A workflow is a visual diagram of the set of activities your company needs to produce a desired result. Such a diagram illustrates a basic advancement of steps or a series of complex and interrelated events. It defines starting and ending points, the direction of movement, potential substitute steps, and more.
Although there are many theories about organizational methods and ways of streamlining procedures, when you’re overwhelmed and feel like there’s not enough time to complete your work, it may be difficult to implement those practices.
Workflows are a systematic approach that help you understand what steps can be eliminated and where efficiencies can be created. This allows you to reliably predict and measure outcomes. Project managers love workflows, because they must constantly plan and coordinate many moving pieces and parts and ensure that results are as expected.
Workflows delineate work responsibility to different people, so the chain of command is clear and employees know what’s expected of them. Workflows ensure transparency of the process, which improves performance and reproducibility. They provide an overview of the organization’s business activities and increase access to information, so that both staff and stakeholders can visually see the company’s operations. Because every critical process is reviewed at every point, managers can focus on operations, better define their strategy and priorities, and propose necessary changes to optimize outcomes. Because progress report records are kept every step of the way, it helps when audits are required.
Workflows make it easier to implement and monitor project timeline estimates, which reduces project risk. Eliminating the need to redo work reduces costs and disputes and decreases schedule delays. Workflows minimize guesswork and boost confidence in the organization’s work capacity. All of this ultimately saves time.
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