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Choosing a Business Process Management tool for recurring tasks and workflows

July 10, 2018 No Comments

Featured article by Zakhar Yung, Independent technology Author

When working in a fast-paced environment, it may seem that there is no right time for proper business process analysis and optimization. Thus, many leaders prefer to get the most critical tasks done, and only after that think about ways to improve their regular workflows.

Later, as a business evolves, one happens to find a lot of tasks that are to be repeated on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. Some people will tackle them by inventing the wheel every time an assignment pops up. Others will examine the tasks and organize them into processes.

Once the second group identified the need for documenting and following their processes, they will face another challenge – finding the right business process management (BPM) tool to do the job.

Therefore, the goal of this article is to resolve this problem by giving a handful of advice to those who are now choosing business process management software to be introduced at a company.

Start with business process modeling

First of all, document your business processes via checklists. In other words, put them into writing including all steps required to achieve the result. Once a process has been formalized, it will be much easier for team members to review, analyze, and optimize it. As a result, after introducing a business process management system, an executor will have close to zero chances to either forget or omit any of the steps that were initially described in the process.

For example, your repeatable business processes may cover:

- Human Resources: on- and offboarding, recruiting, participating in conferences, etc.

- Marketing & Sales: writing and publishing of blog posts, regular SEO optimization, social media activities, running of paid campaigns, preparing for a sales call, handling support, etc.

- Accounting: paying taxes, doing payroll, managing accounts receivable and payable, etc.

Look out for these must-have features

The system you are choosing has to possess certain must-have features like:

- Templates for business processes and workflows
- In-built search
- Notifications
- Task’s change history
- User management
- Options for collaboration
- Project- and task-related analytics
- Ability to use or integrate checklists

Configure workflows

Any business process may include several states (statuses) for a task to go through before it is going to be marked as “complete”. In addition, while transitioning from one state to another, different persons may be triggered and asked to review, approve, or perform any other activity on the task before it moves to the next step.

In that case, checklists may be used as “validators” that exclude any possibility for a person to move or close a ticket until all items are checked off.

Practice processes on a regular basis

To achieve the highest level of productivity, one has to apply processes in the real working environment. After going through the same checklist several times in a raw, an executor will notice how much easier this repetitive task has become and how much faster it has been done this time. The outcome is an increased amount of the free time that can now be invested in a more creative and / or demanding task.

Split large processes into small parts

Choose the simplest possible way to split large processes into smaller ones. Record them as actionable checklist items and start working on each of them separately. By doing so, you will commence moving in the right direction, the one which will eventually bring you to completing the whole process and achieving a larger goal.

One may also delegate the tiny chunks of a big task to colleagues. Having several people work on the same large process, but being responsible for a single part of it will increase a team’s efficiency and improve results.

In addition, using checklists removes the need for subtask creation and management, making it much easier for all team members to track task progress in a project.

But the most wonderful thing about checklists is an untradable sense of accomplishment and relief that people experience when they see that all items on a ToDo list are checked off. This is the time for the team to look back, analyze results, see how much work has been done and how much closer the final goal is. This is when the whole team will be encouraged and motivated to move forward.

Use templates

Create a set of default checklist templates that one can use across all projects. Automate the workflow so that a certain template will be added when a specific task type is chosen.

For example, there is a project with a master ticket called “Onboarding”. Every new onboarding ticket has a default onboarding checklist that goes with it. The checklist contains a detailed list of tasks for all team members involved. Once all items are completed, the ticket can be closed.

In such a manner, the onboarding procedure for an employee will finish once all pre-defined by the process services are delivered successfully and in full.

Make a choice

At the moment, it is a challenge to find a business process management tool, which meets all of the above-listed requirements. However, you may benefit from using a combination of two systems – Jira Core and Jira checklist plugin (by Railsware), which together make a perfect match to help companies streamline their operational efficiency.

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