Every business requires processes and tasks. A business would be unable to succeed if it did not rely on some sort of process and just threw itself on whatever task first appeared without any thought to how the task would fit into the big picture.
A successful business knows that process management and task management are both important to remaining successful. However, the question that may remain is what is the difference between task and process management? Do process and task differ or are they both the same thing?
Below are some critical differences between process and task management, as well as some great information on how they eventually flow together.
What is Process Management?
A business process is defined as a series of steps taken in order to achieve a particular business goal.
Everything in life involves a process. This could be something as simple as registering your business travel expenses every month to something more complex such as creating customized quotes for one-of-a-kind products. Regardless of the level of complexity, both examples are processes.
If you are registering your travel expenses, the process could be adding a description and all the information needed, uploading the receipts, sending a notification to the responsible person to approve the expense, waiting for expense reimbursement, then getting an approval/rejection note from your manager and finally get paid in the happy scenario. All of these smaller tasks describe a process.
On a similar note, if an organization creates customized quotes for one-of-a-kind products, the process could involve receiving the quote request, confirming receipt of the quote, beginning costing on a custom item, and requesting freight for shipping, among many other smaller tasks that come together to form the process of creating a customized quote.
Process management, therefore, may be defined as an approach used to strategize and align processes within an organization. If an organization begins procurement for new material, process management is primordial for ensuring all stay on track with the procurement and tasks are not lost along the way or forgotten about.
The process management approach ensures that effective business processes are followed, establishes measurement systems, and educates those using the system so they are empowered to manage operations effectively.
What is Task Management?
Task management is the breaking down of a process into smaller, manageable action items. An important part of task management is being able to prioritize tasks on an ongoing basis and not lose track of what tasks have or haven’t been done.
For example, if there is a project that requires repetitive daily tasks, good task management would allow the individual to stay current with what needs to be done. An example of this is a report that is run daily in several steps, and at the end of the month, a month-end report pulls data from the daily report to create the month-end report. The tasks in this scenario would be running the different reports needed on a daily basis, keeping up with the data, then pulling it into a larger, more encompassing report at the end of the month.
Another example of where task management is utilized is on a large group project. When the project begins, the tasks are divided among the group members. Being able to track who is doing which tasks is important because it would eliminate an overload of work on some employees, while others are readily available to take on more responsibilities. Having a way to openly track who is working on which tasks is important to successful task management.
What Is The Difference Between Task Management and Process Management?
Task management is a task-oriented approach to managing work. It emphasizes the completion of discrete, self-contained, and independent tasks. Tasks are completed in isolation from each other and they do not necessarily have an end goal in mind.
Process management, on the other hand, is a process-oriented approach to managing work. It is a process of managing tasks that are interconnected and dependent on one another. Processes are the steps that need to be taken to achieve an objective and they are generally iterative and recursive. Processes are often mapped out in detail before any work begins so that everyone involved knows what needs to be done and when it needs to be done.
Both task management and process management have their advantages and disadvantages. Task management is more useful when there are few tasks that need to be completed, while process management is more useful when there are many interconnected tasks. Task management, therefore, may be visualized as micro-steps to a process.
If a process for procurement, for example, involves creating a request for proposal template, advertising the bid, and analyzing then the bids received for a final outcome, then the task management would be broken down into much smaller steps. These steps would involve creating an editable document with information to submit a request for proposal, sending the request for proposal for management approval, taking care of any edits, then creating the final draft. All of those tasks sum up just one part of the process which was creating a request for a proposal template.
What is the Right Choice for you: Process vs Task Management?
If a role requires continuous tracking to stay on top of processes for projects, it could be strenuous, tiresome, and even frustrating to always remember where the last step in a process was completed.
A business process flow, or workflow diagram, however, would allow a smooth continuity in process management. A good workflow pattern links workflows to processes and facilitates road-mapping business processes. It also applies rights and rules so that teams are certain that the correct people are participating in the process per set procedures and also sets task escalations to automatically initiate actions and send notifications and emails when conditions are met.
Therefore, if a certain role requires continuous follow-up with various parties, the workflow pattern would guide the individual in what has already been done and what the next steps are.
If part of a process is tracking sales, for example, an app that allows the opportunity to track productivity would be an integral part of the process. The app would permit the individual tracking the sales to spend less time calculating weekly and monthly sales as they have already created a template in the app to facilitate the monitoring and more time on other tasks of a greater process.
Generally, process management software is a system that helps you to manage your processes. It helps you to identify the best process for your work and how to carry out the tasks involved in a systematic way. Process management systems are designed with the goal of improving productivity, efficiency, and quality of work. They help employees to complete tasks in a more effective manner by providing them with an organized workflow. On the other hand, task management software is a system that helps you manage your tasks. Similarly to process management, task management systems improve productivity, efficiency, and quality of work by helping people identify what needs to be done next for their task and when it should be completed. Some task management systems also help people prioritize their tasks so they can focus on what is most important at any given time.
Knowing when to rely on technology for facilitated processes or tasks is essential to an organization’s success. Although some processes may be done with databases that have been around for a while, sometimes having to manipulate data and input the data into several different systems could be facilitated by having one centralized platform for process and task management.
How to Combine Process and Task Management
Once a business is empowered with a good process and task management system, there are several things they must be aware of to have efficient process and task management skills.
#1 Work When You Feel Most Productive
Employees should always work when they feel most productive. If there is a big project due soon, and they know that their best work comes out in the early morning, the employee should schedule set early morning hours where they have time blocked off just for the project.
This will ensure that tasks are being completed to achieve the process cycle.
#2 Avoid Multitasking
Employees should also avoid multitasking when there is a deadline near. Sticking to those closed blocks of time will help the employee maintain significant productivity.
#3 Using the Right Software
Starting with the creation of a daily schedule will help improve the process and task management. Having an overall idea of what tasks must be done that day is important to good task management.
Another great way of making sure you are optimizing your hours is by using the right process management software.
When the right tools are used, working on something can become that much easier and take up less time. For instance, Comidor revolutionizes the digital workplace with advanced process and task management tools. You can manage personal tasks or your team tasks, nominate a substitute employee to carry out your tasks, have a good overview of all active processes, messages, emails, and tasks through interactive dashboards, and monitor productivity metrics to track processes and tasks.
Take some time comparing different process management tools and deciding which one works for you. If you are running a short campaign with only a few contacts, GetResponse pricing may make sense since their pricing increases as you add more contacts to your plan but if have a large email marketing campaign to handle, a service like this that offers unlimited contacts on all of their plans would make more sense.
The key is to put in the research so that your final choice saves you money and optimizes your time.
#4 Use Time Management Software
Whenever an employee has blocked set times to work on a project, time management software is helpful to ensure the employee is not distracted by non-essential requests. The right time management software is part of every remote team’s stack of tools.
#5 Have a Regular Check-In Session
As part of process management, it is important that a supervisor check in with employees on a regular basis to ensure they have remained on track. Part of the workflow design for process management could be a reminder to check in with employees on a regular basis. This will allow the employee the opportunity to communicate any challenges they may be facing from the start and assist in a quick resolution.
The Importance of Process and Task Management
Tasks are key parts of process management. Good process management ensures that every task is completed along the way so that a process may reach its full cycle. Having a good program and plan in place is essential for the success of process management.
Regularly completed processes that are finalized without issues will set a business up for success as it will be able to continuously achieve more and more projects through the process and task management.
Freya is the founder of CollectingCents- a website that teaches readers how to better manage their finances. She is a quoted contributor in several online publications including Business Insider, Fox Business, Yahoo Finance, the Huffington Post, BankRate, and GoBankingRates.