Work management has traditionally been a focus for companies that do physical tasks and manage physical assets. But in today’s world where the team is information workers distributed across different locations accessing computer and cloud-based apps to get work done, work management has taken on a whole new definition.
At its core, work management is about creating structure around the flow of work.
Workflow takes into consideration the movement of information and how it interacts with business processes and people. A work management solution needs to keep the information moving, plus provide the ability for collaboration, communication and document sharing.
As technology has exploded, managing workflow in a meaningful way has become more difficult.
Many teams have numerous apps “duct taped” together to accomplish work. And within larger organizations, there can be a wide variety of apps that team members use to get work done using a variety of devices.
Experts say today’s information worker must use almost a dozen tools to access data distributed across the enterprise. To solve the problem, companies have implemented tools like portals, intranets, and enterprise search in an effort to create an integrated workplace, but sadly, they’ve missed the mark.
And one of the biggest issues with work management that’s not streamlined is time. Using a plethora of apps causes team members to multitask and switch between apps to get the data they need to get their work done. Plus it’s error prone.
That’s two of the big benefits of work management – efficiency and results.
Here are three easy steps to help you get started in work management.
Step 1 - Document Business Processes
It’s important to know how work is currently getting done in your company before embarking on a journey to streamline work. If the maps are already complete, check to make sure they’re up to date and modify if needed. The last thing you want to do is build your work management system on outdated information. Make sure the process maps include all inputs and outputs, along with tasks that include communication or collaboration with another team member. And don’t forget to look at hidden inefficiencies that can derail the process.
I talk about this and more in the free Process Improvement Playbook: Overcoming the Hurdles of Manual Processes in the Workplace. Download it today.
Step 2 - Inventory Current Apps and/or Tools
This could be a pretty labor intensive task, but it’s critically important to help inform the decision-making for the work management system. One of the good things about doing this is that the process can reveal where there may be different apps or tools across the organization accomplishing similar tasks. If that’s the case, you’ll have to decide which ones serve the company best. Once the inventory is complete, decisions will have to be made about what apps are critical to enable the most efficient completion of the workflow.
Step 3 - Create Work Management Process Map(s)
This step ensures the work management process is the most efficient and doesn’t contain any unnecessary loops that cause duplication of effort. The process maps can be categorized into work types such as support work tasks (customer support), fixed work tasks (payroll), and corrective work tasks (internal trouble shooting). You should look at this from an enterprise level to get the most efficiency out of the process.
Once these three steps are complete, you’re ready to choose your work management tool to put it all together.