Project management is all about performing tasks that lead us to the desired business outcomes of value. Now to get to these outcomes a lot of tasks are required and a lot of which are non-value add or of low value. Not only that, these tasks also consume a lot of our time and efforts.
And the question becomes, how do we prevent, reduce and/or optimize the overall project management process to ensure high productivity and high value outcomes.
Before that, it is important to identify and understand the nature of our projects and the associated tasks. Next, bucket all low value tasks and plan to eliminate or optimize them.
In project management, there are lot of activities that are considered to be of low value yet are required or important to ensure the true value of the project is realized.
Majority of low value tasks fall under one of the following categories:
- Manual & Repetitive work
- Data Silos
- Use of multiple tools
- Scattered Communication
Manual and Repetitive Work
During the course of a project there will be a lot of repetitive activities e.g. reports and meetings.
Of course they are much needed to ensure efforts and obtained results are in sync. Else you will end up far away from your original project goal.
But then, automating as much as possible is the key.
Restrict meetings to a minimum and extend invites to required personnel only.
Identify what mechanisms or process improvements can eliminate need of a meeting. E.g. a quick team chatroom to capture all progress of the day rather than hosting a meeting with all team members and each one waiting for their turn. Waste of time!
Similarly, creating manual tasks on a daily basis is also not advisable. Having a tool that automates such tasks and creates them daily will save a lot of time for your team.
Project management is all about reports and analytics. But if you are in an overkill mode then you will have more data than action points. Result — there is no plan forward!
Use of project management tools that churn out daily, weekly digests, task progress reports, resource allocation, resource utilization, burn-down, project cost and budget reports in real time are a must.
Or for that matter timesheets and resource forecasting.
All activities of your project team must be recorded in a central platform that correlates all data and provides you the insights you need in real time, from anywhere and at any time.
Spending time in data gathering and manual reporting should be almost zero. If not, then you must get the right systems in place.
This is a huge productivity killer. Project teams spend a lot of time and efforts in scouting for the right information.
And more often than not, the identified data is stale, inaccurate or no longer relevant.
Information in today’s digital age must be available in a few clicks.
Review your existing systems. BREAK any and all data silos unless absolutely necessary due to compliance or regulatory requirements.
Plan any possible integrations or migration of data into a central platform and enable roles based access from thereon.
Data silos lead to a lot of inefficiency, errors and decisions one would regret later as the full context is often missed! Prevent that at all costs!
Use of Multiple Tools
This is another mistake most organizations do. Too many tools at the team’s disposal. Hence, they often spend time going from one tool to another to get their job done.
Imagine the learning curve, adoption time and overall cost of all team member’s time spent. Forget about implementation costs.
Integrated systems are the need of the hour and primarily so we have so many collaboration platforms with project, task, time, resource and report management features.
Thus, every business function of the organization can get their job done from one single tool with minimum dependencies.
Most importantly collaboration is seamless, information access is easier and in real-time.
They basically help reduce work management via docs, emails, chats, excels and centralize all key activities within the tool itself.
As a result, the team is not required to shift focus for every other activity leading to increased productivity and getting more things done effectively and in time.
Take a look at your current tool stack and either integrate them or move to a one-stop solution.
Inadequate or untimely communication can cost your project immensely. If you have to collect information multiple system of records (SoRs), you are going to need a lot of manpower, time which lead to significant rise in the project cost.
Thus affecting your project profitability.
And before that a direct dip in timely delivery, productivity, human errors, reworks and misrepresentation of data. From any angle, you are at a disadvantage.
As a business owner, project manager and leader you certainly do not want to be in such a spot.
Decision making becomes slow and tedious. Risk analysis and mitigation is also impacted.
Look to set the right communication medium, frequency, format and the audience for each of your projects.
Note, stakeholder communication and expectation management is key to your project’s success!
We can certainly not do away with all of these low value items. But some must be avoided at all costs.
Surely revamping your tool stack or system of records overnight is not an easy task. But you have to start somewhere. Look at your competition.
Identify the low hanging fruits or the ones that can be fixed quickly and offer great value.
For e.g. integrate your project, collaboration and time management tools
Fix processes by reducing non value add steps. Do away with unnecessary approval steps.
All in all the key is to focus on the “most valuable tasks” that generate the most bucks for your team’s efforts.
Do a backward correlation of the outcomes with the team’s efforts and see where you can help them.
End of the day if your team’s workload is flooded with low value add then you are not growing your profits, market share and neither are your employees.
Everything is connected! Hence, connect all your key activities on a single online project collaboration tool like Orangescrum that covers all things projects:
- Task management
- Time management
- Resource management
- Collaboration and chat
- Automated reminders, recurring tasks
- Operational reports
- High security with RBAC!
Book your personalized demo or if you are self-starter, Sign Up for a 14day free trial today!