Episode 316: Project Workflow Management (Free)
This episode is sponsored by The PM PrepCast for The PMP® Exam:
Today, we are going to take a look at a business process approach that is quite new and quite unique called Project Workflow Management.
When I initially asked Daniel Epstein (https://www.linkedin.com/pub/dan-epstein/1/10b/308) and Rich Maltzman (https://www.linkedin.com/in/exclaim) to come on the program for this interview I didn’t quite know what to expect. I knew that they had written a book about Project Workflow Management, but what I didn’t know is that the book is only part of the package. Their website http://www.pm-workflow.com not only offers many free tools to download but also a teaching aid CD.
I also didn’t expect to find a quote by Dr. Harold Kerzner in which he says point blank that project workflow management appears to be the best alternative, and significantly more valuable to us project managers than complex methodologies and processes.
So in today’s interview we will learn about workflow management from various angles - like how it differs from waterfall methodologies and Agile, its primary benefit, the tools it offers, how simple it is to apply, and of course how we project managers can start using this new approach that Dr Kerzner likes so much.
Below are the first few pages of the transcript. The complete transcript is available to Premium subscribers only.
Cornelius Fichtner: Hello and welcome to Episode number 316. This is the Project Management Podcast™ at www.pm-podcast.com and I am Cornelius Fichtner. Welcome back. Today, we are going to take a look at a business process approach that is quite new and quite unique called Project Workflow Management. When I initially asked Dan Epstein and Rich Maltzman to come on the program for this interview, I didn't quite know what to expect. I knew that they had written a book about Project Workflow Management but what I didn't know is that the book is really only part of the package. Their website, www.pm-workflow.com not only offers many free tools to download but also a teaching aid CD. I also didn't expect to find a quote by Dr. Harold Kerzner in which he says point-blank that project workflow management appears to be the best alternative and significantly more valuable to us project managers than complex methodologies and processes. That is quite an endorsement coming from Dr. Kerzner. This episode of the Project Management Podcast™ is sponsored by the PrepCast. If you are a project manager who wants to become PMP or PMI-ACP certified, then the easiest way is to do so is with one of our sister podcasts, the PM PrepCast or the Agile PrepCast and study for the exam by watching the in-depth exam prep video training from www.pmprepcast.com.
So in today’s interview, we will learn about workflow management from various angles like how it differs from waterfall methodologies and Agile, its primary benefit, the tools it offers, how simple it is to apply and of course, how we project managers can start using this new approach that Dr. Kerzner likes so much. And now, let your projects flow. Enjoy the interview.
Cornelius Fichtner: All right. Hello Dan and Rich. Welcome to the program. Dan, hello!
Daniel Epstein: Hi. Thank you very much for inviting.
Cornelius Fichtner: You’re welcome, you’re welcome. And, Rich, welcome back.
Rich Maltzman: It’s great to be back, Cornelius.
Cornelius Fichtner: So both of you are co-authors of the new book Project Workflow Management. And in our first interview right now, we want to give a general overview of the subject and of the book. So let me start out with the two questions that everyone who’s listening in right now will be asking themselves. So first of all, Dan, what is project workflow management?
Daniel Epstein: Well, Project Workflow Management is the first book in the market based on the PM Workflow Framework, a continuous dynamic flow of necessary executable processes with logical decision making and detailed instructions for their execution along with tools, controlled point tests templates, checklists, tips and many examples. PM Workflow can be compared to the project GPS, I mean global positioning system. Just as GPS automatically select the most efficient route to drive and change it when a road construction or heavy traffic is encountered, PM workflow dynamically directs the project flow by selecting processes in the project execution path based on the system request, decision checkpoints, decision tables and project health evaluation results.
Cornelius Fichtner: Okay. And of course second, how does Project Workflow Management differ from shall we call it “normal” project management?
Daniel Epstein: Yeah, well okay, when using standard PM methods, the quality of the project will directly correlate to project manager’s experience and ability and it is up to the individual project manager and corporate guidelines to ensure the quality of the project. If PM skips on some required processes such as risk management or quality management or earned value analysis, they just won’t to be implemented and the project quality will be --. The existing PM methods don’t provide any timely indication if PM skips execution of some processes. PM Workflow is a project management using methods to enforce execution of all required project processes in the correct time. It will guide PMs step by step constantly performing qualitative assessment of outcomes and dynamically redirecting the project flow to the alternative execution paths. And also when issues arise, it will suggest steps for the resolution.
Rich Maltzman: Yeah, this is Rich. I’d say it works on the micro level such as describing in detail the process that the PM uses for identifying and analyzing and responding to threats. But as Dan said, it works also at the macro level assuring that risk management, as a process, is interconnected to and used with the other processes.
Cornelius Fichtner: Okay. And just so that our listeners know, the way that we’ve decided to do the interview is Dan will answer most of the questions and then Rich will jump in with any clarifying information that he may have. But, Rich, I have a clarifying question for you based on what Dan said here. Dan was talking about you know, it kind of works like a GPS and it will automatically select the correct route that you have to drive. So is Project Workflow Management a system that’s in place that will automatically select their source to something that I do manually or how does that work?
Rich Maltzman: Well currently, it’s a book that has the processes diagrammed out quite visually, I might add, and then it’s able to be adapted into software. Dan will talk about that later. There are already some tools from the book Software-wise available for download. But the guidance that Dan’s talking about is the guidance of these flowcharts that dictate do this then do that. It is definitely a methodology.
Cornelius Fichtner: All right, okay, then back to Dan. So we’ve heard the difference between project workflow management and the regular project management. What is then the difference between project workflow management and the waterfall method? Is there a difference?