“Deciding what not to do is as important as deciding what to do”, said Steve Jobs upon his return to Apple in 1997 – and it still applies today. In fact, it's what workflow analysis is all about – cutting back on things holding you back from reaching your maximum potential.
You see, there's a lot of truth in all that “work smarter, not harder” business.
Workflow analysis tools help you make the most of what you have by giving you actionable insights into the efficacy of each process within your company. An optimized workplace means money saved on labor use, planning, scheduling, resource allocation, and preventing errors instead of correcting them.
With software like workstreams.ai, you'll easily see what actually works and what you only thought would do – but doesn't.
Let's dive right in to see how you can skyrocket your growth.
How to do workflow analysis and improve your business processes
To establish which processes need optimization, start by asking yourself these four questions about your company:
What do we do?
How do we do it?
Why do we do it?
What is each department responsible for?
The answers to these questions allow you to pinpoint the core tasks and actions that generate revenue and make you who you are. You may notice some redundant processes even at this stage – ones that don't align with your big goal or purpose.
Let's dive into how you can analyze workflows while keeping the answers to these questions in mind.
Collect qualitative data
Qualitative data is the stuff you can't get from analyzing numbers. It's all about the context, opinions, and different viewpoints – the “why's” and the “how's”. So, as you can imagine, the most reliable way to track qualitative data about workflow performance is to talk about it.
Here are the most trusty methods for collecting it:
Conducting workflow analysis interviews with everyone involved.
Facilitating focus groups for gathering ideas, i.e., a group chat.
Sending out surveys with open-ended questions about operational efficiency within the company.
Analyzing documentation, like process manuals and reports.
Using the workflow and observing it in action for firsthand insights. You can also get someone from a different department or outside the company to review it for a fresh, unbiased opinion.
Here are some questions you can ask your employees (and yourself) to examine the current workflow efficiency:
What are the main challenges you face in your daily tasks?
Is there something you feel could be made easier?
Is this particular sequence or step necessary?
Do you have enough data and resources to perform each activity?
Why does the task or workflow exist, and what is its purpose?
Does this step need approval, or is a notification enough?
What is a repetitive process that we could automate?
Collect quantitative data
Quantitative data is all the numbers, metrics, and performance indicators. To measure the efficiency of your workflow procedures, gather quantitative data about these aspects:
The number of items in the particular workflow
The number of items completed vs. rejected
The average, minimum, and maximum time for completing each step
The number of times a task is rejected or needs to be improved
The number of times an action needs additional clarification
The necessary resources (materials, personnel, etc.)
Conducting workflow analysis in terms of quantitative information is much easier when you use dedicated software like workstreams.ai. Such programs track your tasks’ data, helping you gain valuable insights into cycle times, error rates, and throughput.
Identify issues and improvement opportunities
Now that you have collected all the vital information, it's time to analyze data. Yes, it can seem overwhelming – but it's made much simpler with workflow analysis tools.
Analysts typically use workflow mapping to present processes and their related information graphically. Since people are visual learners, maps allow us to examine specific procedures’ logic better. They help to spot patterns, redundancies, and deviations from the expected outcomes.
💡 workstreams.ai has a built-in feature for automatically spotting frozen tasks. It shows you how long it's been since someone worked on a specific step. That way, no task goes forgotten, and you can prioritize more effectively to reach the desired results.
Prioritize and document action items
Now, go back to the four questions we mentioned first. Based on your answers, you'll be able to rank the identified issues and opportunities by their potential to bring you benefits. Prioritize the optimization possibilities that best align with your business profile and goal.
For each action item, create specific steps, deadlines, resources required, and departments or employees responsible. Document the expected outcomes and benefits of each. Your “future you” will thank you for being able to know if they're staying on track or not.
Test, monitor, and adjust if needed
Once all the changes are identified, test them to make sure the modifications are effective in practice, not just in theory. Make this an ongoing process since things change, and what works now might not be beneficial a month or year from now.
Note that not everything might need adjusting. A workflow analysis is an excellent opportunity to see which processes were the most helpful for your organization so far.
Workflow management software: How can workstreams.ai help?
Before you ask – no, you don't have to do all that manually. Nor would we expect you to strain your budget by hiring a workflow analyst. But we would recommend expanding your tool set with a workflow and team management platform like workstreams.ai – which is 100% free for teams of up to three members.
The software lets you organize your tasks, keeping everything nice and neat. With clear, visual business workflows, no step or issue goes unnoticed. Streamlined workflow analysis helps to keep everyone on the same page and identify inefficiencies whenever they arise.
