Avoid These 7 Workflow Management Mistakes

Good workflow management is one of the keys to successful business operation.

Busy employees in open office plan

Good workflow management helps people focus on core business practices.

Most businesses understand the theoretical importance of workflow management, but they may make mistakes when it’s time to put workflow management into practice. Most of these mistakes have to do with lack of planning, and all can be overcome. Here are seven workflow management mistakes to avoid if you want your business to operate at its most efficient.

1. Insufficient Planning

The best workflow software for most businesses is “no code” software that requires no programming. But just because no programming is required, it doesn’t mean you can dispense with planning. Workflows must be assessed and understood in their context, so that they can be optimized. Lack of planning can lead to workflows with bottlenecks, or workflows that don’t quite get the job done.

2. Not Breaking Down Overly Complex Workflows

You can’t always break down a complex process into a set of end-to-end steps. For example, the process of “payroll” usually includes a number of tasks happening simultaneously, and trying to string them all together end-to-end probably won’t work well. Sometimes very complex workflows need to be divided up into multiple workflows that can happen at the same time.

3. Not Enough Communication

It’s easy for a workflow user to assume that since they completed their part in the overall workflow, that everything else worked fine too. They may then be surprised to find out they must redo their part because of some unforeseen problem such as a power outage. Communication about major issues surrounding a workflow, such as certain personnel being on vacation, or a hardware update that will take the system offline, should be communicated to all workflow users.

4. Too Many Status Updates

On the other hand, there’s such a thing as “notification fatigue.” It’s great when workflows can issue alerts, so people know that their input is needed, but not everyone needs to be notified about every workflow step completed. When people receive too many updates, they start ignoring updates and make themselves prone to missing an important one. Workflow management means keeping the right people apprised of the right conditions at the right time.

Annoyed laptop man

Not everyone needs to know that Jennifer in Payroll finished uploading the timekeeping data.

5. Not Aligning Workflows with Business Goals

Creating a workflow for the sake of creating a workflow won’t do much to help you reach business goals. That’s why, before you ever fire up the workflow software, you examine business goals and the best ways to reach them. Maybe the goal is to cut the amount of overtime needed by 10%. How is the best way to do that? Perhaps one way is to create an automated packing and shipping workflow that will get products out the door faster.

6. Forgetting That People Are Still Necessary

Workflows may be automated, but that doesn’t mean that people aren’t necessary. A new automated workflow for business expense reimbursement maybe sleek and fast, but if people don’t know it exists, or don’t know how to initiate the process, it’s of little use. One helpful practice is periodically assessing automated workflows to make sure they meet current business needs. Business needs change, as do the technologies businesses use. Workflows should also be able to adapt.

7. Not Training Personnel on Automated Workflows

The whole idea of automated workflows is that they’re straightforward and easy to use. But people still need training. Setting aside time to train workflow users may “cost” you a little time up front, but after training, people will be ready to use workflows with skill, and understand what is happening at every step. Good business workflow management requires good workflow training.

The best way to ensure you avoid workflow management mistakes is to have outstanding workflow software, so it's easy to create and test workflows thoroughly before deployment. PerfectForms fits the bill. 

PerfectForms is no-code workflow software that is flexible, powerful, and scalable. You can easily create custom workflows and test them thoroughly before deploying, to ensure they do exactly what you want. And PerfectForms integrates with spreadsheets, web forms, databases, and other office systems like Salesforce. Watch the demo video and see for yourself! And if you have any questions, please contact us at any time

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