Are Project Management and Workflow Management the Same?

Workflow tools

Excellent workflow management is a major component of all successful projects.

Project management and workflow management sound similar, and they are. But they’re not interchangeable terms. Project management is the application of skills, tools, techniques, and institutional knowledge to meet the requirements of a project. Workflow management applies to the series of steps that you take that allows you to meet all those milestones.

Say you were asked to make a multi-tier wedding cake. Project management is all about gathering the ingredients and the helpers you need and making sure it’s delivered to the reception hall complete and on time. Workflow management is the recipe and the steps for assembling, frosting, and transporting it. Excellent project management and workflow management are necessary for the best possible project results.

Project Management: Big-Picture Oriented

Project management is more big-picture oriented than workflow management. It’s about planning your project, tracking projects, and marking off milestones. Project management usually involves things like timelines, baselines, and Gantt charts.

Good project management allows you to successfully balance time and cost requirements, putting together a project team, and tracking progress against the plan you make. It also makes it possible to recover quickly from problems and correct course when necessary. Project plans tend to evolve, so they may have to be updated, even after the project manager has worked hard to think the plan through thoroughly, and set goals and deadlines.

Workflow Management: Predictability, Consistency, Measurability

Workflow management is about managing the specific series of interdependent steps to reach project goals. The right workflow tools help companies do this in a methodical, systematic manner. Workflows tend to be defined and applied repeatedly over the course of a project. Maybe people on multiple shifts will be working on the project, and workflow management helps personnel pass the proverbial relay baton to the right person on the next shift, and have them know exactly what steps to take.

Workflow automation software is a powerful addition to project management, helping the steps that make up the project proceed with greater predictability and consistency than would be possible without it.

Project Management and Workflow Management Are Symbiotic

Workflow tools

Excellent project management and excellent workflow management go together perfectly.

Good project management and good workflow management form a mutually beneficial relationship. Workflows won’t run optimally under haphazard or incompetent project management, and projects won’t successfully meet goals with ill-defined or poorly-designed workflows.

Workflow Software tools that are applied in a planned manner by people who understand the processes intimately make the project manager’s job significantly easier. Likewise, someone managing a workflow with workflow automation software can do a much better job under the guidance of competent and invested project management.

Workflow Automation Software to Support Project Management

You may wonder why you need workflow automation software if you have a good project management suite. The truth is, workflow automation software makes everyone on the project team look good, because it makes for better consistency, better understanding among project team members, and defined processes that help ensure that no steps are missed along the way. Project management software isn’t designed to do this. The right workflow tools are also flexible enough to be used well beyond the scope of a single project, or even a single department.

Workflow consistency is important for HR, IT, and every department in between. Workflow automation software allows every department to standardize processes to a high level of excellence, helping ensure that everyone operates at a level of professionalism that might not be possible otherwise.

PerfectForms is workflow management software that requires no programming, so workflow managers and users can create workflows that are perfectly designed for their needs. An IT project, a PR campaign, or the publication of annual reports are just a few examples of the types of projects for which PerfectForms can be used to create custom workflows. And with these powerful workflow tools, you can be confident of consistent quality of work, and less worried about steps being neglected. We encourage you to read some of our case studies and see for yourself how having the right workflow tools helps businesses, nonprofits, and public sector organizations save time, save money, and make the best possible impression on their clients and customers.


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