Choosing the right workflow management tool
Great so you did the hard work of defining the business processes and mapping out workflow management as well as responsibilities. Now you can take the next step of hyper-charging this optimized process by employing a workflow management tool across your team or your organization.
(Check out our previous blog posts on the importance and components of defining business processes and an introduction into methods of business process mapping.)
There are many options available from simple task sharing apps to customized workflow management systems. Here is what you want to look out for when evaluating which one is the best fit for you.
How do you choose the right workflow management tool for you?
No matter how advanced a system you will end up using, the below are key functionalities you want to be looking for in your tool. Depending on the complexity of your organization and your process, some will be more important than others for you right now.
Key functionalities of any workflow management tool
1. Clearl role definition
Most tools will allow you to assign different roles. There is a spectrum from differentiated user access and edit rights to facilitating individual work queues and email notifications. No good or bad, it really depends on the size of your team and the complexity of the work flow.
When you’re working in a small team clear role definition might be less crucial as team members sit next to each other and can quickly communicate. It’s when you work across a large team across multiple offices that responsibilities can be more confusing.
2. Data storage
Workflow management systems enable you to house documentation in the tool and make it editable and accessible to the right stakeholders. This way you can avoid having various versions of the same document floating between laptops and email and can work off the most up to date document at any given time.
It sounds simple but this is very powerful when it comes to sharing information and keeping everyone up to date.
This doesn’t mean you can’t keep different versions of your documents locally on your hard drive, but you want a central source of truth for all documentation.
Some workflow management tools will enable automated communication that notifies team members of tasks fulfilled or tasks due. Rules can be set up of who gets notified when to make sure nobody gets left off any communication by mistake. In some tools, due deadlines and due dates can be assigned to specific tasks which goes along with reminders to the task owners.
With each step being captured in the tool and the tool holding up to date true documents, progress is transparent and can be shared with business leaders and team members alike. For example this can be used to show how the team has successfully accomplished 20 tasks in this month.
5. User interface
Any workflow management tool comes to full fruition when used by all stakeholders. The more intuitive the user interface is, the less time you need to spend on training and the easier user adoption will be. Getting future users involved in dashboard design can be useful if you’re designing your own interface.
Still unclear? See how we approach workflow management systems here at Business Performance Solutions in this video.