How to use a workflow checklist to improve your process flows

After you have created your workflows, do you have difficulty knowing if they are actually complete and optimized?

In fact, this is a more common doubt than you might realize.

That’s why we’ve created an easy-to-use workflow checklist. Just answer 8 questions to see if your process flows have been created properly.

Now that you’ve seen how to create a workflow, find out how to use a checklist to improve it.

How to use a workflow checklist to improve your process flows

1- Have you set an initial event?

It may seem obvious, but we can’t create a workflow checklist without including this step.

What starts the process? Has this been made clear?

For example:  if there is a customer request for assistance, it can be easy to say that this process begins with the customer’s contact with the company’s Help Desk.

But this can be an email, a phone call, a chat and even, depending on the customer service platform used, a Twitter post or a comment on another social network.

All this should be clear so that those involved in the process know when it has started and that they should move on to the tasks.

See more: What is a help desk? How do you improve this process?

2- Did you set a final event?

What really indicates that this activity flow is finished?

Let’s go back to the example of answering a customer’s call.

It may be that the process simply ends with the resolution of the customer’s question or problem. But how do you signify this?

Is a problem-solving e-mail sent to the customer with a copy to a supervisor? It can be.

But is this really the end of the process? In some companies, for example, a customer service quality survey is sent.

Thus, the process does not end with the solution of the problem, but with the sending of a survey (preferably online) so that the client can comment on the service. Hence, only with due receipt of their response will the process be terminated.

What if they don’t respond? There may be a way for the customer to say that they don’t want to respond, or a deadline from which the customer is considered not to have responded to the survey and the process is duly ended.

Make sure that the workflow you’ve designed provides all the possibilities to clearly characterize a final event.

Check out on our blog: 3-Step Customer Satisfaction Survey Form

3. Have you defined responsibilities?

Often, flowcharts and process diagrams are drawn in a way that don’t make it clear who is responsible for the activities.

In fact, this is much more common than you might think.

Think carefully:  how many times have you seen a flowchart with the flow of activities but without the information of who should take care of them?

To avoid this, BPMN notation uses pools and lanes, where this becomes clear.

Learn more about them here: Examples of BPMN diagrams using pools and lanes

Another way to define this is through the RACI matrix. Check out this blog post and get to know everything about it: Understand what the RACI matrix is and how to create this responsibility matrix

4. Is it clear who owns the process?

It is very important to know who is the person or group of people responsible for monitoring the process and reporting on its performance.

After all, the process is being created for them!

So getting help from the process owner when you are using this workflow checklist can be a great idea!

Know more: Software for business process control: the best way to perform BPM

5. Have all process inputs been defined?

Do not confuse the initial event with process entries.

For example: an activity in the middle of the process may require information that comes from another process.

In order for your workflow to flow smoothly, it is critical that all inputs be specified so that those responsible for them can execute them without problems.

6- Are deviations and decision-making clear?

Often during a process, depending on certain circumstances, the activity flow can be directed to one sequence of tasks or another.

Make sure these “gateways” are well defined and the conditions that determine which flow to follow are easy to understand, so that decision-making becomes easier.

Understand this better here: Gateways: exclusive, inclusive and many others!

7- Have opportunities for improvement been identified?

This is a key point in a workflow checklist. After all, the processes are designed to be performed optimally, that is: with efficiency, productivity and effectiveness.

Check that delays, bottlenecks, waste, difficulty in exchanging information or responsibilities have been detected and activities created to avoid them.

If this has not been done, it’s necessary to redesign the flow in search of opportunities for process improvement. 

8- Have performance indicators been determined?

The last item in our workflow checklist is more linked to process tracking than building a workflow.

But it’s important to always keep something in mind:  you can’t create a workflow without thinking about performance indicators of the process. They enable you to measure performance and see if the process is actually being optimized.

So by analyzing these results, you will truly know whether or not the process needs further improvement.

See more: Creating business process performance indicators

Workflow checklist template

To help you check your workflow, we’ve created a workflow checklist template.

Just read down the list and tick yes or no for each item based on whether it was done correctly or not.

Those not ticked as a YES will need to be arranged so that the workflow can be improved.

Check out the workflow checklist template:

workflow checklist table

Click here  to download the workflow template in Excel spreadsheet format.

Using a workflow checklist template is a good way to improve your processes.

But you can do it even more easily by using a software specially crafted for this.

Check out this video from the HEFLO Academy BPMN course:

BPMN Course - Creation of the first Process Diagram

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