You can connect this system for creating and improving workflows with the tools your company already uses, ensuring smooth transitions and preventing data silos. Some of these integrations include:
Slack and Microsoft Teams: Your team members can manage tasks in the same space where they chat about ideas.
Trello: Every change made in the application automatically reflects on your workstreams.ai board.
Webhooks: This advanced tech feature is perfect for developers, as it lets you push data from various sources into WS and create tasks there.
Calendar: You can easily connect your Gmail or Outlook account to our in-app calendar.
This practicality makes it perfect for small and medium-sized enterprises that want to grow with workflow automation while saving time and money and always meeting customer expectations. The software is easily scalable for larger teams and remains affordable for bigger needs.
workstreams.ai allows you to get the most out of your budget by saving on recruitment programs. The workflow management software has a framework for screening, interviewing, and hiring applicants.
You can use it to:
Collect data about candidates and store it in one place so no CV is overlooked
Set stages for reviews and screenings
Filter applicants based on their availability, salary expectations, or contract type
This centralized database is particularly helpful if hiring is a cross-departmental process in your organization. workstreams.ai facilitates seamless collaboration between teams, making information more accessible for everyone. Let your HR employees conduct the initial interviews, and tech experts handle technical test tasks, with everyone staying on the same page.
Marketing campaign management
Ever got lost in the many platforms you have to handle and stay consistent on with your marketing efforts? workstreams.ai helps you optimize these efforts, keeping a keen eye on budget and performance scheduling posts.
Marketing is where the complicated processes are since there are so many things you have to juggle, and it's usually an ongoing process. Our system allows you to create agile workflows and break down big goals into bite-size, actionable milestones with subtasks for every step. The option to assign tasks to specific team members improves transparency and accountability.
IT and development
Workflow analysis and optimization are vital for getting products deployed on time. workstreams.ai helps your IT and development teams with:
Time allocation for setting benchmarks
GetStuffDone index for tracking performance
Frozen tasks feature for automatically spotting and addressing stagnant steps
Flexible workflows with progress indicators, burndown charts, and due dates
Attachment support for keeping up with the latest mockup versions
Combination of tasks across different workflows into a single, ambitious GOAL
We understand that sales teams work at Formula One speed. So, treat workstreams.ai as their pit crew.
No more cluttered lists, boards, and spreadsheets – let your staff focus on the pipeline. Here's how you can optimize your sales workflow to improve customer satisfaction and drive more revenue:
Create a task or use one of our templates, add a lead description, and assign it to a sales team member.
- The person responsible evaluates the lead and adds questions to clarify the customer's requirements.
- A teammate moves the task to the proposal stage, where you can schedule an appointment, keeping track of all details in-app.
- The task moves on to the negotiation stage. When complete, the right team member is automatically alerted to take over.
- Now it's time to attach the final signed contract, move it to the legal part of the pipeline, and celebrate another closed deal.
Workflow analysis improves customer satisfaction indirectly by making your company run smoother, but you can also implement it directly to handle customer support issues.
workstreams.ai is perfect for organizing and managing multiple queries from one place, without getting overwhelmed or missing anything. You can categorize tasks by urgency and streamline repeatable processes to ensure a high level of customer experience with each interaction.
Taking extra care of your customers in this way builds a community of trusting and loyal clients.
Workflow analysis is all about improving your productivity and making automation work for you so you can focus on new ways to grow.
If you're not using a workflow management tool yet, we suggest you give it a go. It's the easiest way to free up more of your time and focus your attention on more important things than task organization.
workstreams.ai can help you with the workflow analysis of various fields within your company – whether it's tech, HR, customer support, or team management.
Sign up to start increasing your productivity.
How is workflow analysis done?
It's easiest to perform workflow analysis with dedicated software like workstreams.ai. Alternatively, you can hire a professional workflow analyst to help you achieve optimal efficiency.
How do you conduct workflow analysis?
To conduct workflow analysis, follow these simple steps:
Collect and organize data
Identify obstacles, repetitive tasks, and improvement opportunities
Prioritize and document action items
Test, monitor, and adjust your workflows, keeping what works and changing what doesn't
What is a workflow analysis diagram?
Workflow analysis charts or diagrams are a visual representation of a workflow. They illustrate the sequence of steps and actions that sum up to make a process. A diagram can include elements such as various symbols, shapes, connectors, inputs and outputs, parallel and converging paths, decision points, and annotations.
Such diagrams are particularly helpful for non-linear workflow analysis and complex branching or merging tasks.
What is the role of a workflow analyst?
A workflow analyst examines, designs, and optimizes workflows within an organization. They handle everything from documentation and identifying improvement opportunities to new technology integration, ensuring smooth transitions and regulatory compliance assurance.