What Is Work Management? Creating a Work Management System

PM Articles by ProjectManager.com. 

Project managers spend a lot of time planning how work will be executed. Doing a feasibility study, planning for its success, scheduling tasks, organizing resources and building a budget are all important.

Then comes the execution phase, and then, much of a project manager’s attention is focused on work-related project management areas such as task, resource, and time management. Project managers need to build a work management system to keep an eye on all these aspects at the same time.

Getting the most out of your team, making sure they have the necessary work management tools to match their capacity at a specific point in the project is key to maximizing productivity. To create that optimum workflow structure requires a work management system.

What Is Work Management?

Work management can be defined as the use of management tools and techniques to manage time, resources, teams and tasks. The main goal of work management is to improve productivity in business processes or projects.

Work management is key to controlling the project scope and avoiding resource, time or task management issues. Either way, the purpose of using work management tools and techniques is to streamline these processes to better schedule project tasks, meet the expectations of stakeholders, manage resources and evaluate performance to further improve productivity.

A screenshot of ProjectManager's kanban board, showing a task moving from column to columnA screenshot of ProjectManager's kanban board, showing a task moving from column to column
Manage work online with your team with the best work management software on the market.—Try it free!

Work Management vs. Project Management

Work management and project management are not exactly the same thing but teams can benefit from both. Both are methods to manage teams, time and work and both can be used in business. However, the main difference between them is that work management focuses on managing the project scope while project management is a much broader discipline. They can both use collaborative tools to assist team members, and apply work management software, work management tools and project management software.

A project manager is concerned with both and uses business intelligence to better deal with real-time project tasks and project work. A work management system is part of project management tools, which includes file storage and acts as a central hub for project teams and their work. Therefore, work management and project management work hand-in-glove to provide the tools project managers require to better manage their projects.

The Work Management Process

The work management process starts with identifying the project scope, planning, scheduling, and then executing the work. But it doesn’t end there: follow-up is important. Use project status reports and work management tools to figure out what’s helping and what isn’t.
Work management is about taking many of the different parts of managing a project as they relate to the team and integrating them into a work management system that boosts productivity. Therefore, work management touches many aspects of project management.

  • Identify: To manage work, you first have to define how, when and in what way that work is done. Be thorough and accurate. When managing projects, you can use a work breakdown structure to visualize every task in your project scope.
  • Plan: Now comes the time to plan what work must be done. As said before, a work breakdown structure will help you make a time estimation of how long that work will take and the resources involved.
  • Schedule: You have the work planned out and a timeline, now you have to create a work schedule, whether daily or weekly, to define workflow and responsibilities.
  • Document: Always make a paper trail of the work management process to capture anything learned and the communications involved throughout.
  • Analyze: Finally, use the experience and documentation to refine your processes. Work management is a continuously improving system.

What Is a Work Management System?

A work management system is a set of management tools and techniques that are employed to manage teams, tasks, resources and time. Most work management systems today rely on work management software because it gives organizations collaborative tools and project management features to control and optimize the productivity of their teams. These are some of the key features that you’ll need from work management software.

  • Project views such as Gantt charts and project calendars to visualize project timelines and schedules
  • Real-time team collaboration tools such as message boards and unlimited file storage
  • Task management, time management and resource management features
  • Timesheets and workload management tools
  • Integrations with other project or business management software

The elements of a work management system read like the features of a powerful project management tool. They incorporate resource management, team collaboration, time and task management, budgeting, reporting and more. In a sense, work management is the hub around which all these spokes turn. If you set it up correctly, you’ll get more out of your project teams.

How Work Management Software Helps You Manage Work

ProjectManager is an award-winning project management tool that organizes work to streamline processes and boost productivity. It is packed with the key work management features you need to elevate your project and team to higher levels of efficiency, such as:

  • Work Management
  • Resource Management
  • Time Management
  • Collaboration tools

Plan your projects collaboratively with our online Gantt chart. Everyone can be part of the work management process and once you collect all the tasks needed to reach your final deliverable, just add the duration and they populate a project timeline.

A screenshot of a Gantt chart in ProjectManager, great for work managementA screenshot of a Gantt chart in ProjectManager, great for work management

Further, control workflow by breaking the larger project plan into smaller phases. Our work management tools allow you to customize colors and views to differentiate the project phases and then add milestones that indicate when one phase ends and another begins.

Any tasks that are dependent on another task to start or finish can be linked, so there are no bottlenecks slowing down work later in the project. Because our software is cloud-based as changes occur, just drag and drop the task to the new date and every related task is instantly updated.

