Process, Project and Task Management

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Reading this text you will be able to understand:

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The Differences

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The Overall Benefits

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How to Apply Each Type of Management

Let’s get some context into what happens during someone’s daily work routine. We have three different scenarios:

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Jack is a CMO and your boss. He has to launch a new company product by the end of the year and he asks for your help. What should you do?

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Lauren is a Financial Manager and her team is receiving a lot of reimbursement requests since the company she works for has double the revenue from last year. What is her solution?

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Vanessa is a senior IT Software Developer. She is currently working with Agile and has a high number of demands. How should Vanessa treat these activities?

1. Differences Among Process, Project and Task Management

Project Management

Starting with up Jack’s case, if you give his request an overview, you will notice that it has a beginning and an end. If we can simplify how we see a project, it is something you have to deliver with a certain timeline. A project is a collaborative effort to develop a unique product, service or goal. It is an endeavor to build something that daily activities are not able to fulfill.

As your mission is to help your boss, Jack, you will have to create a project to launch the new product. Gather the people that you believe will  bring a high-level contribution to the project. Develop a plan, thinking in terms of activities and budget, with a start and an end date to guarantee the results are delivered in time.

Process Management

Have you thought about Lauren’s issue though? She doesn’t have a time-boxed deadline to deliver the reimbursement. Her team has repetitive requests that they have to execute over and over. This is a process!

To better manage her team, the best option for Lauren is to create a pattern. She must understand what information the company needs and to keep track of what is going on. Unlike Jack’s project, she won’t build something unique for the company. She doesn’t have a deadline, but she must shape a process for her team by gathering the data needed to improve the company’s results.

Task Management

Unlike Lauren and Jack, Vanessa needs yet another solution. Her concern is related to how she is dealing with all her activities. She doesn’t have a clue what the status of her work is. She needs to manage her tasks, so task management is the answer.

Task management is the willingness to get one’s activities in order and to gain better control of them. As Vanessa starts practicing this, she will be able to track how long tasks take to carry to their conclusion. By doing so, she will better define her due dates, and from that moment on, she can improve.

2. Main Benefits

Before we hash out how to create each one of them from scratch, understanding what the main benefits of each method is critical.

Project Benefits

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Budget definition

Know how much you are going to spend

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Collaboration among co-workers

Improve teamwork in your company

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Results definition

Know which results you can expect

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Expected date to launch

Use the date as a big announcement to all markets and inside the company

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All schedule definition

Have a clear understanding of when you are going to see activities in action

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Huge deliver/contribution

A new product, service or a big contribution to your company

Process Benefits

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Give a structured patterns to what your employees will do

Use best practices and don’t lose sight of essential information

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Control results

Improve takt time and cycle time

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Database

Become data-driven and move your actions by data

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A clear understanding of what has to happen

Get a clear understanding of what each team player is doing

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Bottleneck identification

Easily understand your wastes

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Improve results

Kaizen mindset, improve your process continuously

Task Management Benefits

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Improve timing

Better controlling your tasks will make you understand best practices and how to apply them

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Database

Control all your tasks in a single place, discovering how much you can handle

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Adopt best practices for the whole team

If your team members have similar tasks, you can share among them and apply to all

3. How to Apply

Build a Project in 5 Steps

If you are going to build a project, you must: initiate, plan, execute, monitor, control and close. Some may say it has less or more phases, either way here you can find a simple way by PMI (Project Management Institute).

First, you should understand what you want to deliver. What kind of change are you hoping to bring forward?? How is this going to impact the business? What does your company need? Afterwards, you should create a plan. When is everything going to take place? What are the main tasks you should implement to achieve this unique contribution to the company? Who are the people that could contribute to this project? How much money will it cost  the company?

When you have a straight plan, starting to execute it is your next step. You have to continuously ask: are all activities on track? What do you have to do to improve results? Finally, when you got to the end of the project, you must deliver the final papers and resolve debts.

Build a Process in 3 Steps

There are multiple ways to better shape your process. We will give a 3-step-rule:

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Input

What information do you need to start your process?

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Process and execution steps

What are the main stages? What should your team should follow to get the results you want?

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Output

What do you want to achieve by the end of the process? What is expected?

In the example above, Lauren could start asking: What is the basic information our team must have to fulfill reimbursement requests? For that purpose, she can gather her team and make a list. As an illustration, the key inputs could be: name, email address, item/tool in question? Cost, category and an attachment link to insert the bill.

During the process and execution step, Lauren must understand how many phases they will need to get through for a e process to be considered complete. For example, first the request will be inserted by someone, after the solicitation will or will not be approved by the responsible manager. If the reimbursement is approved, it will go to the financial team to create the payment. It’s important to understand who is responsible for each phase, and to create deadlines and gather all pertinent information for the team to move on to the next step. 

The final output is either the solicitation will be approved and paid, or rejected and moved to e “archived” where the responsible can include the proper feedback.

In any company, creating a process is the first step to direct what is going to happen in the business. Consequently, you obtain other  benefits such as compiling all necessary information, easily viewing what is taking place, streamlining and improving. In the end, the idea is to perform better,  use time wisely, reduce costs and increase revenue. 

It is important to notice that this process, although it has a final step,  needs continuous improvement. Using the Kaizen mindset, you need to search for progressive process development as you will probably discover new best practices and new ways of identifying and conquering bottlenecks. It is a key point not just to build your process, but to streamline it and boost it through practice… The continuous search for perfection is a successful company’s ideal mindset.

What About Task Management?

The main thing to ask yourself is “how are you taking care of your various workplace activities? Do have a special time during the beginning of the week to prioritize tasks? Individually speaking, you need to have a clear understanding of what your contribution is to the team. It is not about having a fixed plan, but taking your tasks and conquering them in an organized way. You will be able to do so if you have a great task management system in place.

Important Note:

A Project Can Have processes Inside

Sometimes, as you’re handling team projects, you must create structured processes to enhance the results you need to achieve. Financial processes, such as reimbursement, or a process to prospect new partners, are some examples of this. Scenarios like this will need a designated  pattern process that everyone must comply with. 

Repeatable Projects Can be Treated as Processes

Do you have a pattern in your project that should be respected?
Imagine you work for a construction company and you have to deal with predefined projects to build houses. In any step of the project, you know there are main phases and each of these phases has important steps to follow. You might even need to send reminders to your team during some of these steps. What you can do to optimize this? You can treat each project as part of a process as steps, required information and outputs follow a process anyway.

Sometimes, as you’re handling team projects, you must create structured processes to enhance the results you need to achieve. Financial processes, such as reimbursement, or a process to prospect new partners, are some examples of this. Scenarios like this will need a designated  pattern process that everyone must comply with. 

Task Management Can Be a Process

If you have a team and you don’t have a clue of how many activities they handle and you want to better organize them, you can create a simple process such as a backlog, to-do lists and categories of  “doing” and “done.” You will be able to have all tasks listed, and you can automate some things such as due dates and assigned tasks. A simple process to give you an overview on your team’s tasks will save you time and give you a better understanding of what stage things are in. In turn, you will save time. 

Your Next Steps

Now that you have a clear understanding of the main aspects of each category, you can step up in the market and be assertive. Securing the perfect solution for your problems is a determining stage. Don’t lose another minute going after those big results!

Pipefy is the Lean Management Platform and can help you organize and standardize processes. Better control what is happening in each phase, eliminate rework and automate mundane tasks in order to generate value to what matters most, your customers.

Create your processes with Pipefy!

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Written By

Vitor Manenti

is from Pipefy's Marketing team. He's a Business student, currently living in Curitiba, Brazil. In his free time, he loves spending time with friends and traveling.