The terms ‘project management’ and ‘work management’ have been used interchangeably in recent years, and both have also gained popularity in this age when everyone is obsessed with productivity.
However, project management and work management aren’t exactly the same thing. Most of us are more familiar with project management, which is essentially how we can manage a project so we can achieve the objective of the project while meeting its budget and deadline.
So, what makes work management different from project management? How can we use work management to improve productivity and efficiency? Here, we will discuss all you need to know about work management and give you actionable tips on how you can start implementing it ASAP.
What Is Work Management?
Work Management, according to Gartner is a set of solutions (software products and services) that help apply workflow structure to:
- The transmission of information
- The interaction between business processes and human worker processes that generate the information
So, work management focuses on the movement of information, effectively streamlining business processes which in turn will improve the team’s performance and productivity to improve results.
Gartner, however, put more emphasis on software solutions and services, but work management is also about the concept behind these software solutions: managing workflows and tasks.
Project management also deals with the same things but must stay within the scope of a project. Work management, on the other hand, can be implemented in just a single task (that is a part of a bigger project) or the whole organizational operations consisting of multiple projects running simultaneously.
So, we can say, that project management is actually a part of work management. A project, as we know, is limited in its deadline and by itself is an ad-hoc work pursuing specific objectives. Work management, on the other hand, is a continuous process, more like a cycle, and the success is not based on achieving objectives but to bring about growth.
Work management can include:
- Resource management: managing resources available to achieve the organization’s objectives
- Collaboration: managing communications and collaborations between team members
- Project management: managing the success of projects to achieve the organization’s objectives
- Time management: ensuring projects can meat the deadline and every team member can accomplish their designated task on time
- Budgeting: planning budgets and ensuring projects can stay within budget
- CRM: managing relationships with customers as we are executing tasks and projects
Challenges In Implementing Work Management
As we know, managing a team is difficult, and there will always be challenges in implementing work management to improve your team’s productivity and performance. Before we can successfully implement work management, we have to first understand these challenges and how to tackle them.
1. Defining priorities between the tasks
In any project and especially in continuous work, we are always dealing with finite resources and time. So, we can’t always deal with all tasks and projects with the same attention: there are important tasks, there are urgent tasks, and there are tasks that are not so impactful so we can deal with them later. The thing is, defining which are which can be quite challenging
2. Defining a deadline
Similarly, giving a task a deadline can be challenging if you don’t have the right knowledge and experience to set the right finish date.
3. Defining roles and responsibilities
Assigning the right people to the right task is arguably the most important thing in ensuring the success of a project. However, this requires us to intimately understand the strengths and weaknesses of each team member and a thorough understanding of the task/project.
4. Having clear internal and external communications
We can’t have an effective team if we don’t have effective internal communication. Meetings are the usual approach in building communications and relationships between team members, but today’s demanding work life makes it challenging to arrange meetings around the needs of many team members. This is where virtual meetings via conference call service like CallBridge can significantly help in building the right environment to implement effective communications. CallBridge can also act as a document sharing tool, which also will be useful in implementing work management.
External communications with clients and stakeholders are also important. Team leaders and managers must not forget to update the clients and stakeholders about the state of the project and the current priorities. Similarly, virtual meetings and asynchronous file sharing can be the solution.
How To Implement Work Management: Best Practices
1. Find one place to manage work
A very important thing to consider when implementing work management is to have one platform where everyone in your team can view projects and tasks, and can collaborate and communicate in real-time. This will significantly improve the transparency and accountability of your whole organization, which in turn will improve your team’s productivity and efficiency.
2. Work management is about and for people
A very important principle to understand is that work management is about people. That is, there’s no use in using the most state-of-the-art software if it’s too difficult to use by your team members and stakeholders. Communicate with your team members and listen to their needs and concerns, and build your build management around their pain points.
3. Measure, measure, measure
To really improve efficiency and productivity, you should quantify every milestone and set KPIs so you can analyze and optimize everything happening in your team. The more you can measure, the more bottlenecks and issues you’ll identify, and the more you’ll be able to improve and optimize.
4. Monitor everything
A key part of successful work management implementation is that team leaders and executives must be able to see everything that is happening in their respective teams without micromanaging. The better your leaders can monitor which team members deliver results, the more efficient your business processes will be.
Implementing work management is essentially about balancing your team’s workload so you can finish the project successfully while also ensuring you meet your budget and deadline. This is especially true if you have multiple ongoing projects with your team where you need to manage your team’s workload effectively. While there are indeed various challenges in implementing work management in any organization, maintaining good communication is key, and with the help of technology, virtual meetings can be the solution to improve your organization’s internal and external communications to achieve better efficiency and productivity.