The Ultimate Guide to Task Approvals

March 10, 2024
11 min read

“Who approved this?” These words are a project manager’s worst nightmare. With clear approvals, a project moves efficiently from start to finish, and project stakeholders are happy.

But without them? Projects stall, deadlines come and go, and stakeholders become frustrated.

This is why task approvals play a critical role in a project’s success and efficiency. They give teams a structured framework to make informed decisions, improve accountability, and promote open communication among stakeholders. As project managers juggle multiple tasks and deadlines, task management tools can help take some of the pressure off their shoulders.

In this article, we’ll review why task approvals are important and provide some best practices for optimizing task approvals. We’ll also cover how workflow task management software can speed up the approvals process and what you should consider when evaluating a task management app.

Let’s get right to it!

Why Task Approvals are Essential

Here’s a hypothetical scenario: A company is working on a big project. One of the company’s stakeholders asks to review the project plan before the team begins work on the project. As requested, the project manager drafts an email detailing the project plan and hits send.

Days pass and the project manager still hasn’t heard back from the stakeholder. The project manager sends a follow-up email as members of the project team begin asking about the project status. Meanwhile, several team members assume the plan is approved and start working to meet the deadline.

The key stakeholder didn’t know the team was waiting for approval, and they have significant changes to the plan. The project is now behind schedule and over budget.

This scenario could have been prevented with an efficient task approval process in place.

Task approvals allow teams to maintain project quality and preserve timelines. Having a task approval workflow ensures work is completed correctly and on schedule. Other benefits of task approvals include:

Early Problem Identification

Approvals allow stakeholders to review and provide feedback at critical stages. Teams can catch errors or lapses in quality early on. During approvals, it’s much easier to make course corrections and prevent issues from snowballing later in the project.

Standardization and Consistency

By setting clear approval criteria, you help ensure tasks meet quality standards. Teams can produce consistent deliverables and minimize inconsistencies or rework.

Bottleneck Prevention

Like in the fictional scenario above, approvals can create bottlenecks in the workflow. This might include unclear instructions, knowledge gaps, and resource roadblocks. When you can address these issues promptly, you prevent delays and keep the project on track.

Task management tools provide many of these benefits and more. You’ll spend less time chasing down approvals and be able to focus on delivering your best work.

Integrating Task Approvals in Your Workflow

Sixty-two percent of businesses have identified three or more major bottlenecks in their business processes that effective workflow automation could help address. Is your business one of them?

Task approvals are a core feature of many workflow task management software solutions. By setting up task approvals, you increase transparency, trust, and control, providing greater visibility into project status. When added to workflow management systems, task approvals keep stakeholders informed with notifications and provide insights on task progress. They organize tasks step-by-step, ensuring teams meet their deadlines and complete tasks as expected.

Approval workflows can include permission levels, alerts and notifications, and reporting and analytics capabilities. They also integrate with other systems and give project managers an audit trail for document and approval history, which means no more asking the dreaded approvals question!

While the steps in your approval process should reflect your business and workflow, the process usually looks something like this:

Step 1: Submit a document for review.

No matter who submits a document for review, the process should be seamless. With many task management apps, teams can upload documents through a cloud-based platform and review and approve them from anywhere.

Step 2: Stakeholder reviews.

A concept or document may need to pass through many hands before reaching final approval. Within your task management app, you can create a clear process for distributing a task and collecting feedback or approvals. It automatically notifies approvers via email when a task is ready for them.

Step 3: Granting final approvals or requesting changes.

When stakeholders are ready to sign-off on a project, your task management app should make it easy for them to issue approvals or request changes in a few clicks. It should also give reviewers the ability to reassign the task to the project manager or to the team member responsible for making revisions.

No two companies have the same approval workflow. The beauty of some task management apps is that they are fully customizable—you have the flexibility to make changes to the workflow as your process evolves.

Best Practices for Efficient Task Approvals

It may seem obvious, but to pave the way for efficient task approvals, you have to know what tasks require approval. Should initial concepts and key project milestones be submitted for review? Or just the final product?

You’ll also want to define what the approval process looks like. Who are the key players in the approval workflow? What happens if a project stakeholder rejects a task or requests changes? Will this restart the review process?

During the task approval process, clear communication is key. Teams should be transparent about what’s expected, the project timeline, and the consequences of the work not being completed as expected. Not only will this help build trust with project stakeholders, but it will also ensure faster approval turnarounds.

So how can you make sure your task management tool has the right features to support an efficient approval process allowing you to save time?

Here are some traits you’ll want to keep an eye out for:

  • Automation: You want a task management app that automates as many tasks as possible. Your project teams can be more productive, spot issues earlier in the project, and cut project costs.

