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Can project management be automated (or are the risks too high)?

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On the surface, this seems like a very easy question to answer. Project management cannot be automated. There are far too many moving parts to risk handing tasks off to tech.

In the graphics and installations industry, most professionals feel safest when they have their own hands over the controls and a keen eye watching every team member and every task; but old habits can hinder a company from achieving bigger, better things.

Here’s a look at whether automation can be beneficial to project management and which (if any) aspects can be automated.

Does automation have a place in project management?

By handing off basic project management tasks to automation, you can enjoy two outcomes: fewer errors and better communication, both of which boost capacity and speed.

As much as many of us like to brag about being able to multitask, science dictates that our brains can only handle two tasks at any given moment. The rate of error increases by 50%when you attempt to multitask and the length of time it takes to complete the job is doubled. When your reputation is built on accuracy and quality control, mistakes are a no-no.

By bringing automation into project management, you can take away some of the basic manual tasks, leaving more time to focus on the bigger tasks and ensuring that errors are reduced significantly.

Experts at MIT believe that once automation begins to integrate with work processes, employees will need to hone their communication and collaboration skills to keep bringing value into the business. David H Autor, professor of economics, stated that the skills which can’t be replaced by automation are enhanced by it.

The human aspect of the project management role, such as stakeholder management, professional relationship maintenance, third party negotiations, and creative problem solving are all enhanced when the brain isn’t bogged down by manual tasks. This can only be good for business.

4 ways project management can be automated

Although project management will always need a human touch, there are certain time-consuming elements which can be taken care of for us. Manual tasks and aggregatory tasks are all great candidates for automation.

Here are a few examples of ways automation can help your project management processes right now:

1)    Updating the status of a job

One of the main project management headaches is knowing the status of the tasks you’ve assigned, especially if there are several projects on the go at once. It’s not uncommon for installers and team members to forget to check in and let the project manager know how far along they are or when tasks have been completed. This renders project tracking documents out of date most of the time.

Automation can be used to automatically update the status of a project in real-time, so it’s easier for project managers to stay on top of things. Management software like Vantage is available as a duo of web-based dashboard and smartphone app, so installers can check off jobs on-site and subsequently update the project as a whole.

2)    Project briefing

You may write a project brief once, but you need to send it out again and again for each team member you invite onboard for the job. It’s easy to make a mistake and is a pretty time-consuming task considering how simple it is.

Automated project management software allows you to create a project brief which is stored in a central location. The brief can be accessed by installers and team members automatically once they’ve been assigned the work. There won’t be any excuses about lost documents or emails and no need to manually send out the same brief repeatedly. The project management software takes care of it for you.

3)    Job/task creation

Imagine you’re trying to organise the rollout of a new installation in 300 locations across the UK. You could easily spend an entire day creating a spreadsheet for the project and all the stores, jobs, and installers it will need, not to mention the time you’d spend resourcing for it. It’s a mammoth task to orchestrate.

When you bring automation into play, you can do the same task in a matter of minutes. Literally. Web-based dashboards like Vantage facilitate CSV file uploads, so you can take a list of every store and create every job needed within that project in the time it takes to upload a file.

4)    Filing and admin

Admin is easily one of the most time-consuming elements of any job, and one which feels easy to put off (with disastrous consequences). Getting everyone to adhere to the same filing system is a headache, as is collecting documentation from everyone.

It may seem unlikely, but automation can lend a hand with admin. Once a task has been signed off and images/signatures uploaded, systems like Vantage will automatically file all necessary documents for that project, so there’s a clean, orderly paper trail, without the need for manual maintenance.

Do you have questions about automation in the project management process? Book a free Vantage demo and we’ll show you exactly how it can work for you.

Want to see it for yourself?

Book a call with one of our expert team to see using installation project management from Vantage can help you streamline your wide-format print & signage installations.

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