Instant Updates to Keep Work Moving

Team members get notified of any changes to the project plan instantly by email or in-app alerts. Cloud-based file storage and real-time collaboration tools allow managers to add direction and attach documents and images directly to the task when assigning and teams can comment no matter where they are or when they’re working. Everyone is on the same page working together with a work management software.

A screenshot of ProjectManager's in-app notifications, which provides updates to your workA screenshot of ProjectManager's in-app notifications, which provides updates to your work

Balance Workloads

Managers don’t want to get in the way of their teams, but also need a work management software to have transparency in their work. The team management page lists everyone, their tasks and the percent complete they share. Use the workload page to see if anyone is not performing because they’re overallocated. Then reallocate to free them up.

A screenshot of ProjectManager's workload page, which helps managers balance workA screenshot of ProjectManager's workload page, which helps managers balance work

Track Progress with Dashboards

Finally, get a high-level view of the project with a real-time dashboard that automatically tracks six project metrics, doing the task, resource and time management calculations for you and then displaying the results in colorful graphs and charts. For greater detail use one-click reporting tools to see costs, overall health and project variance.

ProjectManager is a cloud-based project management software packed with work management tools to help managers and teams work more productively. From planning to monitoring and reporting on progress, you control every aspect of your work throughout the project life cycle. See why it’s the preferred tool of tens of thousands of project teams and take our free 30-day trial today.

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What Is a Hybrid Work Model? Making the Hybrid Model Work For You

PM Articles by ProjectManager.com. 

Hybrid work is commonly thought of as employees who work in an office, in the field or at home. That definition has taken hold thanks to the pandemic and the sudden change in the way people work. But the hybrid work model is more than just remote or distributed teams.

Project management software has proven key in supporting people who work from home. But there is so much more it can do in terms of providing tools to work the way you want no matter if you’re an executive or team member. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves.

What is Hybrid Work?

Hybrid work refers a work schedule where employees divide their time between working in an office and working at home. Before the pandemic, the term distributed teams referred to this hybrid work model.

Hybrid work is a flexible term, however. Another definition is the use of different methodologies to achieve modern project goals. There are traditional methods such as waterfall methodology, and more flexible, agile approaches. Hybrid work combines these two different ways of working.

Think of a project which involves multiple departments of a company. Developers might be engineering a new software product, while marketing figures out how to advertise it to their target market. These two distinct disciplines often speak in different languages. However, they need to communicate and work together; hence, the hybrid work model.

Hybrid work, then, can be teams that are spread out across time zones, teams that use different tools to get their work done and even teams that connect seasoned professionals with beginners. Whatever definition fits your organization’s way of working in a hybrid model, you need to provide them with a framework to collaborate and work together better.

What Is a Hybrid Work Model?

The hybrid model refers to teams that are distributed across many locations, with varying skill sets and different tools. The model lets teams stay productive by taking techniques from different methodologies.

Managers and teams can take from the methodology that best suits their habits and needs. For example, a manager that likes the structure of the waterfall method can work on detailed Gantt charts, while teams who prefer a more agile approach can use kanban boards to prioritize and collaborate.

The beauty of hybrid project management is that it finds the connection between different work methods so that they can work together. This proved especially useful during the pandemic. Organizations that adopted a hybrid work model were able to maintain business operations, while industries that were unable or unwilling to suffered economic consequences.

Hybrid work require hybrid work management software. ProjectManager is a cloud-based tool that gives you real-time data on your work no matter where you are. Share documents and comment on your work. Get notified by email or in the tool. Organize your work on a task list and see its status. Try ProjectManager for free today.

ProjectManager's task list project viewProjectManager's task list project view
Organize your work from home, the office or anywhere with ProjectManager’s task list project view—Learn More!

Benefits of the Hybrid Work Model

The hybrid work model is supported by organizations for a number of reasons. It gives teams autonomy and flexibility, which fosters high performance. It also encourages collaboration, positive work relationships and effective work habits.

Another reason that hybrid work is becoming popular is that it suits our global economy. Projects are incorporating people from all over the globe. Teams are working in more flexible, iterative ways, while managers and stakeholders are more wedded to traditional methods of planning. The hybrid work model organically developed in response to the growing complexity of the working environment.

The hybrid work model lifts both the business and its employees. The flexibility of the model allows for greater retention of workers. When you’ve trained somebody or hired a talented new worker, the hybrid work model might help keep them around. The work-life balance, for certain workers, can improve the morale of your workforce.

