What types of workflow are there?

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Workflow is defined as the breakdown and execution of tasks in a business system, from start to finish, either automated or not. It is often used to map out the progress of a project or service from where it begins to where it ends in a way that is easy to follow and understand.

That all sounds pretty straightforward, but did you ever realize there’s more than one type of workflow? There are actually 3 main categories that workflows can fall under, so let’s take a look at the different types of workflow.


Workflow categories

First off on our tour through the different types of workflow comes the Sequential Workflow: this workflow is usually chart-based from one step to the next, always moving forward.

Each step depends on the completion of the activities on the previous step. You can think of this workflow as a connect-the-dots system: you have to follow the numbers correctly, one after the other, to complete the big picture.

Managing the sales processes of products and services is an example of a sequential workflow because the steps remain the same, with no activities going back and forth.

Next is State Machine Workflow, which progresses from state to state. This type of workflow is a little more complicated, and activities in these workflows often go back and forth between steps if necessary.

This type of workflow can be compared to puzzle-solving, because you’re constantly putting important pieces in place to complete a project. State machine workflows are frequently used when there are creative elements in the process, or products and services that require extra review or input from clients and management.

Last but not least on our tour through the types of workflow, there’s the Rules-driven Workflow, which is executed based on a sequential workflow with rules that dictate its progress.

This can be compared to following a blueprint to make a complete structure. Rules-driven workflows are very useful when working on a variety of projects with clear goals but varying levels of specifications.


Now that you know all about these different types of workflow, you’re well equipped to determine which one is right for your business and go with the flow that’s right for you!

Manage different types of workflow with Pipefy!

Pipefy is an intuitive, simple to use, workflow software. We allow businesses to run all their processes in a single platform, ensuring efficiency and solid execution.

Pipefy works as an online Kanban system where tasks move laterally through the multiple phases of your process. Each of your process’s phases can have its own set of work rules, triggers and if needed, a designated owner. Many aspects of these processes can be automated, which ensures you dedicate your time to the most meaningful tasks and avoids human error in tiring, repetitive functions.

Don’t lose any more time, try Pipefy!

Written by
Isabelle Wuilleumier Salemme
Head of Customer Support @Pipefy. She uses her extensive Pipefy knowledge to help users make the best of Pipefy via support and writing informative content pieces. Besides being in charge of support, she's an avid reader, a coffee lover, and a professional photographer.

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