Mistakes

Five Steps to Better Workflow

While it sounds complicated, a workflow is simply a map of a process.

Workflow benefits include: (from https://tallyfy.com/why-workflow-is-important/)

  • More insight into the business process
  • Identifying redundancies
  • Increased accountability and reduced micromanagement
  • Improved communication
  • Better customer service
  • Improved quality of your products or services

The Problem

While the process of crafting an efficient workflow is not without its own set of potential problems (bringing the wrong stakeholders into the design process, creating endless approval loops, unrealistic task timelines, etc.), the execution of the workflow is vulnerable to problems such as an unexpected absence of key player that brings everything to a screeching halt. Effective workflows require efficient design as well as rules, deadlines, and management of changes that may happen while completing the tasks within the workflow.

The Stats

The result of problems encountered in workflow design and execution are numerous and costly.

From The Economist Intelligence Unit:

  • Poor Communication Between Employees, Teams & Departments – 44% said poor communication affects the project.
  • Unnecessary/Unproductive Meetings – 23% said they feel the most stressed with too many unproductive meetings.
  • How Stress Affects Workflow Efficiency? – 52% said stress is the consequence of poor communication.

From The Holmes Report:

$37 billion: total estimated cost of employee misunderstanding (including actions or errors of omission by employees who misunderstood or were misinformed about company policies, business processes, job function or a combination of the three) in 100,000-employee companies, among 400 surveyed corporations in the U.S. and U.K. (average cost per company is $62.4 million per year).$26,041: cumulative cost per worker per year due to productivity losses resulting from communications barriers.

The Solution

Here are five steps to create a workflow that provides agility and room to adapt:

  1. Map the tasks. It’s important during this step to merely document ‘what’ is done, not ‘how’ to do it.
    • Create a bullet list to determine the starting and ending point for the workflow, then fill in the various tasks to get from start to end. This process helps to gain clarity of each step, identify any gaps, highlight any dependencies, and identify opportunities for improvements.
  2. Next, document the ‘how’ – that is, the instructions related to each task.
  3. Be aware of sub-workflows: excessive use can lead to loss of logic in the overall workflow, while efficient use can lead to efficiencies when minor changes to processes are needed.
  4. Check to ensure process loops are logical and do not create bottlenecks in the process.
  5. Test the workflow, make any necessary adjustments, and test again.

How Can We Help?

If you or your team need help to take your department or company to the next level and find the best way to alleviate workflow inefficiencies, contact Theresa or visit our Contact Us page to schedule a “get to know” conversation. You’ll get clarity on the issues you face and next steps to consider – whether or not we decide to work together.

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