• Workflow Management

The 10 Biggest Mistakes in Workflow Management

Most business owners understand that workflow management is important, but they still make big mistakes that compromise their results. If you can anticipate and understand these mistakes, then take measures to prevent them, you can dramatically improve the productivity, efficiency, and even morale of your organization.

What Is Workflow?

Let’s start with the basics: what is workflow, exactly? Workflow refers to the processes and procedures followed by your employees. When properly documented, a workflow serves as a set of instructions – a roadmap your team members can read to follow steps of a process in order, and eventually carry out tasks for completion.

Workflow exists in your organization whether it’s formally documented or not. But taking proactive control of your workflows and plotting them top-down is vital if you want to achieve higher efficiency and reliability.

The Biggest Mistakes to Avoid in Workflow Management

These are some of the biggest mistakes business owners make with workflow management:

  1. Not documenting your workflows.

    First, you need to document your workflows formally. There should be a shared, centralized database where all your employees can readily access information pertaining to workflows. Otherwise, if your workflow only exists in your employees’ minds, they’ll be subject to variation and deterioration over time. Documentation can be annoying and take a lot of time – but it’s well worth the investment.

Workflow Management
  1. Using the wrong tools.

    There are many different workflow management tools to choose from, many of which offer the same rudimentary basics. However, if you want to see the best results for your organization, you’ll need to be discerning here. Good workflow management tools will provide your managers with convenient, accessible, intuitive features they can use to build workflows from the ground up, share them with employees, and introduce automation to your live work environment.

  1. Neglecting the power of automation.

    It’s hard to underestimate the impact of effective automation on workflow management. Automating some processes in your workflow will save time, since you’ll no longer have to do the task manually. By extension, this can save your organization money. Automation also reduces the possibilities of human error; if it’s a task carried out by an automatic algorithm, it’s not going to be forgotten or glossed over.

  2. Using poor communication.

    It’s important to preserve effective communication at all stages and levels of your workflow management. You should be talking to employees almost constantly, learning about their perspectives and informing them of your goals. The better this two-way dialogue is, the better you’ll be at designing effective workflows.

  3. Providing too little detail.

    If you don’t give your employees enough information on each node in your workflow chain, they won’t be able to carry out their tasks effectively. Make sure to provide them ample detail.

  4. Adding too much detail.

    That said, it’s also possible to go overboard. If you’re too exhaustive when documenting workflow steps, it could be overwhelming for your employees – and end up confusing the process. Don’t be intentionally vague; just be as concise and focused as possible.

  5. Ignoring context.

    Some of your workflow steps are going to be context-dependent. Don’t leave too much room for ambiguity, and clarify contextual differences when appropriate.

  6. Allowing outdated process maps to persist.

    Over time, all process maps tend to decay. You’ll get access to new technologies, have new goals to follow, and discover new shortcuts that could be incorporated into your business. Be sure to audit and review your old workflow process maps on a routine basis so you can reevaluate them and change them if necessary.

  7. Suffering from spaghettification.

    In the world of software development, poorly managed projects can often lead to “spaghetti code,” a pejorative term for backend code that’s unnecessarily complicated; a spaghetti-like mess of knots and twists. If your workflows are too complicated, they too can suffer from this kind of “spaghettification.” Keep your workflows tight and wrangled if you want to prevent them from getting too complex to manage.

  8. Failing to educate or train your employees.

    Finally, take the extra steps to train and educate your employees on how to follow and use workflows properly. You might have a perfectly polished workflow in place – but if your employees don’t understand how to use it correctly, it’s not going to do you much good. Get the entire team on board before assuming that your workflow is going to work as intended.

With better tools, consistent documentation, better communication, and an attitude that allows you to continuously improve, you’ll see much better results in your workflow management strategy.

This is necessarily an iterative improvement, so take your time, study your workflow data, and keep adapting if you want to keep seeing better results.

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2021-08-20T14:40:40+00:00Comments Off on The 10 Biggest Mistakes in Workflow Management

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