How to Streamline the Content Review and Approval Process
Whether it’s a major corporation or small business, there are always projects awaiting approval. If you’re reading this, you may have experienced project bottlenecks in the past or are currently struggling to meet deadlines. Not to worry. It’s a common issue and we have some tips to help your business become more efficient.
Depending on the size of your business, the content review and approval process could take much longer than anticipated, as it snakes its way through the chain of appropriate stakeholders, sometimes months or even years. As a project leader, there are few things more frustrating after spending significant time gathering information from different teams and assembling a draft for review. Along the way, you’ll likely receive feedback, while simultaneously working on other initiatives. This situation equates to the perfect storm for losing track of edits, missing deadlines — and ultimately — delayed launch dates.
When a business has an organized manual review process or one driven by an automated program, they are more likely to generate innovative content, improve workflow efficiency, meet deadlines, and have teams that feel proud and accomplished.
What is the Purpose of the Approval Process?
The review and approval process is a big step towards project completion, but it isn’t the final stage. But it is an integral piece of a business’s overall workflow. The content review and approval process serves a couple of important purposes.
1. Corporate identity – Employees may have a good sense of what it means to represent or ‘sound’ like the voice of the business, but everyone has their own working style. The review and approval process adds a ‘second set of eyes’ to a project to ensure details weren’t missed, and that it aligns with the business’s overall goals and standards from a visual and vocal perspective.
2. Set expectations – Once an employee has sent their work in for review enough times, they develop an understanding of expectations. Of course, this hinges on consistent feedback.
Consequences of a Disorganized Workflow
- Manual processes – While this may look good on paper, it can create disorganized project tracking.
- Decentralized feedback collection – When feedback isn’t organized into a central location that is easy to reference, it becomes equally as easy to lose.
- Missing deadlines – A disorganized workflow is usually compounded by individuals who create project ‘bottlenecks’, resulting in delays and subsequent missed deadlines.
Three Common Steps for an Efficient Workplace Review Process
1. Share work with those responsible for reviewing
2. Receive feedback and implement changes (if necessary)
3. Re-share and ask for final approval
Ideas for Making the Approval Workflow More Efficient
In today’s workplaces, things happen fast. From client communications to project deadlines, it’s common for tasks to be ‘set aside for later’ and then missed altogether. Automating things like project review reminders is a great way to ensure you stay on top of your priorities before a deadline passes. A program like Microsoft Teams is a great place to start.
Create a Review & Approvals group, and add an application like Yammer to the toolbar to create a community where everyone can collaborate in one place, automating reminders, create a content review checklist and provide feedback with instant notifications. While many will still prefer to flag or folder items in their inbox, they are more likely to be missed or ‘buried’ when things get busier at work.
2. Define Roles and Assign Responsibilities
Having a set process for reviews and approvals is critical, but knowing who is involved is the first step. Depending on the scale of a project, the review process could include people across different departments, adding more and more room for complexity, if not mapped out correctly. When building out a small business workflow for reviews and approvals, assign a single team member to be in charge of the overall process. This individual doesn’t necessarily need to review projects, but they can oversee items for review and ensure they are moving through the process, as per the set deadline. From there, determine who else is involved and their role in the process.
For example, ‘Employee A’ must review all technical drawings in-depth, making modifications where necessary. The drawings then move to ‘Employee B’, who is not required to make modifications, but must look things over before it’s sent back to the original creator for launch. Each employee should be well aware of their role and what specific content within a project needs review for the purpose of efficiency. Creating several review and approval workflows for different project types and sharing them within the organization will ensure tasks are correctly routed from the get-go.
3. Set Deadlines (and Stick to Them)
Deadlines can create pressure, but without them, the project process will lack structure. Employees are more likely to procrastinate without solid timelines as well. As the project lead, be sure to provide those involved in the review process with their own deadlines to get you the required feedback and approvals in time to meet your own overall deadlines.
Always remember to start early and set strict but realistic targets for all involved, yourself included.
The Bottom Line: Create a Simple and Organized Review Process
After putting hours of work, emails and calls into a project, the last thing you want is a complicated or non-existent approval process to lead to a missed deadline. Organizations should regularly evaluate their review and approval processes and ensure that they incorporate aspects of new technology and automation. We’re confident that streamlining your review and approval process will lead to less chaos and stress, more finished projects, and less confused employees. And great content, of course.