There’s the bottom line to think about as well. Having a hybrid work model means lowering expenses for high-ticket items such as office space. While you should still contribute to office supplies, the savings will still be reflected in your books.

Hybrid work also opens up the pool of talent you can attract to the job. If you’re no longer requiring that someone sitting at a desk, your radius for a job search has just expanded greatly. This makes your organization more competitive, in that it can reach potential employees who would have been outside your grasp.

Types of Hybrid Work Model Structures

There’s multiple types of hybrid work. Employing the hybrid model can be just as broad as the term’s definition. If you’re looking to set up a hybrid work model in your business, here are five ways to do so.

Office Hybrid

Here, the office remains the focal point of business. Employees are required to come to work as usual, but not every day. They can talk to their managers and figure out days when they can do their work from home or another location. They can also negotiate their hours. There is an office philosophy that believes people need to work physically together to increase creativity and productivity. This structure allows for that, while providing some flexibility.

Full Hybrid

This structure puts the employee in the decision-making position when it comes to where they’d like to work. They can work in the office if the company still has office space, or they can work from another location. They can also create a schedule where they come into the office on specific days. The power here is in the hands of the employee, because the employer believes that this freedom fosters greater productivity, collaboration and morale.

Remote-Friendly

The opportunity to work from home or another location is on the table here, but when is not freely chosen by the employee. There can be work-from-home days, but only on specific days chosen by the business. The organization might allow a percentage of its workforce to work exclusively from home, but again this is the business’s decision. It allows for companies to widen the talent pool while remaining more traditionally focused.

Remote Menu

Some companies are developing a hybrid remote office mode that is like a menu of items that the employee can choose from. There is a remote option, flexible work option, such as dividing up time between the office and another location, and the old-fashioned office option. This option gives employers more control over the work environment but can lead to issues of equity if some feel others are taking advantage of the situation.

Remote By Default

Now we’ve come to the option that doesn’t have an office or the office space is created secondary. The company is set up for all its workers to be remote. That means the business has built an operational structure that directs its processes, systems and culture around its remote staff as opposed to the traditional office worker. The pros are that everyone is in the same boat, whether an executive or a new employee. But it can be difficult to develop a sense of community.

How to Make the Hybrid Work Model Work For You

If hybrid work is a model your organization wants to pursue, then you need to decide on which of the above five structures is most suitable to your business needs. But that’s only the start. You’ve created the framework, now you have to fit everyone in it.

A hybrid work model needs flexible tools that provide transparency, foster collaboration and give everyone what they need to boost productivity. Clear communication is hard enough when you’re working in the same office; it becomes exponentially more difficult when teams are working remotely.

Without software that connects teams in real time, hybrid work will never succeed. Once you’ve made the decision to go with some manner of hybrid work model, be sure to equip your teams with work management software that lets them deliver on the promise of hybrid work.

How ProjectManager Is Built for the Hybrid Model

ProjectManager is hybrid software that can be used for structured or agile projects. Hybrid teams can use multiple project views to work how they want, on a collaborative platform that connects everyone with the most up-to-date data they need to work better together.

Plan Your Work on Gantt Charts

Work management begins with a plan. Those who prefer to chart everything out before starting a project can use ProjectManager’s interactive Gantt chart, which organizes tasks, links dependencies and shows all the work on one timeline. More than most Gantt tools, you can also filter for the critical path and set a baseline to track project variance to keep you on track.

ProjectManager's online Gantt chart project viewProjectManager's online Gantt chart project view

Go Agile on Kanban Boards

Agile teams prefer the more iterative approach of kanban boards, which visualize workflow, letting teams manage their backlog and collaboratively plan sprints. Managers get transparency into the work, and can clear bottlenecks to keep teams working at capacity.

ProjectManager's kanban board project viewProjectManager's kanban board project view

Monitor, Track and Report on Progress

But how do you gain visibility into progress and performance when working with hybrid teams? Live dashboards collect project data and automatically calculate that information into easy-to-read charts and graphs that track time, costs and much more. One-click reports go into even greater depth and can be filtered to share just the data stakeholders need to stay updated.

ProjectManager's real-time dashboardProjectManager's real-time dashboard

ProjectManager is award-winning software that organizes work for greater productivity. Real-time data gives you greater insight into decision-making, connects hybrid teams and facilitates better collaboration. Plus, you get resource management tools, timesheets and more. Try ProjectManager for free today.

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What Is a Scrum Master? Here’s Everything You Need to Know

PM Articles by ProjectManager.com. 

