Project managers thrive on their ability to know what's happening, why it's happening, and who's accountable for getting the job done. This is especially true in property management where the success of any activity relies on clear directions and a real-time view into a team's projects and activities.
Enter: workflows, data-driven game plans that define the steps and results required to achieve a business outcome. Beyond mapping out the “flow” of activities within a project, workflows illustrate how those tasks intermingle, the information that passes between them, and the timelines each team must follow to ensure everyone reaches the finish line together.
In short, workflows help property management teams continuously improve their activities, both for the benefit of their residents and asset stakeholders. There are several advantages to using a workflow created and managed via property management platforms, including:
1. Automated processes: Plans are smoother when everyone is on the same page. Property management software allows users to embed “smart templates” within their workflows that outline the required steps, notifies teams when it's their “turn” to act, and keeps everyone working from the same playbook. By standardizing key processes and activities, “smart templates” keep projects on track and help avoid costly miscommunications, duplicated work, and delays.
2. Real-time visibility: Software-enabled workflows track each team's progress and keep managers up to date on the project or business process timelines as they evolve. This is an advantage over static, paper-based workflows, which can quickly become outdated and, ultimately, ignored.
3. Managing by exception: Even the best-laid plans are vulnerable to surprises. Workflows can be set up to "alert" project leaders and other management stakeholders only when certain changes or issues require their attention. This negates the need for micromanaging and allows managers to focus on more strategic work.
4. Time-saver: Simply put, digital workflows make teams quicker and more efficient. When tasks and timelines are clear and exceptions are being addressed at the source, the result is stronger collaboration and greater team confidence. As well, workflows enable maintenance teams to be more responsive when it comes to unit repairs and turnovers, leading to satisfied residents and asset owners alike.
5. Stronger benchmarks: Workflows = data. Whether it's the amount of time it takes to perform certain tasks, the costs incurred through specific phases, or the quality of the outcome, that data can then be used to set standards and continuously improve one's business via metrics. When you begin a project or process, you’ll go into knowing just how long a task or workflow should take and how much it should cost. You can use this information to track trends and other KPIs to keep on continuously improving your business processes and your budgets.
Whether it's adding clarity to a single process or mapping out a complete unit renovation, workflows provide project management with a "big picture" view into the tasks required to meet any given outcome.
That said, it's true that adopting these technologies requires a certain upfront investment of time and training, but it’s important to remember that each and every time a process runs, you recoup that upfront effort and more. This is why it’s especially important to choose your tech wisely; investing in holistic, automated, and user-friendly project management systems handles the planning on the backend and facilitates teams getting the job done.