Automate Project Management Where Possible

Problem:

There are many repetitive tasks in project management that can waste your and your team’s time. Many are not automated when they really could be. Why don’t companies automate these.

Monthly reports which may include financial and schedule figures are one of the big areas which waste time in many companies.

Manually doing tasks tasks that are repetitive and are the same each time wastes money and time, and increases the chance that mistakes are made.

I have worked in some companies (or government departments) in which each project manager needed a week each month just to prepare monthly reports for their projects. Yet other companies I was in with the same number of projects and similar reporting requirements required only a half day total time to prepare similar projects.

The difference was in the automatic generation of reports.

Solution:

Automate (project automation)

Your company should have a database driven accounting and reporting system. It should allow basic reports to be output without having to get someone to manually make lots of spreadsheets or copying and pasting values from one system to another or into a document.

The only part that should need any thinking or manual input should be on the commentary or explanations sections, such as why the costs are over budget or why the project is ahead of or behind schedule. The text that needs an explanation (sentences and paragraphs) can be be manually done, but all the supporting data, graph, gantt chart outputs etc. should be automated.

If you are managing a project that needs monthly reporting (such as to your client or senior managers) make sure any of that reporting that can possibly be automated is automated.

You will save time, money, reduce stress (especially at end of month and end of financial year reporting), and improve accuracy.

A good system would at any time allow a senior manager or other person to make a few choices, click a button, and see a report summarising all the projects for the chosen area, without lots of data entry or data manipulation being required. Your project controls system should allow this.

More automation of tasks increases the number of projects that a project manager can manage. It also reduces the mundane and annoying work that many project managers hate doing.

A really good system will allow project managers to concentrate on improving areas where real thinking is involved, rather than spending much of their time on things they really shouldn’t need to do.

Lesson:

Automate as many project management tasks as possible, especially reporting related tasks. A good database driven system is essential for this, especially one of the many online or self hosted project management software tools.

Automation saves time, money, stress and reduces mistakes.

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