A scrum master might sound like a character in a role-playing game, but it’s a serious agile project management job that’s rooted in leadership. The scrum master is responsible for ensuring a true scrum process over the course of a project. They hold together the scrum framework, facilitating the process for the organization, product owner and scrum team.

What Is Scrum?

According to Scrum.org, Scrum is an agile framework that allows teams to work on complex projects and deliver high-value products by approaching problems iteratively. It’s a simple, straightforward and easy-to-implement way of project planning that is very popular for software development and product development projects. Scrum project management can pivot and encourages continuous feedback and user stories, which allow scrum masters to more accurately fulfill a customer’s needs.

Thanks to its many benefits, the scrum methodology continues to grow in popularity. According to the Scrum Alliance report last year on “The State of Scrum,” 89 percent of agile project management users use the scrum approach, where 62 percent of those polled have an in-house scrum coach and 86 percent hold a daily scrum meeting.

These statistics show the importance of the scrum master, for no scrum team should be without one. So let’s take a closer look at the scrum master role.

What Is a Scrum Master?

The scrum master is the person on the team who is responsible for managing the process, and only the process. They are not involved in the decision-making, but act as a lodestar to guide the team through the scrum process with their experience and expertise.

What is a scrum master infographicWhat is a scrum master infographic

Not everyone on the team will have the same understanding of concepts like scrum, product owner, product backlog or user stories and that’s especially true for teams new to the scrum framework. Without a scrum master promoting and supporting the process, who can help product owners and team members understand the theory, practice, rules and values of scrum, the project can flounder and fail.

What Does a Scrum Master Do?

While a scrum master is a crucial member of the scrum project management team, they are not involved in agile release planning. That’s done by the product owner and the scrum team. A scrum master doesn’t act as a project manager; a scrum team is self-organizing. In fact, a scrum master isn’t responsible for the success of the project’s result.

Yet, without a scrum master the whole scrum framework would fall apart. The scrum master is the glue that holds the project together by facilitating, though not participating, in the daily scrum meeting (one of the four scrum ceremonies). Scrum masters help the team maintain their burndown chart and set up retrospectives, sprint reviews and agile sprint planning sessions.

Related: 17 Scrum Master Interview Questions to Find the Right Hire

Scrum Master Roles & Responsibilities

The scrum master has several roles and responsibilities in a project. One way to look at the scrum master is as a servant leader. They’re not part of a hierarchy, barking orders or demanding ROI.

Instead, they’re taking a more holistic approach to product development or software development work, offering their scrum project management knowledge to others while promoting a sense of community and supporting a shared decision-making power inside the scrum team.

Scrum Master Roles

Here are some of the main roles of a scrum master:

  1. The scrum master serves the product owner by making sure that the goals, scope and product domain are clear to everyone on the scrum team.
  2. Scrum masters offer agile project management techniques and tools to manage the product backlog effectively and help the scrum team members know that there is a need to prioritize urgent user stories in the product backlog.
  3. Another big role that the scrum master plays is to constantly dispense information to project stakeholders about where the current agile sprint and product or software development effort stand. This can be done via the various scrum artifacts (i.e. product backlogs, scrum meetings to burndown charts) and just common-sense project management communication efforts.
  4. Scrum Masters also know project planning in an empirical environment. Naturally, a scrum master is adept at planning agile sprints and can lead agile teams. They are responsible for setting up scrum meetings as needed to direct or pass on information about the process.

Scrum Master Responsibilities

When it comes to scrum master responsibilities, the main goal of a scrum master is to act as an agile coach, helping scrum teams to self-organize and work cross-functionally to better manage their product backlog and maximize their efficiency.

Here are some of the main scrum master responsibilities:

  1. Scrum masters assist with getting the team to create a high-value product by removing obstacles in their scrum process and coaching them through daily scrum meetings or other venues when help is needed.
  2. The scrum team should be able to count on the scrum master to clear the path ahead of them, by removing roadblocks or prioritizing user stories in the product backlog. This will allow them to focus on the user stories that are currently on their plate to get them done as efficiently and effectively as possible.
  3. Finally, the scrum master also helps the organization by leading and coaching the transition into a scrum framework. In this capacity, the scrum master will lead change that increases the productivity of the team while working with other scrum masters and product owners to help foster the use of the scrum methodology throughout the organization.

Now that we’ve looked at the main roles and responsibilities of a scrum master, let’s see how they compare to project managers and product managers.

Scrum Master vs. Project Manager

Both scrum masters and product owners are involved in the process of managing the product backlog of an agile project. They’re both aware of the user stories that are needed to deliver a successful product.

