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TIPS ON HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR TEAM’S WORKFLOW- PART I

posted Apr 9, 2018, 11:07 AM by Kim Whitlock   [ updated Apr 9, 2018, 11:08 AM ]


Why you need a workflow?

                     Keeps everyone on the same page, preventing miscommunication, confusion, and frustration about what other team members are doing.

                     Make the best use of time by eliminating bottlenecks.

o   68% of employees waste time waiting for information from team members, wasting an average of 3.5 hours a week.

                     Streamline reoccurring tasks. Try to find a way to automate it.

                     Workflow can help a team move forward.  Provides a trail of everything that occurred.

                     Having a workflow in place, NO MATTER HOW SIMPLE, brings so much sanity to a team.

                     When there’s a defined system in place, everyone knows exactly what their responsibilities are and how it will contribute to the bigger picture.

                     Everyone knows what’s expected of them and when, they know who to ask if they have a question.

How to get started

                     If you don’t already have a workflow you need to evaluate your need for one.

                     Even a one person show needs one. Your individual workflow is important; not having one likely means working less efficiently on certain things.

                     If you have teams that work together to complete common processes or tasks, then workflow is critical.      More people can cause more inefficiencies.

Never evaluated your workflow?  Rule     #1….keep it simple!!!

                     Don’t make it more trouble than it’s worth.

                     How to evaluate

o   Take a step back and think about how you or your team gets stuff done. Don’t overcomplicate things.

o   A quick brainstorming session on process and workflow on paper can get you the process map you need.

Improve Your Workflow

                     Now that you have documented your current workflow it’s time to tweak it to make it more efficient. As you do this keep these basic points in mind.

                     Make sure everyone is aware and accountable

                     Does everyone on the team feel empowered to contribute? When a workflow is determined everyone should understand the large mission of the organization and their role in making it successful.

                     Clearly identify and document each task and the role individual team members will play in order to make your workflow successful.

                     How you want to communicate?

                     We live in a world of distractions creating a need for clear communication.

                     Create guidelines for communicating both internally among team members and externally with partners and customers.

                     Example of an internal communication process:

o   If it’s urgent, ping them in an interoffice communication tool (such as Skype for Business)

o   If it’s not urgent, send an email – be short and brief

o   If it’s complicated, talk on the phone, Skype, or in person. (NO EMAIL)

With a clear process in place team members won’t have to continuously check email. Long email chains are inefficient and are often hard to follow.

·         Centralize your employee resources

o   Identify a place where all of your team’s information can live.

o   Make sure everyone knows where to find the information. It’s no good if no one can find it.

o   Prevents repetitive questions

·         Make key decisions about responsibility and expectations

o   Defining Roles

§  Who is responsible for what? Simple concept, yes, but many roles are vague and no one really knows who should be doing what.

§  Result of undefined roles? A lot of wasted time and overlap.

§  Make sure that each role fits as far as what they do and what they are accountable for. Be clear on deliverables.

o   Defining Deliverables

§  What is it and when is it due?  Not just what is the task, but what is the thing that results from the task?

 

For example, a  tasks might be: review title work. But the deliverable is: deliver title commitment.

 

§  A task always has a response.    The deliverable. The tangible result from the work.  The deliverable should have a due date as well, or else you’ll just spend all of your time reviewing title work and never getting any commitments done.

o   Setting Expectations

§  What does done mean?  What does completed, delivered mean?

·         Make sure everyone is on the same page with completing  tasks and deliverables so you don’t spend precious time going back and cleaning things up after the fact.

§  Take some time to figure out what kind of system works for you.

§  Keep tabs on if the system is working. Once a month or so check in with the team to make sure all is going smoothly.

§  Make adjustments.

§  Keep at it until you get the results you want

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