Whether your company just opened its doors today or you’ve been in business for decades, you need job management processes in place to guide your team to success and help them reach their full potential.
In this article, the experts at Inch discuss everything you need to know about job management so you can set up a cycle of operation that works for you, your team, and your business.
What Is Job Management?
Job management (a.k.a. project management) is a systematic approach to business operations that encompasses all activities within the job or work cycle, including analysis of the entire process so your team can improve the way they work the next time around.
That may sound like a lot to take in, so let’s break down the key phrases to help you get a better sense of what’s involved.
Systematic approach to business operations: Job management involves taking a close look at the way your business runs and then incorporating systems, processes, and technology to make it run better.
Encompasses all activities within the job cycle: Job management takes a broad view of the operations within your company with an eye toward perfecting each task specifically and how they flow one into another.
Including analysis of the entire process: Job management also looks at the entire process of the job cycle from start to finish and leverages data gathered along the way to select, prioritize, and improve your business’s standard operating procedures.
What Businesses Use Job Management?
Any business that works from job to job or on multiple jobs at once can benefit from putting a job management cycle in place.
Examples of such businesses include:
- IT services
- Creative agencies
- Design agencies
- Accounting and bookkeeping firms
- Engineering firms
- Construction services
Even industries such as landscaping, wedding planning, painting, and event administration can benefit from incorporating job management into their workflow.
Even if your business was not mentioned above, it may benefit, too. In fact, you may already have an informal job management cycle in place and not realize it.
If you’ve ever said to an employee, “That’s just the way we do it,” without being able to explain why, you can improve the way your team operates by analyzing the workflow, formalizing it, and creating rules and procedures to provide consistency throughout the process.
The Stages Of Job Management
Job management can be broken down into a set of fairly standardized stages. Those stages are:
- Lead/Customer Management
- Quote/Estimate Management
- Task Management
- Timesheet Management
- Document Management
- Cost Management
- Work Management
These stages are most often represented as a circle with stage one flowing into stage two flowing into stage three, and so on. It’s important to understand, though, that a stage doesn’t necessarily depend on the completion of the one before it.
For example, once your team completes the quote/estimate stage and the client gives the green light, managers may then run task management, scheduling, document management, and others simultaneously.
Some team members may even go back to stage one (lead/customer management) while others move on. It all depends on what works for your business.
It’s also important to understand that no two businesses are exactly alike. Therefore, no two businesses share the exact same job management cycle.
For example, business A may rely more on a precise quote at the beginning of the job, whereas business B may rely on a more general estimate. At a more macroscopic level, business A may eliminate one or two steps, while business B makes use of all 10 stages.
The key is to analyze your business, find the stages that work for you, and tweak the process so that your team can apply it to any job they receive, regardless of size, type, or complexity.
Job Management Methodologies
Zoom out and away from the 10 stages mentioned above and you’ll come across what are known as job management methodologies. These methodologies provide structure to the cycle of activities that kick in when your business wins a project.
These are some of the most common methodologies available.
1) Six Sigma
Engineers at Motorola introduced Six Sigma in 1986 as a way to improve quality by reducing the number of errors in a process.
Six Sigma does this by:
- Identifying what is not working
- Removing those unsuccessful bits from the process
While Six Sigma may be best suited for larger businesses that want to improve quality and efficiency, there is much to be gained for small and medium businesses as well.
The Project Management Institute (PMI) publishes the Project Management Body Of Knowledge (PMBOK), which contains a set of standards that characterize job management as a whole.
The PMBOK outlines five processes that are prevalent in almost every project, including:
While not a project management methodology, per se, the PMBOK acts as a set of best practices, conventions, and techniques that you can use to pick the method that is.
That’s why we recommend getting familiar with this meta-methodology — it can help you identify the system that works best for your team.
Agile is perhaps one of the most recognizable job management methodologies available today. It’s composed of four fundamental values and 12 key principles that govern all activities within a project, a team, and a business.
These components are:
- Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
- Working product over comprehensive documentation
- Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
- Responding to change over following a plan
- Customer satisfaction through early and continuous product delivery
- Accommodate changing requirements throughout the development process
- Frequent delivery of working product
- Collaboration between the business stakeholders and developers throughout the project
- Support, trust, and motivate the people involved
- Enable face-to-face interactions
- Working software is the primary measure of progress
- Agile processes to support a consistent development pace
- Attention to technical detail and design enhances agility
The Agile project management methodology is best suited for jobs with a significant level of complexity and uncertainty and jobs that require extreme flexibility to be successful.
Kanban focuses on maintaining collaborative and self-managing teams. It operates on the following general principles to deliver high-quality results:
- Limiting work in progress
- Flow management
- Making policies explicit
- Using feedback loops
- Collaborative or experimental evolution
Kanban is a very visual methodology that makes use of boards (e.g., a whiteboard), cards, and “swimlanes” (horizontal categorization). It’s ideal for smaller teams who need a flexible approach to developing and delivering a novel product or service.
The Lean methodology revolves around maximizing customer value and minimizing waste. This ideal often manifests as using fewer resources and is embodied by the value that, as waste is eliminated, quality improves and production time and cost are reduced.
Lean focuses on reducing waste in the following categories:
- Scheduling and operation
It is a beneficial project management methodology for businesses with the goal of streamlining a complicated project and transforming how they do business.
The XP (eXtreme Programming) job management methodology developed in the software industry as a way to improve quality and ensure responsiveness to changing customer requirements.
The key components of the XP ideology are:
These manifest in processes and rules such as test-driven development (TDD), continuous integration, and pair programming (two-person teams).
Streamline Job Management With Inch
Streamlining the job management process doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg — at least when it comes to scheduling your team, managing their tasks, and tracking their activity.
The Inch app is a powerful suite of tools that helps your team get aligned on their to-dos, ensures all tasks within the cycle get completed on time, and simplifies communication.
The heart of the Inch software is its team task management module that includes intuitive features, like:
- Powerful scheduling tools
- Cloud-based schedule distribution and communication
- A wide range of reports to help you make adjustments for the future
- Paid-time-off control to help you keep expenses low
- A built-in time clock
- Messaging and communication features
- And much more!
With these features, you can guide your entire team — be they on-site, in the field, or working remotely — through the entire job cycle in a timely and cost-effective manner.
You can also help them stay productive and support them in their daily work while simultaneously leading your business toward better growth. It’s a win-win for everyone involved.
Inch even helps you improve your own efficiency by allowing you to create, save, and reuse task templates for recurring work assignments. This way, you don’t have to start everything from scratch.
Then, you can break down tasks into specific actions and distribute checklists so your team can easily meet expectations.
When it comes to organizing, managing, and optimizing your workforce, there’s no better suite of tools than Inch. Take your job management to the next level by downloading the Inch app for free today.
For more free resources to help you manage your business better, save time and energy, and keep your team on task, visit TryInch.com today.