7 Techniques to Help You Monitor Your Team’s Workflow
Whether you’ve already got experience running a big project or you’re about to oversee a team for the first time, knowing the right techniques to monitor workflow effectively makes the process a lot more manageable.
Many teams inherit outdated project management software, coupled with techniques that should have been dismissed years ago. Some even use a combination of different systems or, worse yet, continue to manage all of their projects offline. In all of these cases, you’re dealing with efficiency killers that create unnecessary hurdles as well as more headaches for you as the project lead.
At Scoro, we’re proud of the high bar that our all-in-one work management software sets for teams of all sizes. It integrates existing software into one centralized space, making it easier than ever to oversee your projects. What’s more, using our software alongside one (or more) of these modern workflow monitoring techniques makes the process of operations a piece of cake.
Read on to discover seven of the best workflow monitoring techniques to employ alongside your project management of choice.
1. Gantt Chart
So long, spreadsheets! A Gantt chart takes workflow monitoring to a new level, creating a visual representation of what might have otherwise been a static to-do list. On top of tracking everyone’s progress, the chart also lets you to plan effectively and to centralize all project-related data.
Incorporating this monitoring technique into the project management process makes life easier for you as manager because it links directly to a central dashboard that automatically updates as it goes. Forget about ever falling behind on important campaign developments along the way.
Gantt charts are a key feature of Scoro, giving you a 360-degree view of operations. It utilizes a collaborative drag-and-drop interface that is perfect for quick decision making and gives you comprehensive project structure without all piles of admin.
2. Kanban Board
Another popular technique to help monitor your team’s workflow is to use a Kanban board. With origins in the offline world, this visual form of workflow planning is often used by first-time project managers. This is mostly because its simple nature focuses on three operational tenets: “to do,” “doing,” and “done.” Tasks are then shifted from one column to the next on completion.
As you might have already guessed, Kanban boards are best suited to simpler projects or to small teams who are used to working together. Some projects might not have such a complicated workflow or might be driven by team members working remotely.
In these cases, our work management software takes original Kanban boards up a notch, introducing a group of features specifically designed to help project leaders like yourself manage everything more easily. Using Scoro guarantees that you won’t need to pull out an actual piece of cardboard or send daily nudges to the team to make updates just to keep track of how things are going.
3. Critical Path Method
Critical path method (or CPM) refers to a technique that allows you to see the longest sequence of tasks that have to be completed in order to drive the project from beginning to end, defining the project’s “critical” path. It should also show tasks that might lead to greater delays along the way if not completed in a timely manner.
A holistic overview is the name of the game here and CPM algorithms (which form part of a work management software) can help you determine the smallest amount of time necessary to complete each task.
If you’re ever asked to give a project timeline to a member of the board, you’ll now be able to pinpoint this a lot more accurately. You won’t have to enter any data manually – Scoro’s software handles calculations automatically and in a matter of seconds.
PERT stands for “program evaluation and review technique.” It relies on creating what’s called a PERT chart – a graphical representation of the total timeline of a given project. Although similar to the Gantt system, PERT charts are slightly more difficult to read but are better at identifying the dependencies in projects. For this reason, PERT is useful for teams that rely heavily on day-to-day problem solving.
A typical PERT chart is made up of rectangles and circles (“nodes”), which showcase important milestones of the project. The lines (“vectors”) show each task that helps to get you there. Everything points to a central goal, which helps to keep everyone involved on the same page about where things stand and what has to be done to drive things forward.
Project leaders can benefit from PERT charts because they help to evaluate both the time and resources needed to complete each individual node. Designed to incorporate data across multiple departments, you’ll be able to monitor progress as well as create a space for good communication. It’s also useful to spot blindspots and “what if” scenarios that might not have been visible otherwise.
5. Work Breakdown Structure
WBS or “work breakdown structure” is a valuable technique that is widely adopted in the modern workplace. Great for visualizing and breaking down the workflow, it rests on the principle that the project should be built on the best possible foundation. This basis is so critical to intricate and lengthy projects that it should be able to be directly linked to the success or failure of the project once it has run its course.
This technique thrives on defining the total scope of the project, so it can deliver on each outcome and objective. It rests on three short stages:
- scope planning
- scope definition
- structure development.
A lot of emphasis is placed on the first phase, which is where the foundation is laid and should be where you invest most of your time and energy.
WBS is an especially useful monitoring technique as it thoroughly covers initiation, planning, execution, and monitoring. Major deliverables are outlined and lower elements set out to create a clear picture of what has to be completed and tracked along the way. Sounds a lot like what Scoro, right?
6. Avoid Micromanagement
Micromanagement is a productivity- and creativity-quashing technique that is heavily embedded in some creative agencies. It involves keeping a keen eye on every single part of every single task, which can be a massive drain on key resources like time and energy.
If project roles are clearly defined from the beginning and matched according to the individual skills of your employees, there’s simply no need to be checking in with the team 10 times a day.
Sure, regular check-ins are still important (and can be quick to do in Scoro if someone has something to raise). The right way to go about this is to set a fixed time to meet rather than throwing last-minute requests at the person, potentially knocking them off their game. Most people actually want to perform well at their jobs – and are after your validation as their leader – but they should never be looked at as stress-immune work horses who are only there to do the company’s bidding.
7. Be Transparent
Transparency serves two primary functions in project management. It is an important reqirement for
- interactions between you and your subordinates
- direct communication between the team and the client(s) involved.
Open communication is the gateway to transparency and, as the project lead, you should be encouraging this to everyone involved.
To clarify, we’re not just talking about sharing good news when things start to gain momentum. Transparency also involves anyone in the team admitting if they’ve made a misstep, no matter how big or small it may be, and taking decisive action to overcome any challenges, rather than leaving them to linger and threatening the success of the project altogether.
Project management software can be especially useful in encouraging transparent communication. It also makes room for everyone involved to build positive working relationships with each other and to stay accountable to their individual roles to help achieve the next project milestone. Transparency is action and applies to all manner of workflows in all types of companies.
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Now that you’ve got a new kitbag of techniques to choose from, you’re ready to apply one or more of them to your next project. A great place to start is by doing a thorough review of your most recent project workflow, which should highlight potential areas where one of these monitoring techniques may come in handy for next time.
An integrated work management software like ours can help a great deal with implementing any of the techniques mentioned here in a practical and tangible way. The end result is a host of benefits to you and your team, increased efficiency, and the ability to make data-driven decisions as you manage the process. This will bring great structure to the way you work, as well as equipping you with the right tools to navigate everything in a project right from the first hello all the way to the final client invoice or project end goal.
If you’re looking to improve the efficiency of your team’s workflow, regardless of which of these techniques will be best suited to your projects, get in touch with Scoro today and start a free 14-day trial to learn more about how we can help you.