5 ways to establish project workflows

Want to get projects done in record time? Consider having a workflow process.
Workflow defines, executes, and automates business processes. Tasks and information are passed from one person to another as they follow a set of procedural rules. So, as you can see, workflows involve work by one or more people which, in turn, transform materials, information, or services.
Person draws a diagram and tangled lines.

Milestones in the project

So, if you are looking to maximise productivity at a faster and more effective pace, then look to these 5 tips. They can help you get started (and move forward) with a workflow:

1. Determine the type of workflow that will work

Project workflows have two categories:
  • Process Workflows define a set of tasks that are predictable and repetitive. In other words, before an item (a blog post, for example) starts the workflow, you will know what exact path it should take – this is all based on past experience.
  • Case Workflows are when you know what you will create; however, the final delivery does not have a clear path. So, you must gather resources, conduct research, and understand requirements further before you can map out the workflow. For example, if you’re building an app that you’ve never developed before, you know what the result looks like, but not the frameworks and resources needed to get there – this is a “case by case” basis.

In either case, you can develop templates to plug into your workflow.

2. List all services and deliverables

Make a list of all the services you provide, along with their deliverables. Normally, you must create several sub-deliverables prior to delivering the final project.

Your main job in this step is to understand everything that you create in the project from start to finish. Just keep in mind: Some of the things that you create might be internal (i.e. for your own teams) while some will be external (i.e. meant for clients). For example, a style guide would be consumed internally, while a finished blog post would be shared with clients.

Plus, know the difference between a deliverable and an activity. For example, a blog post template would be considered a deliverable, if the “activity” is to gather requirements for such a template.

3. Map each deliverable’s processes

For each deliverable identified, map each of their processes from start to finish. For example, when creating a blog post, consider the following steps:
  • Gather requirements from the client (i.e. your creative brief)
  • Use creative brief “takeaways” to create a style guide
  • Create a strategy based on creative brief and project requirements
  • Brainstorm topics
  • Have a content calendar
  • Create a post outline
  • Send approved outline to freelance writer
  • Approve rough draft and send it to CMS (Content Management System)
  • Edit draft, and schedule for publishing
  • Share finished URL with client

Dependencies for each deliverable are either:
  • Deliverable-specific, meaning that deliverables need a prior step before completion. In other words, before creating a blog post, create an outline.
  • Project-specific, meaning that the deliverable depends on an item that is universal to all deliverables in the project. For example, a creative brief is needed before creating any blog post.

4. Create workflows

Next, map out the resources, time, and paths the deliverable might take. Consider the “what ifs”:
  • What if the editor does not approve an outline?
  • What if the client does not approve the final post?
  • What if a freelancer drops out unexpectedly?

Mapping a visual workflow not only maps out what resources you’ll need, it’ll also helps you manage risk. Even beginners can use this workflow to know what steps are needed and in what order to create a deliverable.

5. Optimisation

Finally, optimise everything for better efficiency by looking closely at your workflow. Keep the following objectives in mind:
  • Is this the right path to create the deliverable?
  • Are there any unnecessary steps?
  • Are there any unnecessary resources?
  • What tasks can be completed simultaneously?
  • Can you facilitate collaborations between and across teams?

Now, optimisation can be tricky. Optimise to a certain extent. Make sure that you get rid of only the unnecessary things. Plus, make sure that everyone has the right steps (as well as the right number of steps) to help complete the project.

Conclusion

Project workflows can help you bring order and structure to the operations done in your agency. As you read through this quick guide, you will be able to establish effective workflows that’ll help you and your team complete projects well.
About the author: Kristin Herman writes at UK Writings and Academized. She writes articles for online publications, such as Boom Essays. As a tech enthusiast, she blogs about the latest trends in technology.

Keywords: Project Management, Workflow, Project Planning, Tip

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