The Importance of Understanding Project Management Workflow

What is Project Management Workflow?

It’s very important to know from the get-go that a workflow doesn’t not mean project management directly. 

Instead, within the complex framework that project management creates, the workflow are all the steps towards completing various tasks. It also defines how team members move between all allocated tasks.

In almost all cases, projects are a one-time thing. Of course, the team that finished one project together can continue working on others as well, but those are different instances. 

Once the S.M.A.R.T (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, timely)  and C.L.E.A.R (collaborative, limited, emotional, appreciable, refinable) goals of a project have been reached, it can be deemed completed. 

Take for example the construction of a public park. It will have specific goals, outcomes, outputs and benefits. Project management refers to handling all the aspects and resources that will come into play for building it. From the idea’s inception, to the last actual bench placed in the park. 

The workflow refers to the order of all tasks and activities that happen between key points (or milestones) of the project. The sequence must be effective and efficient. 

Workflows happen in all industries and all niches. Loading a truck, sending an email, even writing a piece of content about project management workflow that you’ll publish later.

The Major Benefit

Without the sequencing of activities into a workflow, reaching goals would be very difficult. You’d know what you have to do, but not how you’re supposed to do it.

All projects have particular workflow patterns, which will structure how tasks should be done. Workflows separate the work into different stages, and the successful completion of each one means the immediate beginning of the next one.

Workflows also help from an organizational standpoint by building a system which allows the recording, tracking and documentation of activities. A well-done workflow won’t just give a goal and point a team towards it. Instead, it’s a step-by-step roadmap that takes the team members through achievable and realistic sets of tasks.

Project Management Workflow Advantages

So you understand the basic idea, but there’s even more good news. With a correctly implemented workflow, you’ll benefit from the following:

  • Team interconnectivity — You could be doing a project that requires personnel to be physically on site. Or, your team could be fully remote across the globe. Whatever the case, a planned out workflow will keep everyone in the loop by clarifying who does what, and who should be asked about what. Your team will actually work as a team, instead of individuals.
  • Increased collaboration — A great workflow system allows team members to talk punctually about issues and points of interest. No wasted time.
  • Better efficiency — Workflows eliminate red tape and redundant processes, focusing on speed-to-market or overall project completion.
  • Easy reporting — Increased transparency about task requirements and time estimates, better accuracy for forecasting and documenting results.

Project Management vs. Project Management Workflow

While the two are inherently linked to one another, they shouldn’t be confused as being the same thing. The core concept of a workflow is that it creates a “waterfall” of tasks. It’s a flowing river where you can pinpoint the beginning and the end.

It is easy to determine when transitions from one stage to another were done, even when you have operational constraints or limitations.


The main difference between project management and a project management workflow is that project management itself can only exist during a project. Outside of temporary activities with a finite goal, organizations are handled by departmental managers. 

Once a project is complete, the role of a project manager (PM) becomes redundant, and they must move on to other projects. 

However, a project management workflow can exist both inside and outside of a project. Why? It’s simple. Regardless if an organization is involved in a project, or just going through the daily motions, specific sets of tasks are involved. 

There can be continuous workflows (like the ones you can create for internal processes with Alvanda), or stand-alone ones (scheduling a meeting with a larger number of company members).


All of that being said, workflows and project management still have the same scope. The goal is to finalize a set of tasks so that the work can be considered “done”. Without using workflows, a project manager couldn’t assure the smooth operation and task transition of their team.

Any successful project requires the creation of harmony between the grander view of project management as a practice, and the “boots on the ground” approach of project management workflows. It is pointless to know where you need to arrive, if you don’t know how you’ll do it.

Key Takeaways

Project management is all about careful planning, oversight and establishing direction. It’s a bird’s eye view about everything that’s going on.

Workflows come in-between all of those stages. They’re the piece of the process that establishes the order and importance of tasks. They’re the tool that helps the PM not get stuck on specific parts.

Using a Project Management Workflow System

You can’t create just any workflow if you want it to be effective. Moreover, doing it from scratch can be very tedious and time-consuming, especially if you have a lot of processes and projects. Instead, we recommend using our workflow optimization system

We’ve been doing business for over 12 years, and know all about the complexities of creating, implementing and managing efficient processes. Within Alvanda, you’ll find all the templates and procedures necessary for optimally built workflows, and so much more.

Of course, no matter the software that you use, you need the industry know-how to gain value from it. To utilize a workflow system correctly, you should match it with the correct methodology. We recommend segmenting your workflow creation in 4 steps.

