What’s the Difference Between Process, Project, and Task Management?

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An Aragon Research report predicts digital transaction management (DTM), which handles digital management of document-based transactions, “will grow to $30 billion by YE 2020.” This means a project, process, and task management will become increasingly essential for businesses seeking to move beyond manual workarounds and instead become leaders in their space. The lines between these closely interrelated concepts can often become blurred; to help remove some of the confusion, here’s what you need to know about project, process and task management.

Process management is often referred to as business process management (BPM) and involves repeatable processes aimed at ensuring operational processes are optimized to effectively and efficiently meet day-to-day customer and business needs. BPM uses repetitive phases that can be modified to meet desired goals. BPM can support standalone efforts of a business to maximize operational efficiencies or as a part of project management efforts. Business process management is likely to involve processes being broken down into individual tasks, making task management an integral part of BPM.

[Related: How to Convince the C-Suite That BPM Tools Are Smart Investments]

Project management (PM) is a highly defined discipline aimed at meeting project-specific goals. Projects have a definite start and end date and ensure projects are executed around a customer’s specific expectations. PM uses strictly defined, non-repetitive sequential phases to achieve project goals. PM involves task management whereby each project phase has specifically assigned milestones broken down into individual tasks. Project management can also impact business processes, but not always. Changes to business processes as a result of projects are managed through a separate change management team.

Task management involves all aspects of managing specific tasks at the most basic levels with the aim of ensuring each assigned task is successfully executed. Task management can be conducted independently or as a part of higher level process management or project management goals. Task management uses singular non-repetitive actions to complete each task and can be as a result of a standalone goal, but is more likely part of other higher level initiatives like PM and BPM.

DTM will continue to aid companies in their quest to achieve improved operational performance; however, to do this, it’s important for companies to know the differences between project, process and task management platforms including the types of features and benefits each can potentially offer.

Here are just some important features and key benefits each platform has the potential to offer.

Important features:

Process management

  • End-to-end process mapping and workflow automation
  • Automation and tracking of signatures/approvals
  • Centralized and secure document management
  • Real-time collaboration calendaring
  • At-a-glance customizable dashboards
  • Multiple file support options
  • Error reduction

Project management

  • Project, milestone, deliverable, resource, schedule, issue, resolution, and key performance indicators (KPIs) tracking
  • Automation and tracking of signatures/approvals
  • Centralized document management
  • Real-time collaboration calendaring
  • At-a-glance customizable project dashboards
  • Multiple file support options

Task management

  • Automation tasks including prioritizing, status, resource, and time tracking
  • Real-time collaboration and calendaring
  • Centralized document management
  • Task roll-ups for PM or BPM
  • Multiple file support options

Key Benefits:

Process management

  • Increased efficiencies and time savings
  • Cost savings
  • Increased opportunity to customize, improve, and manage end-to-end workflows
  • Improved collaboration
  • Increased visibility and accountability
  • Higher degree of employee productivity and satisfaction
  • Higher degree of customer satisfaction

[Related: 5 Signs You Need Workflow Automation Software]

Project management

  • Improved strategic alignment
  • Increased efficiencies and agility
  • Increased productivity
  • Increased visibility and accountability
  • Improved collaboration
  • Risk reduction
  • Higher degree of customer satisfaction

Task management

  • Increased productivity
  • Improved collaboration
  • Increased visibility and accountability
  • Increased task tracking and control
  • Increased visibility and accountability
  • Higher degree of employee productivity and satisfaction
  • Higher degree of customer satisfaction

Although you may notice some similarities in features and benefits, project, process, and task management and their associated platforms serve distinct purposes in business, depending on whether the goal is to manage a specific project, address operational processes, or even work with an individual task or group of tasks.