Whether you’re brand new to managing projects or have a few years under your belt, chances are you could use a little help in completing projects more smoothly — that is, on time and on budget more often.
We can all use a little help from time to time. For instance, I’m not ashamed to admit that I frequently call my mother when cooking.
Project management workflows are the “mother” of successfully cooking a project to completion.
When you do a lot of similar projects, you can improve your project management by standardizing project phases and creating a workflow that everyone understands and can work through together.
In this article, we’ll take you through what project management workflows are, how to create them, and give you some insight into project management software and templates you can use to make setting up your workflows a little easier.
What is a project management workflow?
A project management workflow is a carefully planned sequence of the tasks and activities you need to do to complete a specific project.
Having a clear order of tasks in a project management workflow helps projects get done more efficiently and effectively. They save time, improve results, and increase collaboration.
Depending on the nature of your team’s projects, you may be able to use just one workflow for everything, or you may need variations for different types of projects. But trust us — having a project management workflow is well worth it for every project.
It’s also worth investing in a project management software. 71% of people who manage their work with a project management software say that software makes it easier to know exactly where projects are in their workflow. That number drops to 52% for people who manage their tasks solely on paper.
You’ll want a project management tool or software that comes with workflow templates like this one from monday.com: (That’s us!)
What’s the difference between project management and workflow management?
Project management covers a lot of ground. It includes all the ways in which you can get a project done, from task management to process management to workflow management.
At its core, project management focuses on flexibility and transparency for every aspect of the project, from expected timelines and deliverables to who is responsible for each task.
Workflow management gets more specific. It outlines the exact sequence of steps needed to complete a project or task. The goal of workflow management is to create efficient, repeatable ways to get work done.
You’ll probably need both project management and workflow management — or a Work OS like monday.com, which does both — to successfully complete a project.
Using workflow templates — like the Gantt chart and table combination template below — can help you adapt to the timeline of your project while keeping an eye on everything you need to:
How do I create a project management workflow?If you’re new to project management or have never created a project management workflow before, it might feel overwhelming. But we’re here to take you step-by-step through creating your first project management workflow.
Whether you’re using workflow management software or going old-school with pen and paper, following these steps will help you create a solid project management workflow.
Just remember that these are the basics — you’ll need to fill in the gaps to create a custom workflow to suit your specific needs.
1.List what needs to be done. Make a complete list of each individual task that your team needs to complete to successfully finish the project. This can include anything from gathering resources to talking to stakeholders to quality assurance checks on the final deliverable. Try to put the tasks in the right order now to help you later.
2.Gather your resources. Now that you know everything that has to get done, make a list of everything you’ll need to do it. Think of tools, templates, files, and people. If you don’t already have access to everything, make a note of what you’re still missing so you can make sure to gather those resources before the project begins. You can use monday.com’s resource management template to make this easier.
3.Assign tasks and roles. Decide who will complete each task that contributes to your project. If you’re designing a workflow for a one-time project, you can assign tasks to specific team members. But if you’re creating a template to use over and over, you’ll end up with a more flexible project management workflow if you assign tasks to a team or specific position rather than an individual.
4.Create a workflow diagram. A workflow diagram is a way to visualize in what order tasks should be completed, what task dependencies exist, and what the overall phases of your project are. A workflow diagram often looks like a flowchart to better display connections between tasks. You can use a project management template like the one below for this, or create your own from scratch.
5.Test and deploy your workflow. It’s unlikely you’ll create a perfect project management workflow on your first try. You’ll need to test and refine your workflow as you complete more projects. For the best chance at success, present your workflow to your team and get feedback on it before deploying it, and then continue getting that feedback throughout your project cycles to make sure you’re consistently on the same page.
Your project management workflow can also include estimated times for each task or phase and regular check-ins to make sure your project is coming along on time and on budget.
Just 29% of businesses say they regularly complete projects on time, and only 43% say they complete them on budget.
A software with project dashboards like the one we saw above can help you track those items throughout the project cycle, so you can catch bottlenecks and problems early.
monday.com: more than a project management workflow software
monday.com is a Work OS that can help you manage projects, workflows, tasks, or anything else your business has to get done. It’s a platform for all your business operations, whether you’re a brand-new small business or a huge global enterprise.
When it comes to project management workflows, monday.com has everything you need to create completely custom solutions for your projects. You can start with one of dozens of workflow templates, and then adapt it to your precise needs.
You can view any workflow in one of 8 different layouts, including Gantt charts, Kanban boards, and calendars. You’ll find color-coded status markers to see project phases and updates at a glance.
monday.com also has plenty of options for workflow automation. You can set rules to receive notifications when a task is complete, or move a task to the next phase once it’s met certain criteria.
And since monday.com integrates with dozens of tools, including Outlook, Slack, and Zoom, you can get your automatic notifications in whatever tool you’re already using.
No matter what kind of project workflow you need to create, monday.com can help you do it. It works equally well for small HR teams onboarding new employees and large Agile teams working hard on their next development project.
Make project management workflows more efficient
Project management workflows help projects run more smoothly and increase efficiency and transparency. They let you create proven, repeatable processes that will make each project more successful than the last.
While you could create a project management workflow manually, a workflow management and project management platform like monday.com offers the templates, tools, and integrations to make workflows easy to create, maintain, and use to grow your business.
Try monday.com for creating your project management workflows and watch your efficiency and productivity soar.