How to Build Time-Bound Project WorkFlows?
Project management is one of the top discussed subjects in any business process, but when it comes to structuring and planning the workflows, every team will have its ideas. But overall, meticulous planning, rigorous preparation, well-defined workflows, and continuous monitoring are critical to successfully delivering a project. In basic terms, well-planned time-bound project workflows can help improve project quality and complete them efficiently within the set timeline and budget.
With the rise of the internet and groundbreaking connectivity, workplace dynamics have changed dramatically. Businesses are adopting new strategies and systems every day to make their services and products more desirable.
To put the best foot forward in the competitive world, businesses are unraveling the advantages of time-bound project workflow systems. Organizations have started implementing project management software to boost productivity and reduce stress.
This blog will walk you through how to build a time-bound project workflow in a simplified manner and dive deep into the different workflows and benefits that can help your business to gain success today and in the future.
What is Time Bound Project WorkFlow?
A time-bound workflow is a way of accomplishing tasks through a logical sequence within a specific duration. We often knowingly or unknowingly use workflows daily in the professional and personal arena.
Typically a workflow is visually represented in a diagram that associates the small tasks together to achieve the final goal. Henry Gantt invented the workflows popularly known as the Gantt charts in 1919 to hone the skills in the workforce.
Gantt asked three simple questions in his charts:
- What tasks are to be completed?
- Who will be responsible for each task?
- How much time will each task require?
Today, the same principles apply to the workflow process, except many steps are automated through the project management software and set within a decided time frame. With the time-bound project workflow, you can consistently stay on top of your work and track progress.
“Workflow is a series of activities that are to be executed to complete the tasks of a project.”
An important aspect to consider is that workflows can be repeated, can take time, and can be performed by a team or individual member, depending on the project. The goal is to progress efficiently between the tasks and provide the necessary output on a given date. A successful time-bound project workflow will measure growth and improve the expected results.
Stages and Components of Workflow
Building a time-bound project workflow comprises eight stages.
When it comes to maintaining your workflow, there’s always room for improvement. Making changes will ensure that the workflow runs smoothly within the time. Besides, it saves time.
3 Basic Components of Workflow
Remember, the tasks in each workflow will vary depending on the project. But, every project is made of 3 essential components.
- Trigger: The starting point that begins the workflow. It could be a decision, action, research, time, or response.
- Series of Tasks: It comprises all the tasks, people, and deliverables involved in the workflow.
- Results: The final output that workflow produces. It could be purchasing the service or deriving certain information.
Trigger and results are equally essential components in the workflow. However, it’s the series of tasks that will consume time. The workflow is ineffective if you are unaware of the starting and finishing end.
Why Do We Need Time-Bound Project Workflows?
"When you work for the project, the project will definitely work for you."
A time-bound project workflow helps in completing the tasks within the deadline. It eliminates discrepancies and keeps the team together on the same page. According to the annual report by Wellington, 47% do not have access to real-time project KPIs, with 50% spending one or more days manually collating reports. So if you have yet to start using the time-bound project management workflows, here are signs of doing it within your organization.
Assign & Monitor Tasks from a Centralized System
Using a time-based workflow in the system removes the uncertainty among the employees about who will perform which task or where the task lies. A workflow system assigns the work responsibilities to them.
To Follow a Structured Approach
A time-bound project workflow presents a structured approach to the project. It holds the project in a strategic and constructive work method that enables in following successful steps, avoid repeating mistakes, and consistently improve.
To Reduce Risks
A well-planned time-bound workflow decreases the risks and complexities associated with the project. It ensures timely delivery, diminishes unwanted spending on resources, and limits the revamping of the work.
To Remove the Redundant Work
A well-articulated workflow can remove the redundant work activities that consume valuable time that could be spent on doing productive work regarding the project.
To Save Time
Every time an employee is stuck in the loop of issues, they can go back and refer to the workflow rules and work accordingly. This saves time and boosts the confidence to solve the problem.
To Monitor Project performance Evenly
A time-bound workflow helps measure project performance and determine the areas of improvement. Managers can track performance in real-time using modern project management software and other tools.
Companies that use time-bound workflows can render brilliant customer experiences. They can understand what clients want and foster customer satisfaction.
To sum it up, Workflows can:
Since workflows will run in the background for various tasks, one can focus on the project and provide the best results effectively.
How Does Work Flow Differentiate From Processes?
Often we hear the terms like workflow and processes referred to as the same meaning. The terms have similarities but hold different notions.
A workflow refers to a sequence of tasks the teams or people undertake to accomplish the work. Workflows are strategic as they often demonstrate step-by-step guidance to perform the activities and reach the end goal of the task.
Example of Workflow and Process
Let us consider an example of signing up a new client.
In the above example, the workflow is made up of small tasks, and the process is signing up a new client and offering efficient and seamless service.
