Workflow Logic - Four Reasons to Implement Workflow
Workflow is becoming a ubiquitous term in businesses, almost to the point of absurdity. We use it to describe any process, simple to complex, and assume everyone is on the same page. Sometimes this is true, other times, we can lose some of our peers in the complexity. Our goal is to make workflow something concrete, something understandable and usable within your day to day life. At Collavate, we use published workflows, dedicated ‘templates’ for data, projects, and document creation, transmission, review, and approval. This helps us keep everything organized and ensure nothing slips through the cracks.
We do this because our team is multinational; we work together from all across the globe with different time zones and work cultures. Without having a strong structure, our team would fall apart. Our workflow is integrated with our product, Collavate. This may seem like an odd structure, but we believe Collavate is integral to our success for a few key reasons.
Let’s talk about the benefits of using well-defined workflows for your processes, first, then we can dive into how Collavate can help maintain and elevate these processes.
Using a process map to define the connection between employees, teams, and management makes working together significantly easier. Creating these connections on paper makes it easier for teams to understand who to go to for information and where to find the answers to get our work done. Putting your processes and workflow expectations out in the open also ensures everyone is involved. Maybe your developer needs - or wants - to be part of the design discussions, but is normally left out. Creating a process where they are kept in the loop, or contacted for feedback is critical, not only to the success of the product, but to keep the developer in this situation satisfied with his position and communication ability with teams who make decisions directly impacting his work.
The next point is closely related with employee involvement, but more specific. Designing proper workflows increases the likelihood of communication channels staying open. In our case, communicating can be difficult across the world. We use set pathways for all communication, ensuring everyone involved in a project has access to comment and give feedback freely. Putting a structure on communication also takes away a potential moment of anxiety where an employee will be stuck thinking “Where do I go,” or “What do I do?” There are clearly established references to show who needs to be contacted under a certain set of circumstances. These charts and process maps can get very large and unruly quite quickly, though. If you have a large team, think about creating smaller maps for more nuclear teams, then listing a single contact point for other teams for collaboration in larger environments.
Structure is something that is talked about at high level board meetings, when talking about building things, or when something goes wrong. Integrating systemic revisions and implementing the proper structure is crucial to the success of your business. Without rails, a train would never move, and similarly, without a solid base of understanding and expectation, a company will quickly derail. Using workflow to create structure and cultivate a collaborative environment is one way to mitigate the stress of keeping everything chugging forward.
As we talked about previously, as a company scales up, processes and structures become increasingly complex. Workflows and defined communication channels become exponentially more important as the companies grow. With a large enough team, rifts can open up with communication. Design does not connect frequently enough with development, and things are not properly implemented. Or maybe the product managers do not work closely enough with a team they oversee, and lose sight of the end goal of their product. Keeping track of workflows and review structures will keep these goals and teams properly aligned.
All of the previous points have led us here, to accountability. Even with a dedicated structure, mistakes, bugs, or issues are bound to come up. Workflows help maintain a direct line of accountability to the decision makers who approve these things, and this is where Collavate begins to shine. Here at Collavate, we keep tabs on who approves your documents, who made changes when, and allow references to each individual version of a file created within GSuite or our system. We record each step in the document creation process, from the initial creation or upload, through draft versions and increased fidelity, on to the final published or public versions. A high level of detail maintains accountability from end to end and helps foster the basis of strong community and communication with documents.
Collavate helps with all of these workflow tasks, and more. GSuite integration allows you to maintain existing documents and begin to implement a dedicated workflow with them. Our framework helps to connect your employees and peers through a familiar social posting feed, showing you recently created, approved, or rejected documents. You can also create dedicated groups to create, collaborate, and communicate in, without the posts being public to the whole company. By utilizing our template features and reporting, you can add simple oversight by management without sending detailed documents, and giving a high level view for understanding.
Let us know if you have any other questions about workflow, how to implement it, and how Collavate can help!