What Is Process Automation in Project Management Software?

By Kirsten McNeice
Talent and Employer Brand Manager
Dec 19 2022 read

A campaign, product launch or other project is a busy time for any firm. Assets have to be procured or created. People have to be informed and directed. It's a project manager's job to ensure that collaboration goes smoothly and client work is delivered on time.

One way to make this process less of a headache is to automate whenever possible. Let's explore best practices for process automation as it relates to project management. 

What Is Process Automation in Project Management Software?

Automation refers to the assigning of repetitive or mundane tasks to machines or software. Since machines can complete tasks with little to no assistance from people, delegating them frees up a project manager's time for other essential assignments. While you can probably imagine how automation works in a manufacturing and industrial context, it's sometimes harder to understand how to make it fit your particular client-based business.

Professional services businesses can use automation to boost efficiency and increase productivity. 

What Is Project Management Automation?

Automated project management is about replacing time-consuming administrative work. An example is eliminating email and keeping in touch with your team via automatically triggered notifications. It could also entail gathering a mountain of customer engagement data with reporting software to identify patterns in your latest social media campaign. Project management automation can be applied at any stage in a project to maximize efficiency, reduce the risk of burnout and take repetitive tasks off your plate. 

When To Automate Project Management

Pretty much everyone should be using automation at this point — it simply offers too many benefits not to. Automation can alert you to problems before they escalate, including:

  • Missed deadlines
  • Overtaxed project resources
  • Project delays
  • A change in project path

To determine whether project software automation makes sense for you, there are a few factors to consider. 

First, you need to know whether there’s already an issue with the task you want to automate. If something isn’t working correctly with your current team setup or doesn't facilitate the smooth delivery of services, automating it won’t help. Be sure your workflows are tightly in place before delegating them to a software platform. 

You’ll also need a coherent process for assigning different parts of each project to your staff. If the system automatically delegates a task to a person who isn’t qualified to complete it, it’ll cause all sorts of problems and delays.

How To Consider Project Management Automation

When deciding on the potential tasks to automate as a project manager, ask yourself questions like: 

  • What are our most time-consuming manual administrative tasks?
  • Which processes are already well-documented and mapped out?
  • Which project tasks are often repeated with little to no variation?
  • Can those processes take place without human supervision?
  • What would happen if one of those tasks were completed improperly? How much of an effect on the project would it have?

Mapping these areas will give you a better idea of which tasks to automate and which to leave to people. Some of the tasks project managers commonly automate are task reminders, job intake workflow and internal approvals.

Benefits of Project Automation in Each Project Phase

  1. Planning
  2. Execution
  3. Monitoring
  4. Closure

There are usually four phases within any project: planning, execution, monitoring and closure. Each area has certain tasks and processes that can be automated to save a project manager both time and effort. 

Do some digging and see what isn’t working. A good start would be to review current processes to see where bottlenecks could form and then work from there. 

1. Planning

During the planning phase — also called initiation — the scope of the project is defined and deliverables and key stakeholders are identified. Your team develops a thorough project plan and assigns everyone tasks. 

The processes involved in this phase include establishing a timeframe, mapping a budget, identifying necessary resources, training staff and defining risks. So, which of these processes can automation help? How?

Consider the process of training staff. Training each person one-on-one would eat up a lot of time. However, recording a series of short videos would help automate the process of training. Trainees could still ask questions as needed, but a lot of time would be freed up in the meantime.

Accelo's Projects product offers multiple views for project planning, including Gantt charts, lists and task boards

2. Execution‌

Once a project is in motion, the project manager’s job is to monitor its many moving parts. Tasks in this phase include organizing workflows, resource tracking, updating stakeholders, monitoring performance and tracking deliverables

Automated project management software allows project managers to share updates with stakeholders and staff in real time. They can share progress, projections and whether those projections shift according to automatically generated reports.

Automated calendar reminders and emails can also help keep people aware of deadlines or notify project managers as projects are completed. Some software even provides for the automatic production of certain documents or the utilization of email templates to make securing contracts or sending updates that much easier.

Accelo's Status Board clearly shows task assignments and status to keep your entire team aligned

 3. Monitoring‌

This phase runs in tandem with execution because the project manager tracks everything as it unfolds. Goal progress, communications, updates, data reporting and more can be monitored in a hands-off manner.

Tasks during this phase could be: tracking KPIs, monitoring tasks, reallocating resources and tracking progress on key deliverables. Changes are often needed in this phase as the project plan adapts to its real-world execution.

Automation can keep everyone informed of important changes. If a document is updated or a certain aspect of the project is approved, for example, the system can ensure that everyone is automatically notified. People who need to approve an item are notified that something is waiting for approval. Project managers can be automatically notified of suggestions that a team leaves on a document. The entire team adapts and responds more efficiently.

Accelo's Project view helps you team monitor task status, remaining budgets and earned value

4. Closure‌

In the end phase, the team reviews deliverables to make sure they meet quality standards, measures benchmarks against performance and identifies areas of potential improvement. Automation can assist project managers to communicate with everyone involved during the project review and identify what value they may bring to future campaigns.

Common tasks during closure include assessing team performance, evaluating how well resources were used, reallocating unused resources and reporting data. When automatic analytics features collect data throughout a project, project managers can use it to identify what works and what doesn’t during this phase. 

Automation can also facilitate the collection of feedback from team members. Where do they think they could improve? What improvements do they think should be made to the processes they use? 

Accelo's utilization dashboard offers an accurate picture of your team capacity at any time

Automate Your Next Project‌

Distributed workforces are becoming more commonplace, particularly among software and technology companies that do not need to keep all employees on-site. Accelo’s project management software can help you stay in touch with your team and operate efficiently no matter where you are. Give it a try for free or schedule a demo to learn more.

Try Accelo for 7 Days
Fast and easy setup No credit card required
Get Started Now
Schedule a Live Demo
Tailored to your business All questions answered
Request a Time
Accelo uses cookies to give you the best possible experience - by clicking 'Continue' you agree to our use of cookies. Refer to our Privacy Policy for details. Continue