Four Reasons to Write Out Your Project Workflow from Start to Finish

3 April, 2019

Managing projects in the workplace can feel like an uphill battle- especially if those projects change hands frequently. The goals of creative projects, in particular, can sometimes become muddled and lost as they change hands and flow from person to person.

A workflow can solve these issues- and others- with relatively minimal fuss. It opens up the opportunity to arrange all of your deadlines and processes in one place and communicate the methods and systems you want to use to achieve your goals. Your project team is made up of human beings- not mind-reading robots. A workflow gives them the chance to understand what you're looking for without constant check-ins.

Dedicating time to writing out a workflow and define the standard operating procedure for your project is tremendously beneficial. You'll be able to avoid setbacks and miscommunications more easily while ensuring that everybody involved in every step of the process knows what they're working towards.

1. It Affords You the Opportunity to Clearly Lay Out Your Project Scope

A well-developed project scope is critical. It allows everybody involved in a project to have a clear idea of where the project is going and how they fit into that end goal. When you take the time to carefully craft your product scope, you're giving your team an in-depth definition of what your project is and is not. You also have the opportunity to establish rules and boundaries.

Integrating your project scope into this process will help you set up your workflow in a way that's tailored to your end goals. Projects can be completed in an efficient and organised matter when everybody knows what they're working towards. Defining your scope- and thereby establishing your workflow- allows you the chance to establish key elements of your project: the who, what, where, when, and why.

2. Avoiding Classic Issues Becomes Easier for Higher-Ups

Once you have a dedicated workflow in place to share with the team behind a project, everybody involved in the process from the top down will have a much simpler job to do. Project managers gain the capability to easily communicate goals in ways that other team members will actually understand- rather than having to worry about whether or not they even understand the project, managers can spend time communicating instead of fretting.

Delegating tasks, monitoring employee progress, and then reporting that progress all become simpler as well. Ideally, your workflow will lay out what it's going to take to meet your goals clearly. This makes the managerial task of assigning and delegating work worlds simpler than if project managers were left to blunder and cobble together a plan.

Not only that, but you'll benefit from better reporting by managers who actually understand a project. You may even experience a reduction in reports and complaints- project leaders are more capable of assisting team members and resolving issues when they understand the intimate details of a project.

3. Lower-Level Team Members Can Also Dodge Troubles More Easily

When managers are able to clearly and effectively communicate about the job that needs doing, team members are better able to understand the work that's in front of them and what it'll take to complete it. A productive and knowledgeable management team translates to productive and knowledgeable team members. The time that you dedicate to creating a project workflow will create trickle-down benefits for everybody involved in the project.

4. Standardisation Becomes Easier

Holding everybody involved in a project to the same expectations is far from unreasonable- provided your expectations are clear and consistent. Projects without a dedicated workflow oftentimes suffer from meandering, wistful ideas forming the bulk of their makeup; this is far from conducive to standardisation and fair treatment.

It's easy to keep project managers and team members accountable when everybody is aware of the rules and those rules are unchanging. Even new hires will find themselves integrating into the workplace quickly when they're offered clarity about the expectations and goals of the project that they're stepping into. A thorough project workflow can make the difference between a struggle and a dream during the on boarding process.

Things to Keep in Mind as You Begin Writing Your Project Workflow

Not everybody is a natural planner or lister- but you don't have to be to create an effective workflow! Provided you're willing to dedicate some time and effort into setting up a workflow, you'll likely find that creating it is a fulfilling process. You should be glad to take pride in the goals you're setting for your team and how you intend to lead them to success; and that's what a workflow is all about.

There are a few things to keep in mind as you begin considering the formation of your project workflow:

  1. Workflow should be established during the planning stage of a project
  2. Determine your project scope first
    • From here, begin building a workflow that pushes you and your team towards success (i.e. meeting the goals of the project scope)
    • Consider who's best suited to which tasks and why
    • Keep the way that the project moves from one department or person to another in mind
  3. Keep your team and project in mind
    • Some projects necessitate deeply-detailed workflows; others do not
    • Some team members create the need for more thorough workflows; some do not
  4. Be extremely detailed and concise when it comes to order of priority regarding project steps and rules
  5. It pays to be clear about where each employee's responsibilities begin and end
    • This is doubly true in projects that shift from employee to employee or department to department
    • Avoid office squabbles amongst employees ahead of time; don't give anybody the chance to shirk responsibilities or avoid tying up loose ends

For some, creating a workflow can seem like a mundane struggle; but it shouldn't be that way at all. If you're proud of what you want your project to achieve and have developed a team that you believe in, creating a workflow for a project will likely turn out to be an incredibly fulfilling process. It gives you the opportunity to share your hopes for the future with your team and tell them how you think you can best come together to make your goals a reality.

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