To evaluate a company’s operational and financial health, leaders look at metrics like cash conversion cycles, which show how long it takes to turn resources into cash flow. When it comes to internal project management, we should be taking a similar approach to understanding how we turn our actions into value.
We need to interrogate how seamless our processes are throughout our projects by asking: Do we conduct monthly reviews of our progress? Which tasks take us the longest to finish and why? What frictions are stopping us from adding value more quickly? Which administrative tasks take the most time, and how can we streamline them?
But one of the roots of solving these issues is often the same: a lack of clarity and supportive technology. These can enable us to craft processes that ease common frustrations, provide greater transparency, and drive us towards key business goals.
However, implementing these changes requires a strong understanding of which approaches and solutions are suitable for your business. This can be especially difficult if, as a leader, you have multiple teams to manage and different strategies to keep in mind.
With worldwide IT spending forecasted to grow by 5.1% this year, knowing how to leverage digital opportunities without overwhelming your teams with unnecessary tech is crucial. After all, you don’t want to end up with a tech stack that hinders team clarity instead of driving it.
Automation and AI adoption are two topics that are top of mind for many businesses today. How can businesses better use these technologies to support their strategic thinking, and how can they add them to their digital armoury to achieve greater transparency and productivity?
Introduce automation for asynchronous visibility
With so many of us working in a virtual environment for at least some of the week, ensuring that technology keeps us grounded with our colleagues and away from disjointed communication is a must.
In this digital world, we often find ourselves spread over multiple platforms and communication channels at once, which can make it challenging to keep the visibility of the overall project progress.
This decentralised system of communication can lead to lost time asking questions like “Where did this go?” or “Did anyone pick this up?” in the search for clarity. Without a strategy that can provide easy access to important information across time zones, simple tasks like finding template files could take 2-3 days. And, if someone sends the wrong one, or has a holiday in between, it could delay the whole team’s progress.
Eliminating these communication frictions is essential to drive faster task completion and generate value for the business. This is where solutions like automation can be invaluable for tracking progress digitally.
Some people are worried that automation will “automate out” the interactions between teams that keep digital company culture alive. But that’s not the case. Automation should be about boosting teams’ ability to do and appreciate more things they enjoy and value most about their job. It should help shorten the time spent on admin tasks and automatically send your colleagues notifications where and when their input is needed.
In asynchronous communication, automation can improve clarity by providing real-time visuals of who is working on what and the project progress – helping you avoid mix-ups that occur with missing messages, mismatched time zones, or disjointed expectations.
Focus on the quality of input for truly intelligent AI
It may seem obvious that in order to create value, you must first define it. But this is often overlooked when it comes to aligning the entire team on the goals they should aim for.
Jumping straight into a new project without evaluating your success metrics, timelines, and expected outcomes can have a disastrous effect on your progress in the long term. The beginning stages are all about laying the groundwork that can help you more easily adapt to changes. So, it’s important to define value and build the team structure together based on your definition of value.
Once you have come up with this vision, you can make strategic choices about where you digitally store all this information and in what format. For example, apps and solutions that incorporate AI can help automate detailed plans for the project based on customer input and goals. This means that you spend less time manually drawing out plans.
Often, a lack of clarity arises when team members keep asking questions that you feel they should know the answer to. This suggests a lack of a central information hub for your project. To fix this, you can use AI to help summarise interactions and complex topics so that members of the team stay informed and in sync for each next step. This empowers everyone to take on their areas of responsibility confidently.
Convoluted and non-transparent processes are costing businesses much-needed money and time at the moment. So, understanding how to implement greater clarity and efficiency is key to empowering your employees and unburdening your business – and using automation and AI to support this Is a key step in taking that project strategy to the next level.