Tips for Creating an Effective Workflow Model
October 23rd, 2017 • workflow
Workflow modeling is getting easier all the time, but modeling isn’t just about being easy. An easy-to-make, but horribly inaccurate or inefficient model won’t help you at all and will result in delays, gaps, and loops in the process that you could have avoided with thought-out modeling.
Here are a few tips that you can use to create an effective workflow model that both works and looks great.
Brainstorm the Workflow Model
The advantage of brainstorming for creating a workflow model is in the perspective. An outsider to the process might be able to offer a helpful perspective or simplify what is unnecessarily complex. If you are involved in the process, your position as either approver or contributor will influence your outlook on the process. If someone has been involved in this process for years, he or she will bring a lot of historical perspective to how it was accomplished.
By getting many voices to design a workflow model, you also get an idea of how the entire workflow model is supposed to be created. Your colleagues can give insights into inefficiencies that you wouldn’t have spotted otherwise. They can suggest valid improvements.
If you bring in multiple perspectives, you can have a clear picture of the workflow model that you are going to build in the end.
Distinguish Between Sequential and Simultaneous Tasks
When you are coming up with an idea for a workflow model, your first instinct may be to think of every sequential task. However, a workflow model can be much more efficient if you try to think about two or more tasks that can be done at the same time, instead of waiting for one task to finish.
Take employee onboarding for instance. There is no reason why the facilities team needs to wait to issue access cards until the IT team has assigned an email address or vice versa. Both tasks can happen at the same time using the same set of information.
Keep Your User Interface Consistent
When building a workflow model, you want to consider the data that each step owner will see. With a tool like KiSSFLOW, you can customize the data fields that each person can see. Effective workflows usually have a lot of data, but you don’t want to bombard users with too much information. This means a lot of confusion, which leads to time and effort wasted in producing the workflow model.
A good UI is obvious when planning your workflow model. Only work with tools that make it clear and pleasant to find the right data and move the workflow along.
Clearly Define Roles
One common mistake when creating a workflow model is to be not clear about which tasks should be taken care of at what step. Some tasks get clubbed together and others get skipped over. As a workflow model creator, you will want to make sure that everyone involved is very clear as to what they need to do. Define the responsibilities and roles for each task, ensuring that each person understands their roles at each stage of the workflow.
This avoids back and forth communication that can slow down the whole process. Clearly mentioning which roles have which responsibilities can help you improve the efficiency of your workflow model.
Test Your Workflow Model
Even if you have brainstormed your workflow model properly and ensured that everything is perfect, the only way to know for sure is to run it through tests. Put the workflow model through as many tests as you can after development. This lets you know which areas of the workflow model are performing well and which areas are creating delays and hiccups.
This kind of testing lets you identify any problem areas and ensure that you are able to fix them, much like testing a piece of code for bugs. Once you have tested as much as you possibly can, you can go ahead and deploy the model to see if it works as intended.
Workflow Modeling Doesn’t Stop At the Launch
After you take your workflow live, revisit the model periodically to make sure it is still running optimally and identify any opportunities for improvement. Collect data about how the workflow model performs in the real world, and see if you can tweak any of its part to enhance efficiency. Later on, you can scale the workflow model for process upgrades rather than creating a new one.
When you use the right tool to create these workflow models, everything is much easier. Try KiSSFLOW today and experience what it is like to work with a workflow modeling tool designed for the modern world!