  • User-friendly interface: If using the tool is too confusing, it can hinder productivity. Choose an app that’s easy for your team to understand and use.

  • Seamless integration: Integration with other platforms is vital for effective task management. With an all-in-one task management tool, you get easier task integration and a more seamless flow of data.

  • Customization: A tool that requires too much hands-on support from IT to meet your needs will likely slow down your process rather than expedite it.

Common Pitfalls in Task Approvals and How to Avoid Them

Having a clearly defined task approval process is half of the battle. The other half is avoiding the mistakes many teams make along the way. This includes:

  • Not involving the right stakeholders. Even the most effective task approvals process will fail if you aren’t engaging the right reviewers.

  • Quality standards that don’t align with project objectives. Teams must agree on how quality will be defined for every project.

  • Not documenting quality standards. If teams don’t understand standards for quality or how quality is measured, you’ll encounter misunderstandings and inconsistencies during the approvals process.

Is it possible to avoid these pitfalls? Yes! Many task approval issues pop up because tasks are not being properly delegated, communication is siloed, and priorities are unclear. The right task management app can alleviate many of these headaches.

For example, Swisscom Event Solutions, a technical logistics provider, struggled to track tasks, timelines, and deadlines. Company employees used the company’s central services to store, retrieve, and share project information. As a result, tasks and timelines were difficult to track. Employees wasted time looking for information, and non-employees were unable to access the server, even though they were critical to the approvals process.

With the right task management workflow software, Swisscom customized their application to streamline their project process. They could track the information they needed in one place, identify issues, drive accountability, and improve resolution times.

The Role of Automation in Task Approvals

Manual task approvals create an endless loop of wasted time and inconsistencies. Automation gives you the ability to define the rules and logic that drive your approval process. Based on the rules you define, your workflow task management software automates the flow of tasks, documents, and information across tasks. All that wasted time coordinating approvals? Software does the wrangling for you in a fraction of the time.

However, automation must always include a balance of human discretion. Automation can give businesses more efficiency and scalability. But the human touch is still vital for interactions. Businesses that fail to strike this balance? Teams may feel less engaged and unable to make adjustments to their workflows, even when changes are needed.

Choosing the Right Task Management Tools for Approvals

The traits mentioned above—automation, user-friendly interface, seamless integration, and customization—are important to consider when evaluating task management tools.

You’ll also want to add features like alerts and notifications, reporting and analytics, task visualization tools, and project documentation to your wishlist.

Here are a few popular task management tools to explore.


The Quickbase platform is built to help your team reduce repetitive tasks, orchestrate workflows, and boost productivity. Whether you need to assign a task or submit it for approval, Quickbase takes the manual work off your plate.

  • Notify users in real time when actions have been completed, and ensure time-sensitive tasks get done.

  • Use accurate and actionable automation to deliver role-based insights across your organization.

  • Keep your teams up to date and ensure data is synced across systems on in-progress work items.

  • Allow users to customize workflows and automate processes to maximize their time savings.


Jira Work Management gives teams a place to plan, collaborate, deliver, and report on work. The platform’s flexible views make it easy to understand priorities, manage tasks and action items, and track project progress.

  • Map dependencies and plan work effectively with project timeline views.

  • Get a real-time overview of how busy team members are across projects and rebalance work to keep projects on track.

  • Monitor the status of projects across teams with advanced roadmaps.


With Procore, you can track and manage action items throughout the lifespan of construction projects. Procore’s Project Management software connects teams and project information so teams can make better decisions faster.

  • Give everyone a clear understanding of what needs to get done to stay on schedule and prevent rework.

  • Make information accessible from one centralized location in a format everyone can understand.

  • Assign project tasks with due dates to project teams, add comments, and change the status of project tasks as priorities evolve.

Case Study: Success Stories Using Task Approvals

At Complex Media, task approvals helped the company reduce manual data entry by 50 percent so employees could spend more time serving clients. LCI Aviation automated its project handoffs between teams with a click of a button. With a more streamlined workflow, Sands Investment Group can now better monitor the statuses of their existing deals. As a result, they cut their turnaround times in half to crank out 30 deals per week.

What do these companies have in common? They adopted smart workflow task management software. They’re spending less time on manual tasks, streamlining communication between teams, and generating more business.


Task approvals can make or break a project. Companies handling the approval process manually take a gamble that miscommunications, missed deadlines, and simple human errors won’t derail their projects. It only takes one project mishap to erode client or stakeholder trust.

With the proper task approvals, you can track the entire approval process. You can also keep projects moving more efficiently and minimize risks. The task management tools mentioned above will give you a great foundation to start exploring your options if you haven’t already.

We’d love to hear your experiences with task management software. How has having a task management solution impacted your business? Share your success stories and your preferred task management software!

Further Reading/Resources

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