The simplest definition of workflow states it as the series of activities necessary to complete a task. In a business environment, managing workflow is very important to ensure a business success through ensuring quality standards and “the right way to do things”.
In order to simplify the whole process, here are a few workflow tips to make workflow management as simple as possible:
1. Empower your employees
One of the first steps for making sure your workflow is going to flow properly is knowing how to delegate tasks – delegating authority as well as the responsibility. Doing so will give your employees the level of freedom they need when working on their projects. By properly giving tasks away, the boss’ workload will decrease, since he’ll no longer need to be personally responsible for all tasks.
The smooth way work flows through a well managed workflow system will ensure no single person will be responsible for too much, diminishing the occurrence of bottlenecks and tasks piling up in backlogs.
2. Clean up your clutter
Organising, cleaning and labelling your workplace is the first step for doing the same with your processes.
Working in a messy work environment makes important things harder to find (especially when you need them). It can lead to missed deadlines as work can get lost and go unseen within the clutter.
It has to become an habitt:
- getting rid of everything that’s not needed
- labelling what’s left
- cleaning everything
To make sure everyone will stick to it, create new rules such as a clean-desk policy.
Make sure you (as an employee and as a boss) and your employees take a specific period of your days to brainstorm your thoughts on complex problems and ideas to improve your business processes.
Thinking and discussing as a group, especially listening to people directly involved with each process, can be crucial to identify problems and ways to fixing them.
4. Only take responsibility for what you can handle
Learn to say no if you don’t think you’re able to handle a specific task: only say yes when you feel that the task is manageable, when it’s within your capabilities and possibilities to do it.
Don’t just take a task for yourself just because you owe a colleague a favor, consider things through.
If you’re having trouble saying no, try making this mental exercise:
Think of all of the things you could be saying yes to when you say no to a task you can’t handle.
5. Finish off what you started
For a workflow to be effective, people need to take responsibility for their tasks and make sure they’re done within the deadline.
Letting tasks build up because you got sidetracked with other – most important – tasks, that can be seen as a bigger priority as what you’re working on can end up creating an even bigger problem.
Limit your work in progress and follow the tip right above: learn to say no.
6. Automate your workflows
Using a workflow management system, such as Pipefy, to simplify and automate the tasks that can in fact be simplified and automated can boost your productivity in ways you’ve never imagined. Investing in a system that allows you to manage your workflows properly and intelligently is crucial to success.
7. Collaborate in the cloud
Handling your processes, tasks and documents gives people a lot more opportunities to collaborate with their colleagues, eliminating most of the waiting time commonly associated with traditional document workflows.
Another way Pipefy can help you with managing your workflows: it’s cloud based, so everyone can access their workflows and see their tasks anywhere, anytime, not being limited to working hours.
8. Measure productivity
Make sure you have ways of measuring your workflow’s productivity: adopt a specific set of metrics and stick to them in order to track what’s doing well, what needs to be improved, etc.