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There are only three different types of work in your business

Have you ever thought about why the business world is so chaotic where people seem to have all too much to do, and never catch up with the requirement? Are you one of those that always are working with putting out fires around you? And I am not meaning that you are a firefighter per see.

As I see it is due to that most business are not clear on what they are doing. Sure, people at the dairy plant know they produce milk, people at the shoe factory know that they make shoes, and people at the hospital know that they treat patients. But that is not enough. They all need to know exactly what they are doing and how it is done. To start by knowing in which of the two main types they are working is to take a huge leap forward.

There are actually three types of work in your business. Let me explain. Imagine yourself coming to work in the morning. It is Monday and you have a new day and a new week to make something awesome for your customers. You now have three options, and you might mix them during your week. But you must very clear at any moment of what type of work you are doing at that moment.

First you can work on a project. A project is a series of activities that is needed to reach a certain goal that is well defined. A project also have a clear stated limit of time and money, and the team that is working in the project is temporary put together in order to work on reaching the goal. A project is only run once.

Secondly, you can work in a process. A process is a series of activities that aims towards creating a value for someone needing something. A process is run several times, over and over again, as long as there is a need for that something that you create.

Third, you might work on with general tasks. That is tasks that are not connected to each other, not connected to each other, and keep in dropping in all day long.

The fact is that some businesses are mainly focusing on projects, like building companies, while others are focusing mainly on processes, like a service company. And then there are those that only have a bunch of general tasks.

If you are not crystal clear on what projects you have in your business and have specified them accordingly to the general rules of what a project is, then you have a problem. The same goes from not being crystal clear on what processes you have. The less clear you are about your projects and your processes, the more general tasks you will have. The more general tasks you have, the fuzzier is your business.

General tasks do exit in businesses, but they should not exceed a couple of percent of all work done. Typical general tasks might be to reserve a lunch table, book a conference room outside your premises, talk to your old business colleague, buy a business magazine, order a software for your personal testing, and call the lawyer. All those activities are general tasks if they are done only from time to time, and not connected to anything else in a process or a project. If a general task start to be done more frequently and connected to a process, then it should be included into the process instead, and then it end to be a general task.

The division of processes and projects may then vary depending on your type of business. You might have 70 percent processes, 25 percent projects, and the rest is general tasks. Or you might have 30 percent projects, 65 percent processes, and the rest is general tasks.

If you are the first type, then you have well defined processes through out your business. Your marketing is a process run according to your design of that process. The same goes for your product development, sale, delivery and customer service. You also have a couple of well-specified projects going on handling the new IT-environment, moving to a new office, and arranging the Christmas party.

If you are the second type of business, you might have well-specified projects for building the bridge over the river, remodeling the city center main building, making a new parking lot outside the stadium, and so on. To support all those projects you also have well designed processes for your marketing, your procurement, your customer service and more.

To ensure that you are successful, you must specify your projects and design your processes.

To you and your business excellence,

Matt Rehnström