If you are a beginner, learning how to create a workflow from start to finish can seem complicated. This should not be the case if you know the steps one ought to take. Granted, you need time to plan, create necessary processes and testing, yet it is not a daunting task once you know how to start.
Whether you are building a workflow for one project, or for a business process, you will find the following 9 steps on how to create a workflow useful:
Step #1: Name your Workflow
The first step on how to create a workflow is deciding on its name. Your workflow needs an identity. A name should point to the expected outcome. Choose a name that is easy to understand and one that describes the aim of the process or the anticipated results of the project.
When naming, avoid uncommon abbreviations and technical jargon. You should aim at a simple name, which captures the goal of the process and still remains user-friendly.
Step #2: Identify the Start and End Points
All workflow processes have one start and one end event or point. You need to identify activities or tasks that will launch the process, the one action that will trigger the beginning of the entire process.
These are workflow elements that show where the process should start. Creating process instances is determined by the different types of start events. The end events, on the other hand, are meant to define where the process is supposed to end. The different types of end events will determine the result at the end of the process
Step #3: Identify what the Process Needs
You need to know what tasks or materials are necessary for the completion of the process. A successful process is created with the reason in mind. Keep your focus on what you seek to accomplish.
Remember it should add value to the final product. The process must be within the defined standards while allowing for an adequate number of interactions with customers. Redundant and unnecessary customer interactions should be eliminated. Processes should not act as bottlenecks but, instead, enhance customer experience.
Step #4: List Tasks and Activities
You should list activities to be carried out to help you accomplish the desired outcome. State this in an objective manner. You can place each task in its own box in the flow chart or group minor ones together.
Step #5: Identify the Order of Tasks
The next step is to decide the order of the flow of tasks. At this point, arrange tasks in terms of their compatibility. If there are tasks that should precede others in execution to facilitate smooth operation, accord them priority in your listing.
Again, identify those tasks that can be carried out at the same time. Place single tasks on their own boxes in the flow chart and place tasks that can be accomplished at the same time together to ease to operation.
Step #6: Identify Roles
The next step is to identify the people to be involved in the tasks and/or activities. Some tasks need automation tools without any human approval. Others may require a review and sign off. Provide a workable solution for each task. You have to identify who should carry out what task and process, whether human or automated.
Step #7: Choose a Flowchart Type
As you choose the type of flowchart to use, you may need to consider swimlane diagrams. They are highly recommended for processes. However, if you are developing a workflow for a project, a simple flowchart will work for you. A chart can be drawn by hand or by the help of a special tool.
Step #8: Review and Finalize
The next step is to review and then finalize your work. Test the workflow to ensure the processes meet your expectations. Establish whether your goal of the workflow is being achieved. It is at this step that you smoothen any rough edges and fill visible gaps.
Step #9: Create Your Actual Workflow
Now that you have finalized creating the workflow process, it is time to use automation software to set up the actual thing. Integrate your workflow with the other software and mobile forms apps in the workplace. Test the systems to be sure every possible hiccup is eliminated and that your process is flawless. If you choose a swimlane diagram, take due care to ensure they accurately capture all the roles and responsibilities.
If you are not able to do it by yourself, seek further guidance. Keep your workflow simple and you will not need complex flow charts. The more complicated the process, the more complex is the chart you will need.
Once you get the hang of it, the process isn’t as complicated as it may seem. The challenge is usually on the conception and planning stage. Your success at that point depends on how consultative you are with key team members. If you take enough time at the preliminary stage, consulting and brainstorming, the rest of the steps are easier and faster. Besides, you will need the other players for successful implementation.