During those consultations, some workflows were impressive, while others made me cry out « I hate this kind of workflow ».
In this post, I’ll discuss the challenges and solutions of a « Workflow that makes you handle unnecessary information ».
Workflows that make you handle unnecessary information
Let’s consider « inquiry handling » work as an example.
When correspondence is received via the website’s inquiry form, the members of the « Inquiry Handling » team confirm the content (“Confirm the contents of the Inquiry” Task).
Once it is reviewed, they create an answer or seek some advice from the relevant department to gain the necessary knowledge for an answer.
The problem with this workflow is that it can’t proceed from the « Confirm the contents of inquiry » Task if the inquiry is a sales pitch or the contact information is obviously incorrect, which makes you unable to send an answer. Handling such an inquiry is really unnecessary, but you have to.
You wouldn’t like a workflow that makes you handle unnecessary correspondence, would you?
Verify unnecessary inquiries and finish them
It’s easy to improve these workflows « that makes you handle unnecessary inquiries ».
Place a new End icon after the « Confirm the contents of the inquiry » Task which is in the Inquiry Handling section, and draw a connecting flow to the End icon if the contents are judged as unnecessary.
The workflow has been improved easily and this improvement allows you to terminate unnecessary inquiries.
There are the following cases where even though work has started it must be stopped midway.
- (As mentioned in this post) the inquiry contains unnecessary information
- A proposal made in the planning stage is withdrawn because it was returned many times
- The deadline passes
In these cases, it’s a good practice to place another End icon (we call it an End Event) somewhere, and split the flows so that the Token can flow to the End icon.
This measure also allows you to deal with irregularities easily. However, you should consider a risk – the workflow diagram will start looking complicated if you draw a flow dealing with all of the many irregular situations.
Splitting the paths to the Tasks clarifies Authority
Drawing a flow that ends the need to handle unnecessary inquiries has other value.
This flow clarifies what the members of the « Inquiry Handling » team should do and what they are responsible for in the « Confirm the contents of inquiry » Task.
They review the contents of the inquiry and become aware of the following things from the split flows in the workflow above.
- Determining whether the information is unnecessary or not
- Terminating the flow in the case of the unnecessary inquiry
This split clarifies the authority of the person who is operating the Task.
I hope you will pay attention not only to the fact that this improvement has made irregular situations easy to handle but that it has clarified your responsibility within the Task.
In this post, I introduced the improvement of a workflow that can’t progress, taking inquiry handling work as an example.
The improvement was to place another End icon and then draw a flow so that the Token can move to the icon. Based on that, the flows are set up to be split in the Task, and the user’s authority » becomes even clearer.
If you draw a workflow diagram, try this improvement to help people involved in the work have a common understanding of the business. Please try to draw a familiar process in a workflow diagram.
Finally, if you want to draw a workflow diagram, I’ll recommend for you a cloud-based workflow »Questetra BPM Suite » (Starter Plan). It’s free and easy to use.
That’s it, for today!
- Cloud-based workflow « Questetra BPM Suite »
- « I Hate Such a Workflow » Series