How to Enhance Your Project Management with Automation

On average, organizations have a 70% project failure rate (4PM)—yikes!

At the heart of most projects is a project manager, and in many cases, a project fails because the project manager himself wasn’t up to the task or he was unable to adequately oversee all aspects of the project he was assigned to. In order to prevent project failure, however, most businesses choose to adopt software that can improve project management.

While most businesses use software to some degree, often off-the-shelf workflow and project management tools (i.e. Asana or Trello), these tools aren’t always used as effectively as they could be, nor do they always provide the answer to every project management issue. But with machine learning rising in popularity, business process automation is now becoming the right-hand for many project managers.

If you have yet to incorporate automation into your team’s project management processes, here are a few ways you or your project manager(s) can use automation to increase efficiency and achieve even better results.

1. Reduce busywork.

One of the most time-consuming aspects of project management is that it often calls for the completion of many tedious tasks, or what some may call busywork. The Washington Post explains in an article regarding busywork that employees spend two-thirds of their time doing desk work, from developing reports to sending emails—that’s almost half of the work week completing menial tasks.

For project managers specifically, however, this number is likely higher. Not only must project managers complete their own personal tasks, but they are consistently working to ensure that several other people are staying on task. While this is a critical aspect of his role, it can eat up a lot of valuable time, slowing down his potential to produce results.

Solution: This is one instance where automation can help: Automation can be used to complete some of those necessary but repetitive tasks. From sending follow-ups to sales calls to managing your project manager’s appointments, automating tedious tasks here and there can take some work off of your project manager’s plate and give him more time to do more.

2. Automate workflow management.

While most businesses (93%) have adopted standard project management practices, these practices aren’t always implemented as effectively as they could be. In fact, according to one survey, only 22% of organizations use project management software to support their processes (Business2Community), which means that roughly a quarter of businesses could be doing more to increase their efficiency.

In addition, a lack of project management software often indicates that there’s no way to ensure that your project manager is accurately following your business’s processes exactly. Moreover, if for some reason you need to hire someone else for the position, training a new employee to follow those processes will likely be more challenging.

Solution: Rather than cross your fingers and hope that your project manager can get by with spreadsheets and his Google Calendar, consider using workflow automation tools. Workflow automation takes your project manager’s processes and turns them into repeatable patterns; that way, he can increase his efficiency and contribute more in the same amount of time.

3. Designate tasks more effectively.

One of the most important assets of a project manager is their leadership skills. But calling all of the shots can be time-consuming work, especially if he is overseeing a large team and if any of those team members are remote.

From sending emails to making phone calls in order to designate who does what, along with communicating project updates, there can be a lot of wasted time in-between. Likewise, it can be difficult to ensure everyone’s on the same page if all the information isn’t clearly recorded in one place.

Solution: While project managers are known for calling all the shots, your software can remove some of the work from that process. Thanks to machine learning, your project management software can identify patterns, such as which employees are most well-suited for which tasks, and designate tasks to the appropriate employee. As such, your project manager will have more time to do what he does best: manage projects.

4. Streamline the feedback loop.

Once each task has been designated to appropriate employees, the next step for your project manager is to ensure that every team player is on the same page. For instance, he needs to ensure that every employee is staying on task and that stakeholders are in the loop on their project’s progress.

In order to keep everyone informed, a project manager needs strong communication skills. Unfortunately, the Project Management Institute (PMI) cited ineffective communication as the reason why business projects fail one-third of the time. In this way, most teams could benefit software that assists them in this area.

Solution: Especially when all of your projects are organized within one project management system, automation can easily take your existing feedback loop up a notch. By sending notifications, reminder emails, and more,  your software can ensure that no one is left out of the loop and that communication doesn’t become an issue.

5. Gather better projects insights.

When you have a growing team, let alone a team with multiple locations, it can be difficult to assess if things are actually going as well as they should be for each employee, if tasks are being completed accurately and on time, or if your project is at risk for failure. These days, however, software can help to keep these aspects of project management in check.

Your project manager and his fellow employees may already be using software to keep track of what they’re doing, how far along they are with each task, and more. But, is their software providing you with formalized reports, warnings, or updates? If not, there’s room for improvement.

Solution: While your project manager may already be doing his part to track what he can, automating those metrics and their analysis can greatly improve accuracy and reduce the amount of time spent developing insights. As such, your project manager can better assess where your employees can grow, as well as where project errors may arise.

6. Keep things moving when your PM is gone.

No one wants to admit it, but there’s going to be a day when your project manager isn’t in the office. Maybe he’s taking the day off, or he’s caught the flu, but he’s not there to keep projects moving. But to stay in business, things need to continue even when he’s not present.

Not all teams, however, have someone who can step in and pick up the slack while your project manager is out—your team may be included. So, what happens? Things either fall apart, or your project manager ends up working while on vacation, as 66% of Americans often do (Glassdoor).

Solution: So your team isn’t in distress when your project manager is out, you can use automation to continue moving things forward. Your software can continue designating tasks, reminding employees when tasks are due, and more, so those vacation days don’t interfere with your projects’ progress.

7. Scale without hiring.

There’s no question that most project managers have too much on their plate. Especially when your business grows, and your project manager (or managers) can no longer seem to keep up, it may seem like the next logical step would be to hire another project manager.

The downside, however, is that hiring another employee isn’t a one-time-only cost. Not only will you have to pay the employee’s salary, benefits, and more, there’s also the cost of finding that employee, employee onboarding, and finally, training him to join the team.

Solution: Before scaling your business by bringing another project manager on board, you might consider using automation to free up as much time as possible from your existing project manager(s). That way, your project manager can accomplish more, so your business can continue to grow and boost that revenue.

Conclusion

Automation is a great way to improve your team’s project management, whether you have one project manager or twenty. When built into your project management software, automation not only makes things easier and more organized but saves time.

Depending on the needs of your team, off-the-shelf software with some automated features may do the trick. This software can be purchased online or from your nearest tech store, but it comes with its fair share of limitations, as it is designed for the many.

If you’re looking for automation that’s more personalized to your needs, consider if custom software would be better suited for you. Custom software allows you to tailor your technology to your unique needs.

For automation that’s designed just for you and your team, contact us.