As a founder, project manager, leader, or executive, you probably spend a ton of time jumping in between software, tools, and platforms just to perform simple tasks.
Wouldn’t it be easier if those tasks could be done for you, without even the click of a button?
This is task automation at work.
The best way to describe task automation is to provide an example in action.Problem:
Let’s say that you are managing a large-scale content project. Your project involves several key phases: content ideation, building an outline, writing an initial draft, editing and reviewing, and publishing.
You create columns in your visual project management tool. Each column represents one of the phases in the project.
Pretty organized, right?
Yes, but it isn’t perfect.
In fact, it involves a number of drop-off points you probably don’t realize.
For example, let’s say that your content team selects individual topics to write about, each with its own goal and key call-to-action. After the content topic and outline are approved, the content specialist begins writing the draft.
However, the points between when a content topic, outline, and draft are all approved and finished involves a content manager moving tasks from one column to the next. Because these steps in the process are essentially managed by a human, they are subject to human error, meaning they are often overlooked or even forgotten about.
As we explained in Chapter 1, this is a prime example of a project drop-off point. However, these risks can easily result in spending more time than necessary to determine project status.
Even the best project managers can make errors here. In fact, project managers end up spending more time trying to figure out where each piece of content is in each step rather than managing the project as a whole.
Automations are a game changer for our team. They have streamlined our workflow saving us a ton of time and made us more consistent with completing imperative deliverables.
Needless to say, this is an inefficient way to manage a project, but there is a better way… with automation.
Many project management tools today are designed to be integrated with other automation tools, like Zapier.
For example, depending on the tool your team uses, you could use Zapier or Rindle to send a notification or message in Slack every time a writer on your content team uploads a document, such as an outline or draft into the project task, or moves one task from one column to another. This removes the project drop-off point because this mini “hand off” no longer requires a human to remember to tell another human when a specific phase has been completed.
So, let’s recap:
How many tasks did you have to do? 0.
How many times did you have to ping team members asking for project status? 0.
This, my friends, is task automation—and it’s a beautiful thing.
What Are the Benefits of Task Automation?
By now, you likely have seen some of the benefits of task automation, and even seen an example in action.
But to sum up, here are some of the primary benefits of taking advantage of task automation:
- Stop wasting time on highly-repetitive processes or components
- Save time in your project schedule
- Increase visibility into project status
- Mitigate risks associated with project hand-offs or drop-off points
- Streamline communication across various tools and channels
- Helps project managers juggle multiple project boards
- Know the minute a task is completed with “hunting” or chasing down team members for a status update
- Avoid task saturation
- Add time back into your work day
Think about what you could do with all your newfound free time during the work day!