Here’s the deal: no-one sets to have inefficient business processes or standards. They occur naturally over time, either as practices become bloated with input and oversight, losing their initial purpose or they simply become outdated. Even if they weren’t intentional, operational inefficiencies are most likely costing you time and money right now, in some cases up to 20% or 30% of your yearly revenue.
There are many different ways that inefficiencies can creep into your business but finding them and addressing them is a very important part of being a successful project manager. This can be tougher than it looks however, as it is very often the most common processes which you’ve been using for years which are now the most inefficient.
Here are a few common operational inefficiencies to look out for:
They’re everywhere and they’ve been used seemingly since the dawn of time, yet spreadsheets are one of the biggest inefficiencies killing business today. It’s not their fault really, they were just simply never designed to perform the specific tasks they are now being shoe-horned into doing. Single spreadsheets have been found to contain 10s of thousands of errors and they can go through hundreds of iterations in their lifetime.
Problems caused by spreadsheets:
- Lack of clear visibility
- Delays in updates and finding important information
- Poor governance
- Makes collaboration more difficult
- No automatic sharing of updates
Naturally, using something which wasn’t built for that purpose isn’t going to be as efficient as something that is. Switching to a faster, fully-customizable and easily updated project management software system will make your communication, task-management and overall project flow a lot smoother.
Poor Communication Channels
Too many meetings can be unproductive, so management gurus have for years been telling us to reorganize them, hold them standing up or cut them out altogether. That’s all well and good, but people still have to know what they’re supposed to be doing and you, as a project manager, need to know how they are doing it.
So, the need for good communication is obvious and now, fortunately, with the increasing use of new software, people can get all the information they need without wasting any more time than they have to.
When a project is in full flow it can be quite normal for teams to become separated, focusing on their own individual tasks, this is known as being “siloed”. Though it might seem great for everyone to be just spending their time on their specific task strand it is actually one of the most inefficient business processes.
This is because, as a whole, your project may not be able to take advantage of efficiencies created or worse still, duplicate work may be carried out. To prevent this from happening, you should seek to become a link yourself, filling the possible knowledge gap and making sure that disparate sections stay united and focused on the overall target.
When a new system was installed it was most likely at the forefront of technology. However, even after a couple of years, it’s likely to become outdated. The speed of work carried out will not be any slower than it was a couple of years ago, but if a competitor has stayed up-to-date, they will be faster than you. Thus, not staying at the cutting edge means that you don’t become physically slower, you just stay at the same pace while all those around you get faster.