Running a startup is a lot of work. You can’t afford to fall behind on your goals. Learn how to create a workflow that saves resources and boosts productivity.
Do you feel like you’re running around in circles at work, putting out fires but barely getting the tasks you wanted to achieve for the day completed? This may be manageable for the short-term, but for the long-term, this can drastically affect the health of your startup – not to mention your own health.
That’s where workflow design comes in. Read on to learn how to create a workflow that works for you, so you can get more accomplished in the day and move your startup forward!
What Is Workflow Design?
Workflow design is all about creating a visible representation of sequential tasks to take a goal from initiated to completed, either by one person or a group of people. By creating a workflow design, you can see how each task fits into the bigger picture of your day and how data flows from step to step.
Designing your workflow takes the real world into account so that no matter what hangups or issues arise, you can still utilize it to efficiently get your tasks completed.
Why Create a Workflow?
Workflows provide consistency for processes and projects. When there’s a clear workflow design in place, you and your team are able to deliver predictable results.
Not only that, but they’re able to indicate problem areas and bottlenecks. If you’re constantly missing deadlines, or finding multiple errors and missing pieces in your work, a documented process will help you look back and determine where things went wrong.
Lastly, when you have a documented workflow in place training new team members and working with other departments becomes easier. Documented processes are great for new members of your team because they’ll have more than just your verbal run-through to refer to if they get confused or hung up on an issue.
How to Create a Workflow Design
Although it takes some time in the beginning, investing in the creation of a workflow is worth it. You can also choose to work with these training experts to help establish and attain your business goals. Here are some actionable steps to get you started!
1. Decide the Projects and Processes
You want to have a good balance between documenting everything and not documenting enough. There are no set rules, so think about processes or projects that you or your team repeat often, what tasks you had issues with in the past or processes that have an important end product that’s visible to clients or stakeholders.
2. Determine the Scope
Creating a workflow allows you to look at the overall scope of a project and what tasks are involved in its completion. It’s easy to get caught up in the weeds, the progress of your workflow held back by redundant tasks.
Because people do things differently, you can talk to your team about the strategies they use to complete a project, then choose the most efficient strategies to document. This is a great way to keep your work processes adaptable and at their most efficient.
3. Document Each Step
Once you have the specific project in mind you want to document and its overall scope, it’s time to list each step involved in the process.
While you converse with the people involved in this project, you can work on ways to improve the workflow by asking yourself if each step helps to achieve the goal. Having your team members present is important because they may have ideas on ways to streamline, automate, or eliminate steps that add time or extra expenses.
4. Estimate the Length of Time for Your Steps
Once you have all the steps written out, go back to each one and determine the approximate amount of time it takes to complete it. This is less of a deadline and more of a way to help new team members know what to expect when they first begin on a project.
If it’s a project that’s new to your team, it’s alright to skip this step or do your best at estimating times.
5. Design the Visual
This wouldn’t be a workflow design without eye-catching, clear visuals through simple shapes and colors. If your startup already has design guidelines already in place, it’s important to stick to those to keep the visuals on-brand.
If not, there are some standards on what shapes to use in flowcharts:
- Arrows – Shows the sequence of steps and the relationships between them
- Ovals and Pills – Represents a start or endpoint
- Parallelogram – Represents input or output
- Rectangle – Represents a process
- Diamond – Represents a decision
Each shape represents a separate step in the process, with all of them connected by arrows. Depending on your project, your vision could end up with a straight line of steps or with many different routes and branches.
Colors add an extra level of detail to your workflow visual. For instance, each color could represent a different employee or the priority level of a task.
You can simply start by using pen and paper for a rough draft of your workflow, then purchase a specialized program for the final touches. You can also use programs like Word and Excel. It all depends on what you’re comfortable with and what your team is used to.
The Most Efficient Workflow
As you can see, it’s important to know how to create a workflow design in order to ensure the continued efficiency of your team! Projects that once frustrated you or felt like more of a chore than necessity are given new life when they’re clearly written down, as you can see things from a top-down perspective and hone in on what needs to be improved.
For more practical ways to increase your efficiency and your cash flow, keep browsing our site today!