“I just hope my new system doesn’t explode!”

Mention “workflow management system” and it can conjure up images of expansive flow-charts and long drawn out processes in labs, but it’s really not that complicated. It’s basically mapping out exactly how you want your staff to complete a task in a clear and understandable process and there’s no need to use any test tubes or Bunsen burners at all!

Here we’ll map out the most effective way to set up a successful workflow management system in 4 basic steps.

Firstly the architect of the system needs to define what the objective is. A system is a pre-defined repeatable process that produces consistent results so how do we get there without first knowing what the problems is and what the desired outcome is?

If the problem is that we are hungry and the desired outcome is that we want to eat a fish then that may enable us to design a fishing rod; but if the desired outcome is that we want to eat bread we have to design a different system!

The second step in the process is to do the task yourself and break it down action by action into a clearly defined, step by step process. This granular approach makes it much easier to communicate to others.

The third step is to get it to the point where any team member can follow it and achieve consistent results. At first, of course, they won’t do it perfectly but close enough is good enough – the process will be improved with repetition and practice and eventually they will get to the same level as the architect.

A key final part of the whole process of workflow management is to document it all. This part can be further broken down into a number of mini-steps.

You should firstly make precise, step by step notes. The more detail you include the cheaper, faster and the more accurate the system becomes. Keep it easily understood and jargon-free because even though some of your “A players” may find it a little simplistic it needs to be aimed at all of the team members understanding it.

The notes should be accompanied by a video. When you record it for the first time it probably won’t be perfect but that’s fine – it’s best to record the mistakes and use them as a learning point in the video that the trainee(s) can pick up on. It emphasises the point that the whole process is one of constant refining and doing things better.

Also, you should include a sample ideal end result so that your team members know what you expect in the end. Don’t miss this step as it’s vital for setting the expectations.

Further ways of enhancing your own workflow management system are included in the Outsourcing Profit Machine workshop by Mebourne SEO Services, which is available at https://www.melbourneseoservices.com/dvd3.

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