Project Management Workflow Software

When a small company is just getting started, workflow management might seem pretty simple. After all, there just aren’t that many people involved in each task. As you grow, however, your processes become more complex. This can increase the chance of human error. Not only that, routine processes start to take precious employee and management time away from the tasks that produce value for the company.

When your organization reaches this stage, it’s time to look at workflow management tools. There’s a lot that project workflow software can do for you. It can keep track of budget and tasks in all of your projects. It uses tools such as Gantt charts to show the project at a glance and point out dependencies. Perhaps most importantly, it facilitates your project management workflow. For example, time entry and task status documentation can be passed along from person to person with the appropriate alerts and controls to ensure everything is done in the right order and nothing is left out.

When a project management workflow system such as BigTime is installed and working, you have the benefits of accurate and automatic oversight of the processes. Repetitive processes are automated as much as possible so employees can concentrate on more creative work. Workflow processes are streamlined so they’re done the same efficient way every time. If you add more projects and more people, your system is capable of scaling and supporting your productivity growth.

A project workflow management system provides you with an overall picture of the projects and of workflows. It doesn’t let uncompleted tasks stay that way, but it follows up automatically with the appropriate alerts. It gives you confidence that workflows are completed properly and on time. It points out where you might have opportunities to make adjustments to keep a project on track.

Workflow Management System

Every type of business has workflows specific to its line of work. Whether your company’s expertise is in accounting, engineering, architecture, IT or other consulting, you need a workflow management app that takes into consideration your field of competence. It must support the specific things that you have to do to meet the expectations of your clients.

A common workflow system example is the tracking and reporting of hours spent on projects and tasks. A timesheet workflow ensures that employees and contractors enter time when they’re expected to. It presents the time information to managers in order to keep the process on track. It ensures that only authorized people can correct timesheets. It can enforce documentation of corrections. A good system provides notifications in multiple ways, including through the app itself and via an external channel such as email. All in all, a timesheet workflow eliminates the kind of errors that require difficult analysis and rework.

While employee hours are often the biggest cost on a project, workflow software can also manage the control and approval of other types of expenses. It can govern the submission and acceptance of expense reports. It can enforce project budget limits. A manager will see all the expense reports for a project and whether each is pending, approved or rejected. They’ll be automatically notified when they need to take action.

A workflow system is key in keeping a project progressing as it should. It eliminates the delays that can occur when an expense or a time report is waiting for approval. Timely approval ensures that managers have the most up-to-date project status information. Most importantly, the system does a big chunk of the processes necessary to complete the workflow. Managers can spend their hours supporting their staff and overseeing the most critical aspects of a project. They don’t need to spend as much time worrying about how time and expenses are going to be tracked and approved.

Workflow Management System Example

There are plenty of workflow management systems out there vying for your business. A wide range of vendors have software to offer, including familiar names such as Microsoft, Google, and Apache. You can even find workflow management software free.

Excel spreadsheets are an ever-popular solution for the workflow management challenge. There is workflow software free based on Excel macros and templates. However, it’s important to keep in mind that the initial cost of software, whether it’s free, almost free or with a bigger price tag, is not the only expense. The total cost of software ownership also includes the cost of installing the software, the cost of learning it, the cost of integrating it with your other management tools, and the ongoing cost of keeping it up to date.

Every business should look at exactly what they hope to accomplish with project workflow management. Then they need to evaluate how well various solutions meet their needs, and what the overall work will be in bringing in those solutions and adapting them to their own business practices.

Here are some important questions to ask about workflow software. How much of the workflow will have to been done manually? What kind of reporting does the system provide? How well does it integrate with the accounting system, the client billing system and other systems that are vital to the company?

While BigTime is not a free system, we do offer a free trial. Rather than spending your time trying to adopt a “bargain” system, consider testing out a full-function system with its features and capabilities. You may find that you not only gain more control over your workflows but also see workflow status and project status reported in new ways. You might learn things you didn’t know about your projects. The right workflow management tool not only controls workflows; it’s an overall weapon to help manage your entire company across all its projects.

Workflow Management Meaning

What is workflow? The basic workflow definition is that it’s a series of tasks that complete a goal. These tasks can be a straight-line sequence, or they can have branches where the task you do next depends on what happened in the previous one. They can loop back and repeat previous tasks. All companies have workflows, whether they recognize them or not. The simplest workflow examples are ones drawn out with pencil and paper. If you blow up one of these diagrams to poster size, tape it on the wall and declare that this is how you’re going to do things, you’ve installed a rudimentary workflow management system.

Of course, such a system is difficult to enforce and subject to all kinds of human error. That’s why businesses find it’s worth their while to acquire and install automated workflow management software. Just about anyone can map out a project workflow, but it takes a well-designed automated system to implement that workflow in a way that is reliably accurate, eliminates human errors and actually increases the efficiency of the way a project is run. This sort of workflow manager is essential to the productivity of the entire business. 

Workflow Task Management

Workflows tie together a series of tasks. Each one of these tasks has specific inputs, specific outputs, and processes that take place during the task. A workflow management systems architecture will contain tasks that are done by a person, a computer process or a combination of the two.

To look at one of the common workflow management examples, time entry is a task usually done by a person with the assistance of a computer. The inputs are the company’s rules about time reporting and the actual data the specific individual has to report. The process includes presenting screens to the employee, the actual entry of the hours on the screen, prompting and editing to ensure proper hour entry and confirming that the process is complete. The output is the complete timesheet, which is now ready to be input to the next task, which is most likely supervisor approval.

Project management workflow software manages the process not only at the individual task level. It also manages the coordination between tasks needed for the overall workflow to be completed. It moved the outputs of each task down the line to where they’ll be the inputs of a new task.

Team Workflow Management

A team workflow is the flow of tasks done by a specific team. Quite often the overall workflow will be the responsibility of one team. To a robust team workflow app, it doesn’t matter much if the workflow is accomplished by a single project team or by individuals belonging to a number of teams. However, if there are two teams that do the same workflow, and they do it in slightly different ways, there could be a separate team workflow for each of the two teams.

It’s possible to acquire free workflow automation software that includes team workflow management free. Quite often free or “bargain” project workflow software can be adapted to meet a business’s needs. However, most businesses have better things to spend their time on than modifying software that doesn’t quite meet all their requirements. A full-function workflow management system such as BigTime is more likely to fit into your organization with minimum impact on processes and on other systems. The time may be right for a free trial of BigTime for your organization. Find out what a complete and integrated project management system can do for you.