SOPs

How to Use Workflow Analysis to Create a Better Workflow Design

Looking for the best method for designing workflows? Visually map out your processes for faster, easier process documentation.

Introduction

In any organization, you want to work hard... and smart.

That means onboarding more efficient processes in your infrastructure. Of course, there should be doubts about abandoning what’s worked for a long time.

However, holding onto these outdated methods might lead to redundancies and improper utilization of resources.

According to Acumen research and consulting, the global Workflow Automation Market size is growing at a CAGR 23.4 percent market value to reach 78.81 billion dollars by 2030.

To keep up with this growth, businesses must work on designing workflows using workflow analysis.

That sounds quite simple, but first, you must learn the basics.

So what exactly is workflow design anyway?

The word “workflow design” is quite self-explanatory. It is defined as the method of mapping out all sequential tasks and processes in a visual format.

You can describe it as a flowchart as well since it shows a step-by-step progression.

When introducing workflow automation in an organization, many challenges can pop up.

The process must be tested continuously to identify any errors. Often, after implementing workflow designs, there are modifications needed. 

Regardless, it can be hard to deny the advantages of having a workflow design.

What are the benefits of designing workflows?

The main outcome of having a workflow is completing tasks efficiently. The more automation, the easier processes tend to become.

That’s not all, there are many more benefits that come along.

  • Minimizes errors & redundancies: In an ideal scenario, there would be zero errors when carrying out a task. However, that’s near impossible. With a workflow in place, pinpointing which steps cause issues is straightforward.
  • Boosts productivity:  A report by Smartsheet shows that more than 40 percent of employees spend a quarter of their work week on manual, repetitive tasks. Introducing such a system not only cuts time, it automatically delegates tasks to employees. This enables them to complete their work on time.
  • Encourages transparency & communication: Having an automated workflow means you know who’s in charge of what. The responsibilities are clearly defined, and if any confusion arises, employees know who to ask.

Even managers can sit back and focus on other tasks rather than micromanaging employees.

  • Acts as a tool to measure performance: It’s challenging to collect data manually, especially when an organization has various departments. The data might not be accurate, or it doesn’t represent the bigger picture. In that case, workflows provide an easier way to manage the data so that you can later refer to it during evaluations.
  • Improves customer experience: With more time on hand, employees can provide better responses to customers. Other than that, a streamlined communication workflow can further engage customers and encourage brand loyalty.

It’s hard not to stress the importance of having workflow documentation tools. How else would you create an ideal work environment in your organization?

It can be easily arranged, given you avoid a few obstacles on the way.

Challenges to keep in mind when implementing workflows

Expecting the introduction of a workflow to go smoothly is normal. No one wants to set themselves up for failure. In that case, some factors can hinder an easy transition.

  • Internal resistance within the organization: Many manual processes have been around since the inception of any organization. So, there can be some unwillingness to accept the new way of work from employees and management alike.

In that case, be transparent about the new processes and take time to train your team. Go through how the designed workflow might benefit them, so they can get their work done faster.

  • Issues with data privacy/security: Because a workflow is inherently transparent, it’s possible that data is easily accessible. However, it should only be on a need-to-know basis.

Protecting physical documents within locked cabinets means only those who have the key are privy to that information. Similarly, selected personnel should be able to access certain steps or data.

  • Incompatible workflow tools: Having a workflow isn’t enough. Often, organizations pick the wrong software for their use. That backpedals any progress made with automation.

Before setting up any tool, think about your usual business processes. How should a workflow be implemented? What tasks can it help automate? Put yourself in the user’s shoes and make your choice.

  • Inadequate feedback is taken into account: Documenting workflows means putting your process under scrutiny. Otherwise, you’re unable to pinpoint what might go wrong. In any case, don’t only rely on feedback from top management or your team. Bring in new members to test it out.  

In many ways, generating a visual workflow document means moving toward an upgrade. Gone are the traditional, archaic ways of doing work. We can adopt newer methods that would only bring a larger ROI. So how do you create the perfect outline for your workflow?

How to design & scale workflows: 3 Easy steps

For any successful workflow design, there are three main components to consider. They are:

  • Input.
  • Transformation.
  • Output.

The first and last components are self-explanatory.

Input refers to the starting point, and output is the endpoint or outcome. Transformation is the in-between, so it refers to all the steps in a workflow leading to completion.

Having these three components doesn’t guarantee your design is a winner. You have much more to factor in.

Step #1: Outline a clear diagram

There can be many tasks that need automation. But you’ll have to start somewhere. For any process at hand, pinpoint the sequence that should be followed. Create a diagram after choosing a guide from the workflow models

Make sure to highlight whether the steps are dependent or independent of each other. Some steps can even occur simultaneously.

Step #2: Take inputs & outputs into account

Once you’ve sketched out your model, identify what would initiate the process.

The trigger should start off with the following steps as well. For each step, explain the instructions in explicit detail, along with task owners and their responsibilities.

Using Scribe, you can do just that. Scribe is a smart process documentation tool that writes your SOPs for you — turning your workflow into visual, step-by-step guides. Like this one:

And with Scribe Pages, you can combine Scribes with videos, images and more. Here's a Page on how to onboard your customer on Sales Navigator Sales Navigator.

In some cases, there can be sub-steps that can break down larger tasks for your benefit.

It makes it easier to carry out complex processes.

Once the steps are complete, the process should be marked as done. Ideally, once the workflow is complete, the outcome should be the one you wanted. There are various workflow examples you can have a look at to see which fits your organization best.

Step #3: Include a feedback loop

You can’t expect your workflow design to be perfect first. After implementation, you must look into how to incorporate a fail-safe into your process.

You can either do two tasks concurrently or repeat a task to check if it’s been done correctly.

Even after getting an outcome, ask for feedback to eliminate redundant manual tasks.

The extra set of eyes will help identify any upcoming obstacles, especially once the workflow operates at a larger scale.

After routine checks, your design can be applied to any process that falls under its umbrella. Keep testing, asking, and reviewing!

However, slowly expand this model into different areas of your organization.

It’s important to factor in your resources and costs as well. Otherwise, you won’t be able to run your workflow any longer.

With Scribe you can start designing workflows that you need

You might come across many ways to get your workflow design started. But none of them will cut down your time like Scribe does.

Scribe automatically generates a step-by-step guide for any workflow, be it for onboarding or any other task. Complete with texts and screenshots, it provides you with an all-in-one solution.

You probably won’t even have to test out other tools. We know Scribe is the one for you!