But the main difference between them is how they contribute to the scrum process. Product owners plan in the medium or long term, while scrum masters are concerned about the daily performance of scrum teams.

Scrum Master vs. Product Owner

Project managers are responsible for developing project plans that have all the project management guidelines to successfully manage projects, which cover areas such as scheduling, planning, risk management, among others.

Scrum masters optimize processes and ensure that there’s a dynamic environment for scrum teams so that they can complete their goals.

Scrum teams like to work on kanban boards to organize their user stories and product backlog, and plan agile sprints. ProjectManager has award-winning project management tools for agile teams like kanban boards and reporting features to keep scrum masters, project managers, product owners and scrum teams on track. Want to take your scrum team to the next level? Try our software free today.

kanban board for scrum teamskanban board for scrum teams
ProjectManager has a kanban board view that lets scrum teams manage their sprints. Learn more

How to Become a Scrum Master

What’s the pathway to becoming a scrum master? The most linear course to becoming a scrum master is through formal scrum master training and certification. There are several organizations that offer scrum master certification programs.

For example, the Project Management Institute (PMI) has a scrum master training program called “Disciplined Agile Scrum Master” (DASM) which certifies you as a professional scrum master.

Similarly, the Scrum Alliance offers a Certified ScrumMaster (CSM) distinction that teaches the candidate how to get scrum teams to work at their highest levels.

Scrum Master Certification Programs

The certification process teaches the fundamentals of the scrum framework and helps one become intimate with what the team roles are, what events are, what artifacts and rules are, and other terms and procedures of scrum.

Disciplined Agile Scrum Master (DASM) by PMI

This scrum master training course will certify you as a scrum master who’s capable of leading agile teams and implementing project management methodologies like agile, kanban, lean and scrum.

DASM Requirements

This scrum training program doesn’t have any entry requirements. The PMI created it for people who are unfamiliar with scrum, but want to obtain a scrum master certification.

DASM Certification Exam

The DASM exam contains 50 multiple-choice questions. You’ll need to answer questions about agile and lean methodologies, kanban and scrum project management techniques.

Certified ScrumMaster (CSM) by Scrum Alliance

A CSM is a professional scrum master who’s capable of applying scrum project management techniques across industries and implementing scrum processes in projects and organizations.

Certified ScrumMaster Requirements

The requirements for CSM certification are fairly minimal. First, have some familiarity with the scrum framework. Then there’s a two-day, 16-hour course, which is taught by a Certified Scrum Trainer, who provides an overview of how to organize and support a scrum team.

ScrumMaster Certification Exam

The exam contains 35 multiple-choice questions, where 24 must be answered correctly for a passing grade. The test covers the history of scrum and the basics of the process. Specific topics include product backlogs, planning releases, problems that can occur, scalability, scrum roles, sprints, how to conduct daily scrum meetings, tasks, reports and team organization.

How ProjectManager Helps Scrum Masters & Scrum Teams

A scrum master is just that, a master at scrum. And while they can guide and inform the scrum team on best practices, they aren’t going to do the work for them. A scrum master will, however, tell the scrum team that they need to have the right tools for their sprint.

ProjectManager is a cloud-based project management software that gives scrum teams real-time data to pivot quickly as requirements change. The dashboard collects status updates and instantly translates them into easy-to-read charts, giving teams the information to respond to changes fast.

dashboard for tracking sprints and project progressdashboard for tracking sprints and project progress

Backlog Grooming and Collaboration

Any scrum master will tell you the importance of maintaining your product backlog, and ProjectManager has kanban boards that collect user stories that can be filtered by priority and more to keep your backlog well-groomed. Then use the board view to plan your sprint and provide transparency into the workflow for the product owner.

kanban screenshot in ProjectManager.comkanban screenshot in ProjectManager.com
ProjectManager.com lets you work in multiple views: kanban, task list, Gantt and more. Try It Free!

Don’t worry about the scrum team or even the stakeholders having a hard time getting up to speed with our tool. The onboarding is quick and easy, the UI is simple to understand and the fact that it’s cloud-based means anyone can access it at any time. When you put it all together, it’s clear that ProjectManager is the most robust scrum software on the market. Try it today!

Do you want to be a scrum master? It’s a cool title, but it’s more than a name. There’s a lot of responsibility and having the right tools to facilitate the scrum process is key to any scrum master’s success. ProjectManager is a cloud-based project management software that works with the self-organizing teams and short tasks of a scrum framework. Be a scrum master with ProjectManager by taking this free 30-day trial.

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