If you want stronger team collaboration, greater transparency, and improved workflows - dial-in your work management. Let's take a look at how this is done.
Does work at your organization feel disjointed? Are teams really aligned — providing each other the insights they need to do their best work?
Truth be told: there’s a lot that goes into making data accessible, keeping stakeholders updated, and encouraging cross-team collaboration.
But once you crack the code to all of this, you can not only improve organizational productivity but also work quality. In fact, by giving employees easy access to the information they need, you can help them do their best work — lifting employee morale, engagement, and job satisfaction levels.
So the question now is: how exactly can you crack this code? Three words: efficient work management.
In this guide, we’ll walk you through what exactly work management is. We’ve also got recommendations for work management tools you can use to prevent things from falling through the cracks.
So without further ado, let’s dive in:
Work management is the process of streamlining your organization’s projects and processes to create a seamless workflow that improves team efficiency and business outcomes.
The process involves:
All this reduces silos between teams and makes sure all employees have enough context and information to get their best work done — boosting employee engagement. It also reduces resource wastage and ensures all ongoing and upcoming projects contribute to achieving business outcomes.
Ultimately, work management optimizes organization-wide productivity and drives profitable business outcomes.
Before we proceed any further, let’s get this clear: work management is not project management ❌
Essentially, project management involves planning and managing processes related to a single project.
Work management, however, involves planning, managing, and optimizing critical business processes.
Put this way, you’ll see that work management contributes to achieving long-term, organization-wide results such as improving work planning processes and resource allocation. In turn, this leads to boosted productivity and employee motivation.
On the flip side, project management aims to achieve project-level success.
Work management is crucial for streamlining and optimizing your processes, projects, and routine tasks. In doing so, it involves creating a mega org-level workflow that:
The benefits of this? Reduced silos, efficient processes, and less resource wastage.
With access to information and context, improved collaboration, and defined structure employees can also do their best work — increasing their motivation levels.
On the other hand, managers can assign work that fits each employee’s strengths and interests, which reduces boredom at work and resource overutilization and underutilization.
The most significant indicator of good work management is work efficiency. You can measure that with:
To this end, a good work management system centralizes data, documents processes, business goals and objectives, and encourages team collaboration.
As a result, it gives employees more time, resources, and structure to complete their work by pre-defined, realistic timelines without feeling overwhelmed. In turn, this work efficiency drives business outcomes.
So how can you create an efficient work management system?
The short answer: with lots of planning, talking to employees to unearth the real hurdles they’re experiencing and using work management software alongside collaboration and content management tools.
Let’s dig into this ‘how’ part next.
Creating a work management system takes extensive work upfront. From identifying day-to-day blockers to documenting everything from your business goals to project processes, there’s a lot that goes into it.
Thankfully though, the results you see are transformative, helping you across the board — resource utilization and allocation, employee retention, and satisfied customers.
One more thing to keep in mind: the exact steps and work involved in creating this system will depend on various factors such as your:
So be sure to use these steps as your foundation:
Work management starts with identifying the work teams across your organization are already doing.
You’ll want to take inventory of all your current and past projects and the processes you have in place.
At the same time, take stock of the problems the business is facing. Is there a lot of resource wastage? Are the end clients/customers not satisfied? Is there unnecessary hold-up in getting projects rolling?
It also helps to survey employees — even host one-on-ones with team leads to learn the project and process barriers their teams face.
To make sure you’re digging up the root problems, ask managers to talk to their team members to learn what they’re struggling with when it comes to doing their best work. This way, no one will be guessing or making assumptions about what’s wrong or what could be done right. Instead, you’ll know exactly what the problems are.
Based on what you learn, set clear, measurable goals for your work management plan. Some ideas for what these goals would look like include:
Now identify the tactics you’ll use to achieve each of the goals you’ve set.
For instance, if your goal is to improve communication, you can create a plan to reduce meetings by introducing video briefings into your project assignment process.
Once you’ve a plan of action ready, be sure to get feedback from your core team so they can spot blind spots or make any much-needed recommendations.
Next up: identify which software will help you implement the tactics you’ve outlined above.
Continuing the example above, if you aim to improve communication (goal) using video briefing (tactic), a tool like Loom can help you achieve this.
Broadly, you’ll want to look for the following software:
With your work management system on paper, it’s time to execute. Again, the work involved here will depend on what systems and processes you already have in place.
For example, if you don’t have any documentation in place, you’ll want to start there. If you have some, you’ll want to update it and create more.
By the end of this step, you’ll have:
In the initial phase, make sure all team leads not only hand out training and support resources but also meet their team to explain the new process. This ensures the human element in the process is intact while reducing work (as employees can easily reference resources to use new tools, etc.).
This step is essential for tracking how well you’ve achieved the work management goals you defined in the first step.
It’ll also shed light on other ways you can continue to optimize your process for better productivity and efficiency.
But instead of keeping the results to yourself, share them with employees so you can tell them how their individual efforts helped you achieve results. In fact, you’ll also want to survey employees to learn how well the new processes have solved the concerns they shared with you.
We’ve already touched on this, but to elaborate (in case you’re concerned about how big a role work management software plays), here’s what the software helps you with:
In turn, better resource management, project planning and management, and capacity management drive business results, and increase team performance and employee well-being.
As you select your work management software, make sure you pick one that lets you manage tasks, projects, and resources — all in one place.
It should also give you different project views (think: Gantt charts and bar charts) and reporting capabilities so you can keep both employees and stakeholders up-to-date.
Lastly, it should offer lots of integrations so you can streamline your processes — even integrate it with your team collaboration and content management tools.
Now that you know how to create a work management system, let’s show you ways to improve it:
Regularly talk to employees to learn which skills they want to develop and use performance reviews to track their strengths and weaknesses.
This allows you to assign tasks based on employees’ current skills and the ones they want to develop.
Keep an eye out for redundant steps in the processes you review. Eliminate the ones that aren’t needed and automate manual ones using tools like Zapier.
Create an internal or employee Wikipedia that shares business goals and objectives, ongoing projects, and other documentation.
But make sure all information is easily readable — otherwise, all that documentation will end up gathering dust. Don’t forget to regularly update this library.
Every time you host a meeting, make sure you (and everyone else across the organization) ask yourself: can this meeting be an email? If not, who needs to be in the meeting and why?
This will save you from hosting teamwide meetings where individuals don’t know why they’re needed. Reducing meetings this way will not only save time but also allow employees to do deep work.
Dive into how other businesses are improving their processes. Read available resources including books from executives sharing how work is done at their companies.
Also, talk to your peers — there’s a lot you can learn simply from trading knowledge on efficient work management.
Work management is not a one-and-done process. It requires consistent reviews and iterating your processes for efficiency.
For successful change management, get employees on board from the get-go. Learn what problems they’re facing, survey and poll them to learn their suggestions and opinion, share what you’re working on, and how it’ll help solve their specific problems.
This will help your employees adopt the process and workflow changes you make while giving you the time to test your new plan.
To recap, start by reviewing processes and workflows you already have in place. Then, set your goals and identify tactics you’ll use to achieve your objectives.
As you make changes to your organizational workflow though, make sure you don’t go too fast. Too many changes, too fast, will make it challenging for teams to keep up — resulting in the half-baked implementation of the new processes; bringing you back to square one.
And don’t forget, the right work management software is key to creating a well-oiled work management system. So invest adequate time in finding a tool that meets your needs the best.
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