A process in a much broader term. It's not only about focussing on the tasks but holding support for the business goals. For example, using HR software to hire new employees is an example of a process. The process consists of paperwork, setting up the workstation, training, and so on. A workflow helps in mapping out these steps to conduct the process.
Benefits of incorporating Time-Bound Project Management WorkFlows
A time-bound project management workflow helps team leaders and members visualize the complexities involved in each task process at the right time, thereby understanding things better, iterating them, and executing them on time. A project loses value when it is not delivered on time. That is why organizations and businesses should consider the aspect of incorporating time-bound project management workflows into their operations. Consider these benefits of using time-bound workflows in your project management.
Every project management plan has its workflows that employees must follow. The best way to ensure in maintaining workflow transparency is to set time-bound imitations on each particular task. The transparent workflow assists in enhancing the coordination among the team. Moreover, the manager will not have to worry about micromanaging the tasks as the team follows the dedicated workflow.
One of the most challenging activities is to race against time and accomplish tasks. One can positively achieve these goals by exercising the usage of time-tracking software. Employees aim to maximize unproductive time by completing the allotted tasks on time. With the implementation of time-bound workflows, records are kept intact, along with pertinent information like who completed the tasks and when and how many corrections were made. This naturally increases accountability among the team members. Adding deadlines within the tasks allows employees to learn and manage their time effectively.
A part of developing a time-bound workflow is understanding the operations better, which eventually results in overall improvement and optimization of the project. To receive operational efficiency at its highest level, setting up a time clock software will accurately track the billable hours. It can also help you track work hours spent on each project. Altogether, it refines operational efficiency and works cohesively in completing the project.
Businesses need to keep track of resources while working simultaneously on projects. This results in a waste of resources. Again, the time tracking tool becomes a savior in measuring the resources spent per time. Furthermore, the tool enables finding the over usage of the resources and identifies if a simple team member is performing the majority of tasks. This drastically reduces employee burnout and disputes and limits the cost of redoing the work.
Usually, the bottlenecks are visible after a specific time for the project has been completed. To identify the business bottlenecks, here are three signs you need to look for:
- Interpretation or lack of growth in tasks
- Delay of work assigned to a specific team or person
- Excessive and inconsistent workloads
Now, if you encounter any of the signs mentioned above in the initial phase of project planning, it means that you need to tweak improvements in the workflow. Collaboration software will let you peek into each part of the workflow, improve coordination, and help identify the bottlenecks beforehand. It saves time and helps determine how the project runs from end to end.
Making Versed Decisions
Integrating time-bound workflows within the project planning phase provides optimized insights. These insights help us understand the capabilities, resources, and time limits required by the team to complete the project. With better understanding, managers can make versed and strategic decisions. The constant tabs on time will make it easy to make decisions and eliminate the guesswork without affecting the time frame of the decided project.
The benefits of using a time-bound workflow in your project management are undeniable. Right from the start, if implemented correctly, it can transform how the team functions and contribute to client satisfaction. It leverages software usage at every project step and drives efficiency across the organization.
Three Common Types of Time-Bound Project WorkFlows
There are several types of workflows. This section will look at some of the most common time-bound project workflows.
#1. Project Workflow
A project workflow is a perfect option for keeping track of complex projects. The project activities are mapped out to align which tasks will occur when and in what order.
The project head will make a list of various valuable tasks to perform and reach the project's end goal. The project workflow gives you a peek of a bird-eye view and finds the critical bottlenecks that might hamper the timely completion and ensure the project runs smoothly.
A downside of using project workflow is that it cannot be repeatable from one project to another. Still, there are times when some project workflow information can be used again.
For example, let us assume there is a requirement to create new software. One of the first tasks of such a project is to collect the necessary information and specifications of the software as per the client's requirements.
Collecting the information will be similar from one project to another, resulting in re-using a particular section of the project workflow.
#2. Case Workflow
A case workflow is similar to raising a help ticket to solve the problem. Case workflow is a bit different than the other types of workflows that transpire in sequence. It will work on different workflows to solve the initial problem.
With case workflow, the solution will not show upfront of the problem. Instead, the steps can change on the way while trying to solve the problem.
To understand it better, let's take an example. Suppose two team members cannot access the server's available data. One member of the team might require some configuration in the computer. While the team member has the correct settings, they cannot access the data. The data team will join here since the problem is unrelated to the configuration settings.
Case workflows are apt for problems where the solution is determined along the way.
#3. Process Workflow
Process workflows are the most familiar type of workflow to illustrate predictable and repetitive tasks. With this workflow, one can also derive solutions to a problem within the process.
For instance, a process workflow can highlight how to create the website content for the software or send an invoice to the client. With process workflow, two things are defined:
- Which tasks need to be completed first and when?
- Which team will be committed to delivering those tasks?
These three types of workflows come in handy depending on what information or project you are working on. Regardless of your chosen workflow type, each one of them will cut costs, promote growth and development and make solid business decisions.
