Are you tired of struggling with various tasks and multiple processes? Want an easier way to complete a process or get a project done? It may be time to invest in a workflow automation solution and learn how to create a workflow. Workflows can be described as roadmaps that define, execute, and automate business processes and help them run smoothly and on schedule. Such processes involve passing tasks, like information and document handling, from one person to another, while following a set of procedural rules.
Workflow diagrams and charts make visualizing your processes just a little easier. So, as you work to get a process done, consider a workflow as your roadmap to do so effectively. With that said, let’s take a look at how to create a workflow and why this is such a beneficial part of completing your business processes.
How to Create a Workflow:
1. Start At The End
The first step in how to create a workflow is to NOT start at the beginning. You heard right! DO NOT start at the beginning. Instead, think first about the end. When you start, having the end in mind allows your team to focus on the end goal and purpose of a workflow. When you know how you hope your process will end, you can better create a workflow that matches that intention. So, in hindsight, you’ll be working backward.
As you work your way backward, you’ll figure out the right path to get to where you need to go. Once the right path is noticeable to both you and everyone else on your team, you’ll eventually determine a suitable workflow. To do this, ask yourself the following questions:
- Which are the systems required to reach the endpoint?
- What processes and activities need to be performed in each stage?
- What kind of workflows are necessary?
- Are there any best practices needed to reach your goal?
- Who and or which team will lead the entire process, as everyone follows the established workflow roadmap?
If desired, you can create a checklist on what’s needed and what priorities come first. Your checklist should also note who will be partnering or grouping with (if applicable), to ensure that every single task is assigned to the right user and finally completed.
2. Define a Workflow
When it comes to how to create a workflow, you’ll need a purpose. To begin with, your workflow purpose tells people in the team why the process or project matters to them.
For example, the purpose is to launch the best product for your clients, right? Additionally, it lets your team know what role they play in the workflow. A workflow doesn’t work unless every member understands their part. Here are three steps for defining a purpose, as you create a workflow:
Workflow diagram. First, create a workflow diagram that realistically shows the proposed workflow. The workflow diagram should depict all the tasks each team member will perform to complete the process (i.e. roles and responsibilities). Plus, the roles and responsibilities must be defined in a way that everyone on the team is aware of them. Remember: All roles and responsibilities must be realistic and doable or else you won’t be able to move on to the second step. Not sure how to create a workflow diagram? No problem — Comidor has you covered with our BPMN 2.0 Comidor Workflow Designer!
Team consensus. Have each member of the team agree to the proposed workflow.
- If not everyone on the team agrees to the proposed workflow, then go back to the first step and revise it.
- If everyone agrees to the proposed workflow, have them sign off on it, and then adopt the plan.
Tool functionality. Finally, match the accepted workflow process to a tool functionality, so that the tool selection depends on the defined workflow. Matching processes to tools allow people to make the right choice on which tools to use for each task. In other words, the selection of tools won’t drive the process, unless team members discuss what tools they’ll need in advance.
Selecting the Best Tool for Workflow Automation
Workflow automation tools enable organizations to implement automation to create an effective flow of information among teams that are responsible for any business operation. Keep in mind that the best workflow automation solutions offer a graphical interface with drag-and-drop functionality in order to visualize your processes, a form designer to create digital forms with dynamic user fields, role-based access control, and a wide range of automation features and smart capabilities.
3. Test Your Workflow
After you’ve defined your workflow, it’s time to put it to the test. This is where you’ll see just how your workflow functions in your workplace. Errors and bottlenecks may occur despite your detailed planning, and it’s best to catch these from the start to improve your workflow.
You’ll want to ensure that there is ample testing time, so you may need to try out your workflow for a few weeks before you fully understand where improvements need to be made. From there, it’s back to the drawing board with your team to brainstorm solutions and implement new steps into your workflow.
Comidor’s Workflow Simulator allows businesses to test different scenarios and generate predictions and projections about process outcomes. With the Workflow simulator, users can also spot errors that would not otherwise be able to identify in the initial steps of workflow designing.
4. Optimise And Analyse a Workflow
Once you’ve tested your workflow and are content with how it works, you’ll need to optimize it by implementing workflow automation. Automation helps you streamline the internal workflows by canceling out any manual data entry and request handling. Moreover, it lets you track the status of workflow tasks (i.e. completed, pending, or in-progress).
In addition, automation software help teams stay on track. In fact, automation will let you and your team know of the following:
- When task status is prone to delay or there’s a deadline approaching, automated notifications are sent to the team member responsible for that task.
- When a task is completed, you and your team will be notified, too.
- The transition from one task to another is also made easy with automation.
Plus: Intelligent workflow automation and RPA offer advanced automation capabilities since these technologies automate complex tasks and projects. Find out the role of RPA in Project Management.
After optimization, it’s important to analyze your workflow to identify new trends and bottlenecks. Consider the following factors:
- The performance of your workflow
- The performance of the teams and team members involved
- Process redundancies and ways to eliminate them
Automation platforms, like Comidor, allow you to virtually map and track any organizational process through their workflow-designing functions. Process automation tools should be able to help you navigate and modify existing processes, or create new workflows using a feature that lets you drag and drop your options. In many cases, these tools also offer business applications like project management, case management, sales, and marketing automation.
Why Create Workflows?
You know how to create workflows, but what exactly are the benefits of having these in place? There are quite a few, including:
- Increased productivity.With repetitive tasks being streamlined, your team has more time in the day to focus on larger projects and focus on customer relationships.
- Visible accountability.Everyone has a designated role in a workflow. By creating a visual workflow diagram or chart, there will be increased transparency and accountability as projects move through the process.
- Improved collaboration.In addition to accountability, team collaboration can soar with workflow automation. Leave notes, send notifications, and see where projects sit in real-time for better collaboration within your team.
- Business process improvements.Last but certainly not least, your processes will see a tremendous improvement with workflows. You’ll be able to clearly see where bottlenecks occur and create automated solutions to keep your work moving through the pipeline.
Comidor Workflow Automation
Creating a workflow doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, four steps are all you need!
Remember: One of the best ways to start using more workflows is to be more conscious of the steps that you take each day. That means, whenever you’re going through a process, look at how everything is running. As you do so, keep in mind these questions:
- Is everything running smoothly?
- Who is responsible for what?
- Is there any friction in any areas of the process?
- What happens next?
As you keep in mind the above questions, you’ll soon develop an effective workflow that will not only help you get your project or process off the ground but will also help your team stay on course. Now, while some workflows won’t work for you, others will. All you have to do is A/B test your options and see which ones best fit your work. Remember: Each change to your business is an opportunity to create workflows, refine them, and make them better.
Ready to create your own workflows? Check out Comidor’s workflow automation technology to get started. The BPMN 2.0 Comidor Workflow Designer allows you to visualize your workflows in a whole new way. Create, test, and implement your new workflows in one convenient location.
The article has been co-written by Comidor and Kristin Herman. Kristin Herman is a writer at UK Writings. As a marketing writer, she writes articles and blog posts about the latest trends in digital advertising.