workflows are faster and easier to implement, while processes can be more efficient in situations that require strict compliance with regulations. 

To decide whether to use a workflow or process, the situation’s specific needs should be considered. Workflows and processes can be documented throughout a project’s life, with workflows changing based on iterations or changing project or team requirements, while processes typically remain the same, as long as they are fulfilling their intended goal.

A Workflow Diagram: What Is It?

Project management can be overwhelming with numerous tasks to track, schedules to maintain, and resources to manage. One effective way to simplify the process is by creating workflow diagrams that showcase the task flow from start to finish, including potential bottlenecks that may arise. These diagrams are usually visualized in the form of flowcharts that illustrate the process steps that each work item will go through to be considered completed or showcase the stages of the process of task or project completion overall. 

Workflow diagrams can be utilized as visualizations for each stage of work or provide an overall picture of the project depending on the needs. Flowcharts are a common format for workflow diagrams used to map out processes, and they are an excellent tool for demonstrating task progress throughout the project.

Workflows: How Are They Used in Project Management?

With sequential workflows, you can clearly show the order and actions needed to complete any job. Workflows are high-level processes that show the sequence in which tasks must be done and are diagrammed in project management.

Workflows aid teams in maintaining organisation and focus by detailing each project stage.

Workflow use cases for project management include:

  • Receiving a request for a project from a sponsor and starting the project.
  • Defining needs, creating a product or service in accordance with those requirements, testing it, and launching it.
  • The complete project management lifecycle. Consider a workflow as beginning, planning, carrying out, monitoring and controlling, and ending.

Workflows can frequently be automated, (with Bamboo alternative like RisePath PlanCentral), which will hasten task completion in many circumstances. For onboarding new staff, as an illustration, a pipeline may be developed. This process flow diagram would show each step that needs to be taken to finish the onboarding procedure, from distributing offer letters to setting up orientations.

Companies can guarantee that every new hire has a consistent and satisfying experience by adhering to a predetermined procedure. Even better, automating this approach can help to speed up the onboarding process and free up HR experts’ time to work on other projects.

Any project, from one-time events to continuing operations, can employ workflows. Teams may make sure that everyone is on the same page and that tasks are finished quickly by diagramming the processes required in a project.

Workflow software, automation, and tools

Project managers’ toolkits must include workflow tools, especially workflow automation technologies. Project management of distributed teams requires the ability to visually document, communicate, and iterate on workflows in online technologies. After you’ve mastered the fundamentals, think about what you might be able to automate.

Do you occasionally make a mistake or forget something? The consistent and accurate execution of repetitive operations throughout time can be ensured with the use of workflow automation. When working on challenging projects or with large teams, this might be very crucial.

Automating essential project management procedures can increase productivity and decrease the likelihood of errors. In the end, this may result in improved project outcomes and more satisfaction for all parties concerned.

RisePath PlanCentral is a powerful project management tool that can help teams automate their workflow processes. It provides a centralized platform for planning, organizing, and tracking tasks, deadlines, and progress across different teams and projects. PlanCentral, which is a great Bamboo alternative, offers a range of features that can help automate workflows, such as task assignment, task dependencies, and notifications. The tool also provides workflow diagrams and flowcharts that enable teams to visualize and optimize their processes. With PlanCentral, teams can reduce manual tasks and streamline their workflows, which can improve productivity and reduce the risk of errors or delays.

Let’s start working now!

Workflows need to be put into use immediately. Starting with workflows will improve both your understanding of your projects or processes and the understanding of others.

Start by listing the stages to a routine task you perform, then connecting the steps with arrows that explain what happens next and how to handle any exceptions.

Then, test that out for a procedure in your company and think about experimenting with a tool to record the workflow and share it with coworkers!

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