In a time of increasing remote office work, automated workflow systems can be a great tool for managers trying to coordinate large teams on a project. When set up properly, automated workflow systems allow employees to track their own progress on a job and communicate that progress to their colleagues instantly. Even for an entirely physical office space, these automatic progress reports can vastly cut down on time wasted on finding out the status of jobs. For project managers, they also cut down on the amount of time spent personally involved in an employee’s workflow. You can also distribute HR case management tools to help other departments automate their workflows as well. Here are 5 steps to build automated workflow systems that fit your team.
Decide On The Amount Of Customization Your Team Needs
There are many different types of automated workflow systems in use for managers to choose from. While many are designed to be used by people at all levels of technical literacy, some are more customizable than others. Some workflow software like even has limited, GUI-based programming to allow for higher levels of customization. However this increase in customization makes the software more expensive, and the increased complexity may not be worth the increased customization. Managers should carefully consider the choice between a built-to-use system and something that requires more work to set up.
Understand The Needs Of Your Team
As every business will need different tools to accomplish different goals, every team will have different requirements to use automation software effectively. For example, a software development team might streamline their development cycles with the use of a Gantt chart. However, other teams may require more serial workflow charts to let them know when other team members have finished tasks that their own jobs depend on. You might even use an org chart builder to manage your employees more efficiently. Different automated workflow systems and even distinct configurations of the same systems will better suit unique types of teams. Business managers should understand that each team will have different requirements to use automation software.
Identify A Repetitive Process
Automated workflow systems are best designed around simple, basic processes that are repeated frequently. In this way they are similar to an assembly line in a widget factory. Whatever system a business is using, no single process in a given automated workflow system should be a one time event. Additionally, like an assembly line, processes that are included should be processes that are simple and difficult to reduce to lower levels of complexity. Managers using automated workflow systems should design the systems to take care of common, repetitive tasks.
Decide Which Systems Should Be Automated
A good rule of thumb to remember about automation is that not every task should be automated. The systems that are not automated actually end up being important to the automated workflow system because they define the system’s boundaries. An example of a task that would be bad to automate would be something that is highly specific or requires precise input from management. Rolling such a task into an automated system would be wasteful since the amount of time spent automating the task would exceed any recouped productivity. You might also implement a popular time management system to boost productivity. By keeping the automated workflow system’s boundaries in mind, managers can avoid wasting their own time.
Reduce The Need For Management Involvement
The major advantage of automated workflow systems is that, when well-designed, they minimize the need for hands on management. Properly set up, an automated workflow system will handle the majority of situations that employees work on. Because of this, managers should evaluate areas that are covered by the automated system but still require regular intervention. If a process requires frequent managerial involvement, consider tweaking the system to include that process. An automated workflow is working best when it is almost entirely a hands-off process.
In a world that is increasingly using remote or dispersed offices to work, automated workflow systems can be important to any business manager’s success. While many of the systems in existence have many commonalities, they vary in key ways that should be carefully considered. In addition, the specific needs of the team being managed should also be considered when choosing or designing a system. The most common or basic tasks should be the first to be automated. Additionally, more esoteric or rare tasks should be left out of the automation process as the benefit to their automation is minimal. Finally, the key purpose of automated workflow systems, that they exist to minimize direct management involvement, should be kept in mind. Project managers should keep these 5 things in mind when designing automated workflow systems for their teams.