A workflow is any procedure that consists of several steps and is intended to be repeated. For example, workflows can be used to prepare rice, write blog posts, and order goods.
However, not every workflow is compelling, which is where workflow management comes in. Similar to how most corporate workflows can only function with the direction of an experienced workflow manager to direct enterprise content management for entire operations.
The steps and components that make up a workflow can vary significantly because practically every multi-step process can be viewed as a workflow. Workflows can range in complexity from simple tasks like brushing teeth to more complex ones like an entire warehouse fulfillment operation. But regardless of the type of procedure, all workflows contain at least six essential components.
Type of Workflows:
In addition to the six essential components that are universal throughout workflows, three different types can be applied to all workflows:
- Sequential processes: A sequential workflow, or a series of tasks that must be carried out one after the other in order, is the kind of workflow that most people are familiar with.
- State machine processes: These are state machine workflows, or sequences of actions, similar to agile or Scrum workflows, and they must be completed, though not always in the same order. Although groupings of activities can frequently be completed in certain stages of state machine workflows, the sequence of the actions within those phases is often irrelevant.
- Processes governed by rules: The rules-driven workflow is the most complicated. The sequence in which these operations are finished can take one of several possible orders and depend on a set of rules. Managers can automate workflow rules into “if this, then that” triggers that apply the workflow correctly every time by using an automation tool.
Workflow Management: What is it?
Workflow management is the process of planning, establishing, carrying out, and keeping an eye on workflows. Naturally, not every workflow will have a designated workflow manager, particularly home or dental care. But workflow management is crucial in a work environment.
The workflow is created by a workflow manager, who also sets up the stakeholders to follow it. The term “workflow manager” is often used to describe the person in charge of a particular process. For instance, if you oversee the workflow for payroll processing at your organization, you are a workflow manager. Your actual job title relates to your position in human resources.
Setting up the workflow is just the beginning; the manager must also:
- Determining and modifying the workflow steps
- Identifying and fixing faulty workflows
- Adapting processes to new circumstances
- Establishing and enforcing rules for workflow documentation
- Keeping everyone in the loop and upholding a consistent workflow communications system
- Limiting access to workflows that aren’t appropriate for open sharing
- Creating and putting together workflow reports for more extensive business process management (BPM) activities
Workflow Management Software:
It should be clear why there isn’t “workflow management software” once you realize that workflows are the separate procedures that comprise a project. Project management software already exists.
Workflow management software includes any program that enables users to control an ongoing procedure. However, depending on your workflow type, platforms created for your project may offer more helpful workflow management features. For example, salespeople frequently manage workflows in Pipedrive or Salesforce.
The capacity to automate workflows, which contain many actions that can be automated, is one of the main advantages of using a platform to manage your processes. Many project management applications can be configured to handle various activities on their own, including:
- Monitoring metrics
- Observing for mistakes
- Notifying specific individuals when requirements are fulfilled or processes are finished.
- Keeping and arranging documents
- Creating routine reports
Your automation can go beyond the capabilities of your project management platform’s native automation tools if you use workflow automation software that works across different platforms. For instance, a project management platform may allow your project manager to configure automatic in-app or email notifications.
Workflow Management Best Practices:
1) Keep track of everything
Finding a problem and investigating its causes, only to discover that no notes, logs, or papers are maintained for that workflow, makes the investigation frustratingly fruitless. Ample documentation also aids in avoiding mistakes that are made again.
2) Try to anticipate breakdowns and bottlenecks
Workflow managers must be able to see patterns and spot potential problems before they materialize. Automation of the workflow can also be used here. For example, your workflow management system may gather metrics and produce reports that will help you more easily spot unexpected changes or worrisome downward trends and alert you when something is wrong.
3) Regularly gather feedback and audit
Remember to obtain input from your teams and stakeholders on the human level. If you aren’t in regular contact with your stakeholders, you might not realize that what appears to be an excellent concept on paper will be a complete nightmare to implement before it’s too late.
4) Cut down on time spent on routine tasks
Even the most organized, color-coded managers occasionally struggle to keep up with everything in the exceedingly detail-oriented profession of workflow management. Automate as many small activities as possible, and utilize technology to create safety nets to catch information you might miss. You will save time by setting up failsafe and automatic documentation records and feel more secure, knowing that if you miss something, your workflow management system will catch it.