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Work management: What it is and why you need a work management strategy

How do you drive organizational efficiency when it comes to projects, processes, and routine tasks?

It starts with understanding work management.

Work management is the practice of applying a workflow structure to the movement of information and execution of business processes with the goal of improving results and performance. .

A workflow describes how people get work done, sequencing the steps required from the beginning to end of a task or activity. Defining a workflow streamlines procedures, ensuring and ensures that team members follow the correct processes to complete tasks or activities.

By analyzing how work flows between tasks and team members, you can uncover inefficient processes and improve operations. For example, 60% of a person’s time at work is spent on low-value activities such as searching for information or duplicating existing work.

These low-value activities impact productivity and hurt your bottom line because they take time away time from more impactful work. This leads to delayed projects, missed deadlines, and unbalanced workloads.

In this article, we will identify the benefits of workflow management, how it differs from project management, what to include in your work management strategy, and how a tool like MindManager® can help you better organize workflows and tasks resulting in an efficient work management plan.

Benefits of work management tools

Work management simplifies and automates processes and procedures related to individual and team workflows. By streamlining repeatable tasks and identifying bottlenecks, your work management strategy improves the efficiency of your workflows.

There are many ways that work management tools can benefit your organization, such as:

Reduced manual work. Work management strategies are focused on how people complete tasks, which includes automating job activities and reducing manual work.
For example, repetitive tasks such as document routing, data entry, and customer communication can be automated. Automating workflows reduces the time, expense, and resources needed to complete work activities, allowing enabling individuals to focus on higher-value tasks.

Clear delineation of responsibilities. Work management ensures that everyone working on a task is aware of the various assignments at play. This eliminates communication breakdowns by identifying what work needs to be completed, who is responsible for what components, and when tasks need to be done.
By clearly defining responsibilities, you build trust between team members, improving productivity and cohesion.

Increased efficiency. Mapping out workflows also gives youdelivers insights into weak points in organizational processes. For example, you can pinpoint tasks that are redundant or overly time-consuming, streamlining activities and increasing operational efficiency.

Flexible decision making. Visualizing your workflows makes your company more adaptable. Work management fosters flexibility with resource and task allocation so that you can easily define, organize, and modify workflows based on factors such as task complexity or process changes.

Enhanced collaboration. As more and more organizations embrace remote work, virtual collaboration tools keep people connected no matter where they are. Team members can work together in real time on a single platform, sharing files, approving documents, and providing feedback on tasks and projects.

Elements of a successful work management strategy

A typical workflow contains three key components—inputs, transformations, and outputs.

  • An input is something that puts the workflow into motion, such as the materials needed to complete a task.
  • A transformation is a specific action that moves the input through the workflow.
  • An output is the result of an input and its corresponding transformation. Outputs occur throughout the workflow as tasks move through various stages. They also represent the end results of a completed workflow.

While all processes are comprised of these components, the complexity and combination of inputs, transformations, and outputs can vary significantly.

There are many ways to incorporate work management into business operations, so what’s included in a particular strategy will vary depending on the type of workflow and its complexity.

In general, keep the following elements in mind as you’re building an effective work management plan:

Pick your process. The first thing you need to do is determine the type of work, such as a process, project, or case workflow. Identifying the tasks at hand keeps everyone on the same page regarding what the work requirements are, how to go about fulfilling them, and when or how often they need to be completed.

Gather information. For a workflow to accurately reflect the needs of your organization, you should collect insights and feedback from the various people and departments regarding which team members handle each task or activity that comprises given process.

Define responsibilities. It is important to identify the various stakeholders who are responsible for executing tasks (or ensuring their satisfactory completion). Your workflow may include a combination of people, systems, or machines, so defining task responsibilities at a granular level can help eliminate redundancies.

Diagram the workflow. After you have identified the flow of activities and task delegation, it is time to turn your data into a compelling visualization. Your workflow diagram can use symbols and shapes to define various steps, providing valuable information about how work is performed.

Analyze your results. Once you have diagramed your organizational workflows, it is easy to identify any potential problem areas. Look for bottlenecks, time-consuming processes, and other inefficiencies. Work with stakeholders to understand workflow issues, such as unnecessary steps or communication gaps, and modify your work management strategy accordingly.

The differences between work management and project management

When building a work management plan, it is important to understand how this process differs from project management. These two terms are often used synonymously, but there are key differences in terms of their scope and functions.

A project is unique, has a defined final goal, and is produced over a specific time period. A workflow is a repetitive, functional process designed to be performed the same way each time.

Work management applies to the organization and coordination of various workflows, while project management is a complex, layered process informed by specific project requirements.

Companies need both work management and project management to drive successful outcomes. All projects involve workflows that require work management to keep processes running smoothly to stay on time and within budget.

Importantly, work management is all-inclusive to the various tasks that take place throughout the organization. This brings clarity to managing workloads by streamlining recurring processes, including the following:

  • Managing employee onboarding.
  • Allocating resources.
  • Delegating tasks.
  • Storing and sharing documents.
  • Reviewing and approving work, budgets, and requests.

Organize workflows and tasks with MindManager

MindManager® enhances your work management strategy with straightforward, customizable workflow diagrams. These charts and diagrams provide multiple ways of visualizing workflows, such as flowcharts, swim lane diagrams, and more. Using this diverse array of templates, you can customize the visualization of tasks and workflows to fit your various business needs.

Whether a workforce is remote, on-site, or a hybrid, MindManager keeps teams connected via workflow diagrams even when they are on the go. In fact, the MindManager Go mobile app enables users to view and navigate workflow diagrams on their mobile device. When this app is combined with MindManager Snap, it is easy to capture, store, and share content via workflows.

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