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Project management automation: Why its critical for software development

Project management automation: Why its critical for software development

If you’ve managed a project of any kind, you will know how much work goes into making it successful. Along with looming deadlines, bumps in the road, and the occasional lack of communication, managing projects also comes with the frustration of tedious task tracking and workflow management.

Ensuring smooth and uninterrupted workflows is something that can be done right from the get-go with project management automation. Automation has disrupted how we use collaborative tools, diverting our attention from the mundane and repetitive to focus on what matters. But why is project management automation crucial for software teams? And, what exactly does it do to ensure a smoother project workflow?

What is project management automation?

Within project management, automation refers to software programs that carry out basic tasks within your project’s workflow without human intervention.

Zenhub's workflow automation interface
Zenhub's workflow automation

Automation in project management enables time-consuming admin tasks (such as assigning tasks, updating status changes, etc.) to flow through project management tools as your workflow progresses automatically.

Why use project management automation?

The best way to answer this question is for you to ask yourself where automation can improve your current project processes and workflows. Try asking yourself the following questions:

  • What repetitive tasks do you do that rarely, if ever, change in process (e.g., moving issues from one pipeline to another)?
  • Do you have tasks that regularly hold up your team from proceeding to the next step in a project without intervention from a person? (e.g., connecting pull requests)
  • What processes or tasks are currently manual but are also simple and time-consuming? (e.g., creating a new sprint, resource allocation)

Benefits of project management automation

Stating that project management automation can take over repetitive tasks is an obvious benefit, but it’s not the only one. Here are some benefits your team may experience due to automation:

1.  Get a productivity boost

Who doesn’t love a boost in productivity?

When it comes boosting productivity, automation does more than save your team time that would otherwise be spent doing mundane tasks (though that’s always nice!). The reduction in repetitive and mundane tasks reduces frustration at work and boosts overall work satisfaction, which has been linked to boosted productivity.

For developers, reducing time spent working in project management and other tools used for administrative tasks also reduces context switching – one of the biggest culprits of productivity loss.

2. Reduce context switching with tool integrations

Integration is a great way to take advantage of automation. Automations that integrate with your other development tools can allow work to flow from one tool to another, further reducing context switching for your team.

Additionally, integrative automation is a great way to collaborate with other team members who may not use software development tools without having to spend time learning the tools other departments use. For example, Zenhub’s GitHub extension allows developers to work in GitHub and set up workflow automation that are updated in the Zenhub tool which is viewable to stakeholders that don’t use GitHub.

Zenhub's GitHub extension
Zenhub's Github extension

3. Enable faster, more accurate communication

You can be using the best conference call service on the planet, but when it comes to working asynchronously, especially for agile teams, most communication happens on project management tools and issue tracking software. Because of this, there can be a lot of miscommunication and lack of communication. To ensure your team is up-to-date on milestones and their input is required, you can add workflow automation that facilitates instant work-handoffs across your team and other departments, reducing communication troubles.

4. More accurate and faster reporting

One annoying task many agile project leaders face is manually preparing reports. Preparing those reports can be both time-consuming and prone to human error. Software that captures data or allows you to automate reporting (as opposed to setting up Excel spreadsheets yourself) can seriously save time and improve the accuracy of the reports.

Tip: If your team’s already been working in Zenhub using our GitHub integration, you can view productivity reports in real-time using data from the past 24 months, derived directly from GitHub, without any manual set-up required.

Conclusion

Administrative tasks and managing projects can be a major friction point for your software development team when it comes to productivity. Because of this, automation should be a critical component of your project management plan. Identifying tasks that shouldn’t require a human touchpoint can reduce wasted time on “busywork” and allow your team to focus on more meaningful work, improving overall job satisfaction and productivity.

About the author:

Grace Lau - Director of Growth Content, Dialpad

Grace Lau is the Director of Growth Content at Dialpad, an AI-powered cloud communication platform for better and easier team collaboration and one of the best IVR providers. She has over ten years of experience in content writing and strategy. Currently, she is responsible for leading branded and editorial content strategies, and partnering with SEO and Ops teams to build and nurture content. Grace has also written for other domains such as Guru and ZenTao. Here is her LinkedIn.

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