What gets measured gets managed | How to Implement Task & Process Automation at your Organization

By Collin Siverts

The goal of task and process automation is to improve the efficiency of your organization.

Many companies, departments, and executives rely on their email inbox as a to-do list. However, there are simple tools used by millions of companies that can bring your organization out of the stone age. If you adopt the tools outlined in this post, you’ll lose track of an action item, have complete organization-wide visibility, and have unparalleled collaboration capabilities.

When implementing these tools into your organization, there are many strategies and best practices. Still, I’m going to share with you the high-level strategies that will get your organization pointed in the right direction.

Of course, if you know that you don’t have the time, resources, and patience to implement these technologies into your organization, we can take the heavy lifting off your shoulders and do this for you. You can read more about our Task & Process Management solution here.

The Three Tools You’ll Need

There are unlimited ways that your existing apps can be integrate using Zapier.com, but to keep things simple, the three tools I’d recommend starting with are:

1. Asana

2. Process Street

3. Slack

Task Management with Asana

Asana was created by an original founder of Facebook and is now a publicly-traded company. Today, they are the global leader in task management software that is simple for organizations of any size to use.

Here is the foundation of how we recommend configuring your Asana account.

Step #1: Create Your Teams

If you don’t have clear teams within your organization, think of teams as departments. You may have “Sales” or “Client Success.”

You can overwhelm your employees if you create too many teams. Instead, try to simplify your organizational units into the fewest number of teams possible.

Step #2: Determine Your OKRs

OKRs is an acronym that stands for Objectives and Key Results.

The simplest way to understand OKRs is to remember this phrase: “I will achieve [objective] as measured by [key result].”

OKRs should be created from the top down. Start by defining your organization’s OKRs, followed by departments, and finally assign OKRs to each employee.

Asana gives you the ability to track OKRs throughout your organization, making it easy for you to see who’s on track to reach their objectives.

Step #3: Create Projects

Talk to the people in your teams to determine what is the best way to organize their work into projects.

Although we think of projects as temporary, try to only create projects that live indefinitely. For example, creating a “Content Creation” project for the marketing team is better than creating a new project titled “Year in Review eBook.” If marketing has a “Content Creation” project, a “Year in Review eBook” task should be placed inside the broader topic.

Step #4: Create Templates

Boil every repetitive task down into the action steps required to complete the task. Then, create a task template. Task templates will standardize tasks in your organization and make them easy for anyone to complete.

Step #5: Pick Your View

In Asana, you’re able to pick how you view your tasks. Your options include a task list, board, timeline, or calendar. Each project is unique, and your team should choose the view that works best for them.

Our favorite is to use a board consisting of the following columns:

  • Discuss (Tasks that need to be reviewed by the team before deciding on a course of action)
  • To-Do (Tasks that need to be completed)
  • In Progress (Tasks that someone is actively working on)
  • Pending Approval / Action (Tasks that are waiting for approval or another action before it’s able to move forward)
  • Completed (Tasks that have been completed)
  • Future Ideas (Tasks that aren’t important, but the team would like to take note of to reference in the future)

Step #6: Create Tasks

Set a rule at your organization that any task created must have a due date and be assigned to someone. If a task doesn’t have both of those requirements, then the team will lose track of the task.

Step #7: Automate

Asana has plenty of automation capabilities that will eliminate repetitive work. Take advantage of these automation features early on.

Step #8: Measure

Asana offers detailed reporting and dashboards for OKRs and specific tasks. It’s a manager’s responsibility to keep track of these metrics to monitor team progress, resolve bottlenecks, and ensure adequate workloads for every member of an organization.

Process Standardization and Training with Process Stress

Employee training is expensive and time-consuming. Using a tool like Process Street, you can automate much of that training.

You have to think of your business as a franchise, even if you have no plans of adopting a franchise model.

Procedures, best practices, and processes all must be documented so that new employees can quickly be brought up to speed on how your organization operates.

Have everyone at your organization document the processes that have the largest financial impact. Then, work backward until their daily activities are so well documented that if they were to leave their desk tomorrow, someone else could fill in and begin working that same day.

Improve Communication with Slack

If your organization is task-driven, then 99% of communication should be about specific tasks. Many companies spend far too long on company meetings that serve no purpose or brainstorming sessions that lead nowhere, but if you create a task-focused organization, you’d be amazed at how much unproductive communication decreases and task-communication increases.

Instruct the leaders of your teams to direct all communication through Asana tasks. If someone sends an individual a question regarding a specific task, respond politely and have them restate their question within the chat functionality below each task in Asana.

However, there are times when non-task communication may be required. For those use-cases, we recommend Slack.

Slack is the most popular company communication application, and many organizations use it as a replacement to email altogether.

Final Thoughts

Implementing organizational-wide task and process management can be a heavy lift. However, in a few short months, your teams will be looking back on the way you used to operate and wondering how they ever got any work done. If you need assistance with proper implementation, you can submit the form below.