Essential Steps to a Workflow Analysis

-Rachel Aubie

A workflow or process analysis is a great way to identify improvements in staff workflows and find efficiencies within specific tasks. Completing a workflow analysis can also help to improve understanding within staff teams and help management understand the value of their staffs’ daily work. Any organization can complete a process analysis, regardless of planned implementation or workflow change. Consider the following steps when planning your next analysis project.

1. Have your team think about what they do everyday

Get your staff to think about what they do for their jobs. Consider every step, in detail. It’s surprising the amount of nuance and intricacies you can uncover when you begin to consciously record every step of your team’s day-to-day work. A process analysis will allow you to capture the workflows, tasks and goals of each person’s role and understand how each step contributes to the overall goals and outcomes of your organization.

2. Understand the ‘Why’ for each task

It’s important to find the ‘business requirement’ of each task. A process analysis shouldn’t just review what staff do every day, but also why they do it. Once your staff can record each part of their regular work tasks, the purpose or business requirements can be identified. This understanding will help determine if the entire workflow process is efficient for achieving your business requirements or if there are any steps that can be improved to better suit what needs to be done.

It’s common to find overlap or multiple people doing different tasks for the same goal — this is where we can find efficiencies.

3. Find the Goals, Find the Gaps

Once your team understands what their tasks are and know what they are trying to accomplish, it becomes easier to understand where there are gaps. It’s also common to find overlap or multiple people doing different tasks for the same goal – this is where we can find efficiencies and re-assign work where it makes the most sense for workers and the business requirements. This step will also help answer questions like:

  • Are business requirements being missed because no one knows they are needed?
  • Are tasks being done incorrectly because staff don’t know how to do them properly?
  • Are there tasks that should be done, or done differently, but the team is lacking a critical resource?

Some minor or even major changes may be required to fill these gaps – but without an analysis of workflows these gaps will remain and potentially grow over time.

4. Commit to the Change

It’s important to stay committed to addressing the gaps that are identified in the workflow analysis. Analyzing workflows is a project that can be performed regularly over time, and workers will be hesitant to be open and forthcoming about potential process issues or resource strains if they don’t feel there is true commitment to address issues once identified. Also, thoughtfully completing a workflow analysis can be time consuming and challenging for staff, not recognizing or addressing any gaps found could limit the effectiveness of future workflow analysis projects.

5. Write it Down

Record and document the details uncovered from the analysis to create a standard operating procedure that staff can rely on. This documentation can also be used to assist with staff on-boarding/training and act as a basis for decision making when it comes to staff assignments, resource commitments and when changes are proposed from either management or staff. Thorough documentation will also help management understand the potential workflow impacts of implementing any new data or case management solution that promises to improve processes or create efficiencies.

A workflow analysis can be a great project to take on to get a better idea of how staff go about performing their work every day and ensuring clarity in the goals of each task. As organizations grow and evolve overtime, subsequent workflow analyses can be performed to ensure all staff are working efficiently towards the same business requirements and when there are opportunities to implement either data, case management or information systems, the workflow analysis documentation can help inform the project and ensure its addressing identified needs without negatively impacting any other components of the greater workflow.

Do you know how your next implementation will impact staff?

Understand your business requirements and ensure your team is prepared for any implementation project. Contact us for information about a custom workflow analysis today.