Project managers shoulder lots of responsibility. Keeping the team productive, addressing problems, creating solutions, and fostering collaboration are all items that land on their plate.
So is process management.
If processes are ill-managed, the entire project pays the price. Communication can break down, accountability can decrease, errors can increase, and milestones can go unmet.
If this scenario gives you indigestion, you’re not alone. Images of projects descending into unorganized chaos are what keep many project managers up at night.
That’s why understanding the role process management plays in streamlining operations and bolstering organizational efficiency is crucial for success.
Understanding process management
Process management is a big-picture business strategy agencies use to plan, optimize, monitor, and control business processes. They do this by taking their business goals and syncing them with workflow processes.
Since business process management is one of the four functions of management, agency leaders need to have a handle on exactly what it means.
Process management takes a high-level view of the agency-wide way of doing things, rather than looking only at a single project or task. From this vantage point, leaders can improve the process flow by revising existing processes and implementing new ones as needed.
The significance of a process management system
Managing your business processes wisely is a big deal. Achieving organizational efficiency can mean the difference between an agency thriving and growing or struggling and eventually losing its competitive edge.
Organizational inefficiencies can suck up resources and dramatically increase the costs of doing business. Plus, they can frustrate stakeholders and cause customer satisfaction to take a dive.
By monitoring and making continuous improvements (which builds a competitive edge) in processes across the organization, agencies can mitigate the negative effect inefficient processes have on the bottom line.
The benefits of business process management (BPM)
Committing to managing business processes proactively and thoroughly provides agencies with wide-reaching benefits. An end-to-end process improvement initiative can improve your team’s satisfaction, make projects easier to deliver, save on costs, and help exceed client expectations.
Here are four specific ways BPM benefits agencies:
1. Creates smooth and simple workflows
Clunky, disjointed, manual-heavy processes can cause important tasks to get lost in the shuffle, create problematic bottlenecks, and reduce team member accountability. Process automation is a crucial tool in smoothing out processes and running a more efficient agency.
By using tools to automate manual, repetitive tasks, agencies can decrease the steps it takes to finish tasks. This frees team members up to focus their time on higher-priority tasks.
Finding ways you can integrate business automation should be a big part of your process management initiative.
2. Enhances productivity throughout the organization
Most agencies, no matter how successful, have a limited resource pool and a finite budget. Making the most out of your business resources creates a healthier company.
Insightful workflow management keeps team members on track with their responsibilities and reduces the trivial, repetitive tasks that used to waste their time.
By implementing efficient business operations, employees can get more done faster and dedicate more time to high-value tasks that help achieve the agency’s goals. This type of work environment increases engagement and motivation and makes work more enjoyable and productive.
3. Reduces human-error
Unfortunately, humans make errors and some of them can be costly. Too many errors can run a project over budget and make you miss deadlines. A key perk of a process optimization effort is the ability to decrease mistakes by:
Eliminating unnecessary steps. Revamping existing processes and adding new processes where you need them should decrease the steps it takes to complete the process. Fewer steps means fewer chances to make a costly mistake.
Automating repetitive actions. Using BPM software to increase automation within your processes minimizes the chances of human data-entry errors like transposed numbers or incorrect calculations.
Increasing organizational transparency. Using business process management software to increase efficiency takes team members out of their silos and provides a single source of truth. This makes it less likely for tasks to fall through the cracks or for team members to be clear on their assignments.
4. Offers a cost-effective solution
Inefficiencies can eat up profit and impact an agency’s growth opportunities. Addressing them can help agencies contain their costs. Examples of this include:
Increased labor costs. Complex processes take more time to complete, which means you have to pay more wages to get things done.
Double the work (to fix errors). Errors caused by manual-heavy processes can take hours and multiple team members to unravel and solve. With seamless process management that includes automation, fewer hours mean lower costs.
Lower-quality deliverables. Out-of-date, difficult-to-navigate processes can result in work that is barely up to par. Customers may get frustrated and decide to work with your competitors, which takes money directly from your bottom line.
Breaking down the phases of the BPM lifecycle
Business project management best practices, like every other process, should be laid out efficiently. Since it’s a broad, end-to-end objective, breaking it up into phases like the ones below can get you the best return on your efforts.
Review your agency’s current process model and determine what’s working well. Identify the inefficiencies in your processes that must be addressed. Create a strategy for reengineering your processes to reduce the steps and team members involved, and adopt automation where applicable.
Use multiple scenarios to “road test” the business outcomes of your refined processes. Modeling helps you locate issues before they happen in real time.
Practice time is over! Once you decide what changes to make, like adding business process automation and eliminating unnecessary steps, for example, execute your plans.
“Measurement is the first step that leads to control and eventually to improvement. If you can’t measure something, you can’t understand it. If you can’t understand it, you can’t control it. If you can’t control it, you can’t improve it.”
~ Dr. H. James Harrington, performance improvement pioneer
While you may have thoughtfully considered your business process methodology and carefully integrated BPM tools, there’s no guarantee of a perfect outcome. Instead of setting it and forgetting it, watch how the process unfolds and performs. Compare it to the previous process and tweak it as needed.
After deploying upgraded business processes and making front-end changes, continue to keep an eye on them. By committing to continuous improvement and staying aligned with your strategic goals, your agency can build from where you are now and make improving efficiency an ongoing goal.
BPM use cases
BPM can be used across multiple departments throughout the company. To better understand how to use it strategically, we’ve gathered a few use cases to paint a picture.
Process management for human resources
Attracting, recruiting, and onboarding new hires is HR’s responsibility. It can be a long, cumbersome process full of inefficient actions.
Integrating automation drastically decreases the complexity of the hiring process. For example, job candidates can fill out applications on an applicant tracking system, top candidates can be pinpointed with keywords, new employee documents can be signed through online apps, and onboarding can start before the first day.
Reducing paper and in-person requirements simplifies the process to help it move faster and become a more positive experience for the company and job seeker.
Process management for finance teams
The finance department can easily become overloaded and overwhelmed with the plethora of documents they handle. Internal information like employee emails, HR updates, and billing information combined with external data coming in from vendors and other sources can create headaches and inefficient practices that cost the company money.
By implementing more efficient business processes, finance teams can function more agilely. For example, they can:
Stay on top of payroll, bonuses, commissions, and PTO.
Streamline purchasing and remitting payments (which may save money in early-pay discounts).
Conduct billing more accurately so nothing falls through the cracks.
Decrease the time it takes to distribute to employee retirement, profit sharing, and pension plans (depending on the company).
Process management for sales teams
There can be lots of inefficiency surrounding an agency’s sales team. If there’s a lack of buy-in with new protocols, sales may opt to stick to the “old way” of doing things.
Since most sales teams use a combination of human and automated techniques, improving the processes of both is what it takes to forge efficient processes. Process management tools are key for automating repetitive tasks and simplifying note taking, scheduling, and onboarding of new clients.
Also, laying out a standardized set of activities can help every salesperson follow the same processes, instead of being mired in the chaos of everyone “doing their own thing.”
Level up your agency’s process management with Teamwork.com
Forward-thinking process management is a necessity when it comes to keeping your agency organized and stamping out inefficiency. Understanding how to recognize process inefficiency, address it successfully, and monitor the changes ensures success and fosters continuous improvement.
If you’re looking for a way to employ automation to increase your business process efficiency, check out Teamwork.com. Our user-friendly platform gives you a way to conduct process mapping, allocate resources, access pre-built templates, foster open communication, and reduce repetitive manual tasks with automation.
Built especially for agencies, Teamwork.com understands your process challenges and offers a powerful solution to help increase efficiency.