This article will cover how to automate your Project Management in just five steps.
Can it be that simple? Absolutely! You’d be surprised how easy it becomes to automate any process in your business when you follow the DRIVE framework.
Based on Lean 6-sigma principles and proven methodologies, I developed the DRIVE framework to help service-based entrepreneurs systemise their businesses to scale.
When it comes to automating your Project Management, it is crucial to bear in mind effective delivery of services.
You need to be aware of effective delivery of services because, for this business area, the goal is to maximise effective delivery of services to create the most significant benefit for your team and clients.
Now I will break down the five steps of the DRIVE framework, which you can follow to streamline and automate your Project Management.
Please keep reading to the end, as I will also make some recommendations for automation tools.
Step 1: Define the goal of your Project Management system
The essential part of building out any workflow or system in your business is to know the goal of your process.
It sounds pretty simple but don’t underestimate it. Having a well-defined goal of your Project Management with clear deliverables focussed around the effective delivery of services will make everything else so much easier.
Think about the best possible outcome if everything in the system works perfectly. What does that mean?
Which is the most important of the different goals you might have for your Project Management process?
Use this goal to determine which steps in your Project Management are critical and cut out anything that’s not adding value. Again, we’ll talk more about this in step 4.
Once you have defined a goal, you can move on to step two.
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Step 2: Identify the key metrics that drive success
The next step to automating your Project Management is to define the key success metrics.
It is imperative to know your goal and understand what is vital for effective delivery of services when defining what metrics to track.
Think about some different metrics you could track that show efficiency, profitability (as much as relevant) and engagement with your Project Management.
Which numbers can you track to get feedback on whether you are delivering effective delivery of services well?
The NPS or net promoter score is a significant number that can be overlooked when people think about automation. This number looks at feedback scores from those using your system to see whether they like or dislike it.
You can use numbers like the NPS to see how your Project Management process works for both your team and clients.
If you see the numbers go up with more automation, you know you’re on the right track.
Other significant numbers to look at when automating processes are time saved, total automations triggered and overall efficiency, i.e. how many hours/resources you need for the same output.
Step 3: Identify the main steps in your Project Management
To ensure that you have a streamlined system, you need to map out the key steps to deliver your goal.
I often see people get stuck with the nitty-gritty details and specifics of how they want a process done.
However, to truly take advantage of automation and scale your Project Management, you need to be able to let go of some of the specifics. Start by reviewing how you have done things in the past and optimise for what’s adding value.
The thing is, no end-to-end system in a service business can be fully automated. You can effectively automate parts of the workflow, but there will always be human interaction at some point.
Bear in mind what will drive the best effective delivery of services, and map out the key steps you need to complete your Project Management.
For each step, you identify:
- add in any information about what tool you use
- Templates you use to complete the task
- Checklists for each sub-task you need to complete to hit the goal
Review this workflow with anyone else on your team involved with completing Project Management to ensure you haven’t missed anything important.
Step 4: Validate your workflow & identify areas for automation.
Now that you have your core workflow outlined, it’s time to think about how you can automate your Project Management. For this, you want to look for simple, repeatable steps and tasks.
Great automation candidates include:
- Scheduling appointments or calls
- Notifications to team members
- Sending emails or forms
- Status changes based on triggers
- Escalations or reminders when tasks are not complete in a particular time frame
- Assign owners to tasks
- Creating checklists based on what status the task is in
Go through and identify all the things you can automate in your Project Management process
Once you’ve identified all the tasks you can automate, you can further streamline by creating templates.
Use templates for:
- Client facing materials like reports and presentations
- Tasks you assign to team members
Go through your Project Management process and create templates wherever possible
What tools to use to automate Project Management
There are lots of different automation software you could use. However 1 of my favourites is Monday.com. Monday is a very simple and easy to use project management with some automation features to help streamline the passing of information to simplify the process.
Ok, so now you have set up a workflow and automated as much as possible. Now your process is ready to go!
But wait, there is one more crucial step to help you maximise your efficiency.
Step 5: Evaluate and Optimise for effective delivery of services
The final step in the DRIVE framework is Evaluate.
When implementing systems and automating your business, the most important thing is to review what’s working well and what needs updating.
First things first, every quarter, go back over your Project Management and go back to your goal.
Did you hit the goal? How did you perform vs your success metrics?
If you didn’t hit the goal, it’s a sure sign something isn’t working.
However, even if you nailed all your success metrics, there’s always room for improvement.
Next, look at three areas:
- What works well?
- What should we stop doing?
- What can we add to make this better?
Don’t spend too much time reviewing. You should be able to complete this within 30 minutes.
Once you have everything listed out, go back through your Project Management workflow and make the changes.
And that’s it!
Now you have a 5 step process you can follow again and again to automate your workflows and optimise Project Management.
- Define your goal
- (Reward) Set your success metrics
- Identify the key steps
- Verify the steps and automate
- Evaluate the process every 3-6 months
I hope you’ve found this helpful.
For more tailored support, check out The Lean Academy for service business owners looking to increase efficiency and systemise their processes with automation.