Step 1: Planning

No matter what project you’re doing, or what type of project management workflow you want to use, you need a plan. This also applies to whichever of the 3 most popular project management methodologies that you choose (Agile, Waterfall or PRiSM). 

The first and most important step for a project to even have a chance of success is a well-thought plan.

Don’t get stuck on the details when you’re still figuring it all out. Think big and in wider strokes, then take the proverbial “sandpaper” and get into the specifics. Once you have bite-sized pieces of the plan, present them to all relevant team members. 

This way, they’ll have a good understanding of what they must do and by when. However, flexibility is key! It isn’t uncommon for even the best laid plans to change when colliding with reality. Be ready for such cases.

Step 2: Communication

Once you know what must be done, it’s time to gather information and feedback. Talk with the stakeholders and with your team. Decide what’s a priority, what can wait, and what requirements can’t be fulfilled in the current conditions. 

This is a vital step for an efficient workflow. If you plan it out without making sure that each step is actually achievable, you’ll hit a wall sooner later than later. You don’t have to gather feedback from everyone either, just make sure that people are kept in the loop. 

The better the teamwork, the more brain power will be behind creating and using a good workflow.

Step 3: Foresight

No one’s saying you have to predict the future, but chances are some things won’t happen as planned. Even when you think that everything is accounted for, you can be surprised. Examine what could go wrong with the project, and prepare contingencies.

One of the best things you can do is evaluate the weakest part of your plan; the one open to vulnerabilities. What are you going to do if things do go sideways? Having an option B from the start will smooth out problematic scenarios with your project management workflow.

Step 4: Reporting

Verbal communication is good for getting your point across fast and gathering feedback efficiently. But, at the same time, it’s a nightmare for accountability. Who said what quickly becomes a tangled maze, with people remembering different pieces of information and deadlines.

Keep written records of everything! Important events, milestones, logged time, conversations, updates, etc. If you have bulletproof documentation, you’ll always know why the workflow was done in one way instead of another. 

Project Management Workflow Methodologies

A project management workflow is only as good as how you’ll use it. Gaining the maximum benefit is also dependent on the methodology that you apply to it. There’s a whole variety of methodologies that you can make use of, but 3 in particular stand out.

These are the most common that are used at a large scale, but feel free to research more specific ones if you think they’d suit your needs better.

Agile Project Management Workflow

Like the name suggests, Agile focuses on flexibility and self-sufficiency, but collaboration between the self-organized parties is also very important. If you’re working on a project that’s centered around adaptability, Agile is for you. 

Changing situations, constant feedback, internal and external communication; all of these usually ask for an Agile approach.

However, its more chaotic nature means it’s more suited to smaller projects. If you take the methodology and apply it to large projects with very many parts and dependencies, you’ll get lost in the details. 

Waterfall Project Managemnt Workflow

This is a top-to-bottom workflow, like water flowing down a cliffside. It implies work that’s being done sequentially, each step depending on the finalization of the one before it. After the requirements are set in stone, the team would get down to business in a traditional fashion.

For example, in IT, it would work like this (with very little to no alterations involved unless absolutely crucial).

Requirements → Initial concept → Planning → Design → Development → QA ( → Development) → Launch → Maintenance

The waterfall methodology is great for predictability, so large scale projects where the initial plan should be set in stone are a natural pick.

PRiSM Project Management Workflow

The“Projects integrating Sustainable Methods” methodology takes into account environmental factors, while also focusing on repeatable and more broadly applicable systems and processes. 

These traits have made it popular with construction and infrastructure projects, as they must consider the actual natural environment around which the work is done. PRiSM is also among the few methodologies that require accreditation to be used.

This is because projects using PRiSM are impactful and big in scale, with the team needing to take into account various outside factors.

Choosing the Right Workflow Software

You don’t have to create your project management workflow from scratch. Alvanda is the ultimate real time process optimization platform, for any business!

Building procedures, managing projects, coordinating your team and organizing their tasks is intuitive, easy, and everything’s cloud-based too. Planning your approach, distributing information, tracking progress, we’ve already thought of everything.

What’s more, you can easily use Alvanda for regular daily work too, not just for specific projects. By using our templates and other features which you’re provided, your workflows will build themselves while you focus on your business’s infrastructure and scalability. 

If you want to see a new world of workflow management and collaboration, try out Alvanda today!