9 Tips on Building a Time-Bound Project Workflow For Businesses
Setting realistic deadlines for projects takes time and effort. So is sticking to them. But it's not impossible. With the accessibility of the softwares and project planning skills, we can be more efficient in creating time-bound workflows for the project. Here are nine tips to put into practice and avoid whiffing the deadlines and build time-bound workflows.
#1. Understand the Nature of the Work
Before commencing any task or project per se, take time out and understand the nature of the project. Understand the intricacies related to the project. Alongside this, the person receiving the project should clarify their understanding.
If a complex project has a tight deadline, map out the work that needs to be done and set priorities for the task to achieve the deadline.
#2. Set up the Resources
Now that you have established the priorities for the task determine what resources will require to complete it successfully. The task often demands consistent research and extra effort to gather information. Do you have sufficient assistance or supplies on hand? If you still need to, you may have to discuss and propose an extended timeline to present quality work.
#3. Add Buffer Time
There's a quote by John Lenon that goes like this, "Life is what happens to you when you are busy making other plans." In a business context, urgent duties may pop up anytime and go differently than planned. Here's where adding buffer time and planning for the contingencies through task management software will take away your stress as you work.
Keep your plans A, B, and C ready for the backup. There might be instances where there will be an interruption, and you will have to sideline your tasks. Therefore start adding buffer time to make your calendar more manageable.
#4. Track Deadlines
With all the other duties aligned up, there are high stakes of missing the sight of projects and their deadlines. To avoid the whiff, use time-tracking software to organize your tasks, activities, and other important milestones. Keep checking in regularly as a part of your daily routine.
Plan for the minor tasks. Don't plan too far. Start by listing tasks that need to be completed in the current week and further divide them into your calendar for today's and tomorrow's tasks. This will keep you on top of your schedule throughout the day.
#5. Bifurcation of Tasks
Identify which tasks will consume a significant amount of effort to finish. Start off with the tasks that will consume long hours and expected effort. Plan to tackle the most challenging tasks first and avoid starting with the smaller ones, which can eventually lead to procrastination.
#6. Priority Management
When working on a project, certain tasks orbiting around must be completed on a specific date. To get the most out of your time, incorporate priority management into your daily schedule. Jot down all the tasks and label them "urgent' or "important." This will assist you in planning what needs to be done on an urgent basis, what can be scheduled, what can be delegated, and what can be dropped as of now.
Make a habit of prioritizing your tasks along with the to-do list activities.
#7. Time blocking
Time blocking is about creating your schedule based on the deadline, dedicating time, and consistent efforts. It can help you focus on the tasks and provide quality work while improving your time management skills.
More than 50% of workers are not engaged at work as a result of stress, leading to a loss of productivity. One of many roadblocks that hinders productivity is due to answering emails, phone calls, and other activities. Time blocking lets you create boundaries without jeopardizing the most engaging and vital tasks.
#8. Use Gantt Chart
A Gantt chart is a famous project management tool that assists in visual planning of what needs to be done and when. It’s a helpful tool that works exceptionally well in tracking project schedules. With the help of Gantt charts, one can view progress, constraints, and other information related to the project. Using a project management tool, it is easy to set up and manage a Gantt chart. It lets you update the series of tasks and deadlines that are interlinked with one another. The software automatically updates the changes made in the task or deadline, saving time and reducing the chances of missing important information.
#9. Automate Workflows
Workflow automation is all about deploying the tools and softwares that will automate the activities related to the time-bound project workflow. The aim is to remove human intervention and reduce human errors. By automating the tasks, efficiency increases within the organization. Additionally, it optimizes the workflow using accurate data analytics and generates reports to reach various goals of the project. For a high success ratio, leveraging automation in the workflow will redefine your company brand, making it a go-to solution among customers.
Managing project deadlines is tricky, especially when complex projects overlap each other. This can often result in declining the quality of work and productivity. For optimum results, merging the time-bound project workflow makes the process smoother and more efficient. It offers substantial benefits. A pre-defined workflow system assigns responsibilities and holds accountability for the tasks. Additionally, it empowers the team to strive toward completing the project within the time limit.
Every team and project is different, and so are workflows. It's essential to take some time out and design the workflow with the project scope in mind. The process of creating and managing the time-bound workflow is a daunting task. But when aligned with the right tools and softwares, it becomes easy to understand and view the results quickly.
Are you looking for the best project management software tools for your organization? Go through the list of best project management software prepared by GoodFirms to select the right option for your organization.
Hailey Stewart is a computer science graduate working as a content writer with GoodFirms - an excellent platform providing IT Companies and software reviews. She has 4+ years of experience in content writing, social media, and marketing. Hailey loves to write about cutting-edge technologies and the latest trends in the digital space. To connect or learn more about the information, get in touch with her at - [email protected]
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