The terms ‘project management’ and ‘work management’ have been used interchangeably in recent years, and both have also gained popularity when everyone is obsessed with productivity.
However, project management and work management aren’t exactly the same thing. Most of us are more familiar with project management, which is essentially how we can manage a project so we can achieve the objective of the project while meeting its budget and deadline.
So, what makes work management different from project management? How can we use work management to improve productivity and efficiency? Here, we will discuss all you need to know about work management and the challenges in implementing Work Management.
What Is Work Management?
Work Management, according to Gartner is a set of solutions (software products and services) that help apply workflow structure to:
- The transmission of information
- The interaction between business processes and human worker processes that generate the information
So, work management focuses on the movement of information, effectively streamlining business processes which in turn will improve the team’s performance and productivity to improve results.
Gartner, however, put more emphasis on software solutions and services, but work management is also about the concept behind these software solutions: managing workflows and tasks.
Project management also deals with the same things but must stay within the scope of a project. Work management, on the other hand, can be implemented in just a single task (that is a part of a bigger project) or the whole organizational operations consisting of multiple projects running simultaneously.
So, we can say, that project management is actually a part of work management. A project, as we know, is limited in its deadline and by itself is an ad-hoc work pursuing specific objectives. Work management, on the other hand, is a continuous process, more like a cycle, and the success is not based on achieving objectives but to bring about growth.
Work management can include:
- Resource management: Managing resources available to achieve the organization’s objectives
- Collaboration: Managing communications and collaborations between team members
- Project management: Managing the success of projects to achieve the organization’s objectives
- Time management: Ensuring projects can meat the deadline and every team member can accomplish their designated task on time
- Budgeting: Planning budgets and ensuring projects can stay within budget
- CRM: Managing relationships with customers as we are executing tasks and projects
Challenges In Implementing Work Management
As we know, managing a team is difficult, and there will always be challenges in implementing work management to improve your team’s productivity and performance. Before we can successfully implement work management, we have to first understand these challenges and how to tackle them.
1. Defining priorities between the tasks
In any project and especially in continuous work, we are always dealing with finite resources and time. So, we can’t always deal with all tasks and projects with the same attention: there are important tasks, there are urgent tasks, and there are tasks that are not so impactful so we can deal with them later. The thing is, defining which are which can be quite challenging
2. Defining a deadline
Similarly, giving a task a deadline can be challenging if you don’t have the right knowledge and experience to set the right finish date.
3. Defining roles and responsibilities
Assigning the right people to the right task is arguably the most important thing in ensuring the success of a project. However, this requires us to intimately understand the strengths and weaknesses of each team member and a thorough understanding of the task/project.
4. Having clear internal and external communications
We can’t have an effective team if we don’t have effective internal communication. Meetings are the usual approach in building communications and relationships between team members, but today’s demanding work life makes it challenging to arrange meetings around the needs of many team members.
External communications with clients and stakeholders are also important. Team leaders and managers must not forget to update the clients and stakeholders about the state of the project and the current priorities. Similarly, virtual meetings and asynchronous file sharing can be the solution.