Using BPM software for the first time? Start with 3 simple steps
While it’s exciting to know your company is investing in innovative software to improve your workflow processes, the thought of actually having to incorporate that new tool into your current system can make the arrival of the new product stressful. Knowing the capabilities of a system is one thing, but learning to seamlessly skate your way around those different features is another.
Step One: Have a tangible plan in place
Fortunately, business process management software isn’t as daunting as it might appear. If you first take the time to understand your workflow process, identify requirements and conceptualize a clear plan, the implementation process and daily utilization of the system will be simple and stress-free.
Even if you already know how you want a particular form to work, it’s still important to write down your plan so all the necessary components are considered and addressed before you start designing it in the system. If you are going to create an online form or workflow application for a colleague, the process owner, then part of this step encompasses working collaboratively with that individual to:
- Identify how the process should work
- Determine what is expected as the end result
- Review any workflow process data to assess errors and productivity
It’s also critical to meet with process users to:
- Hear their viewpoints and suggestions
- Hone in on the points in the process that typically cause a bottleneck
- Secure any job aids that users have previously relied upon to help them with manual processes
- Identify any common errors or complaints
Step Two: Identify how you want the forms to look, feel and behave
If a solid process is already in place using paper forms and templates, you can use those as a launching point. For example, if the users prefer forms in the portrait view vs. the landscape view, it’s important to implement that design feature. Most users prefer to scroll up and down on a screen vs. left to right, so be sure to consider how to maneuver the automated form. Check to see if the forms will ever need to be printed; if so, the dimensions should be set in sync with your company’s printer to ensure the online form is printed correctly. While adding colors to a form can help users differentiate its sections, it’s not recommended to use any more than three main colors, as well as various shades of those colors as needed. Where specific information is required, mandatory fields can be added to the form to ensure all critical information is collected. Ultimately, you want the forms to be user-friendly and easy to understand.
To learn more, we offer a detailed document on planning your form design.
Step Three: Via a description, identify how the particular process works
From the start point to the end result, you’ll need to know the whole process before you begin to create an efficient and effective form. Find out how each link in the process will be triggered. What is the desired outcome? Will the process owner want to always receive a confirmation email when the form goes out? Does data need to be shown at the end? Is there supposed to be a report generated? You must know what is expected to come out of the system before you can build the appropriate form for it. By identifying the different stages of the process, you’re able to readily address whether the form will be simple or complex prior to delving into creating it from scratch. There is no limit to how many different steps you can include in this description process; having too many stages is more effective than having too few.
To learn more, we have a detailed document outlining all the considerations in planning your workflow.
Your ability to readily embrace, understand and teach others a new workflow software system will make all the difference in the world when it comes to how the software is both perceived and received by all users.
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