Hi there!

As I’ve mentioned before, as we, employees of Questetra, often receive inquiries from our customers about how to improve their business processes, and sometimes the Workflows we look at containing some crucial shortcomings.

In this post I would like to analyze one particular area for improvement; the Workflow that only subordinates can start.

A Workflow that only allows subordinates to start

Let’s consider a « Mistake Explanation Report Flow » as an example, using the workflow diagram as in the following figure.

The purpose is to aggregate mistakes committed on-site, to not ignore Issues that the organization needs to address, to analyze the information collected and to consider improvements in the business process.

When a subordinate commits a mistake in a process, they make a report to explain what happened (Create Report). Their superior “confirms” the content of the report and completes the Task as long as it has no problems. However, the superior can send back the report if there is any ambiguity in the explanation, the cause, or the suggested improvement plan. (Confirm Report)

After the superior has confirmed the report, it is sent to the business audit team who would perform a disciplinary measure, which I won’t mention in this post. (Respond Business Audit)

The problem with this business flow (Workflows) is the concern that mistakes might never be reported.

The process of reporting a mistake does not benefit the person who made the mistake. It’s natural for people to feel reluctant to take action due to worries that assessments of them may be lowered. (We often hear that this kind of thing happens on site. People complain that the process of operational mistakes reporting doesn’t take effect.)

However, to the superior who supervises the site, the report must be made for the organization. In such a case, it’s annoying that the subordinates don’t start the report flow.

As you can see, sometimes the superior doesn’t like « Workflows that only allow subordinates to start them ».

Allow the superior to start the process!

It is common for the superior to want to start the project rather than leaving it to the subordinates, depending on their attitudes, not only in an Operation mistake Report but in project activities such as reporting sales matters or planning work.

Therefore, let’s add the necessary changes so that the superior can also start as follows.

Another Start icon (we call it « Start Event » in technical terms) in the workflow is added, and the »Offer Report Preparation » is placed between the « Create Report » Task icon which the subordinate has placed and the Start Event.

In this way, at the « Offer Report Preparation » Task, the superior can gather basic information (date, outline, some control numbers, etc.) about the operational mistakes that the subordinates should report and offer it to the person at the « Create Report » Task.

Expect various Start events

If you draw a workflow diagram and consider other Start events outside the basic flow (such as in this case, starting from the subordinates), you can expect some benefits.

  • The people involved in the process can understand what the possible Start event is.
    • In this case, a Start event from the superior is not regarded as irregular. An unnecessary discussion and adjustment due to irregularities can be eliminated.
  • When a progress management system such as a workflow system is configured, various Start events can be expected.

In the case of the workflow « Mistake Explanation Report Flow », you can also consider allowing the business audit team as well as the superior to start the process. In the following diagram, you can place another Start event similar to the superior’s one, and draw a workflow diagram where the business audit team can offer the report to the subordinate.

In addition, using the business process which has been configured based on this workflow diagram the work can progress as shown in the following diagram.


I started writing this post with a feeling that I hate Workflows which only subordinates can start, but consequently, it ended up focusing on the idea of the « Start of the process ».

If you think about the variety of « start events » you have without a fixed idea while drawing a workflow diagram, you can configure the environment for a better business process (business improvement).

The mechanism on the workflow diagram that was briefly introduced in this article is based on the cloud-based workflow « Questetra BPM Suite. « Questetra BPM Suite » has a system that automatically configures an environment in which work proceeds according to a workflow diagram you have drawn. Moreover, its process and results are displayed in an easy-to-understand way.


I recommend drawing a workflow diagram as the first step to using « Questetra BPM Suite ». You can apply for free here.

In the end, I added some advertising, but thank you for reading!


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