Here at Questetra we receive many inquiries regarding business improvement from our customers. Throughout those consultations, I have seen a lot of Workflows (Business flow, Business Processes), and some of them almost made me cry out “I hate this workflow!”
In this post I would like to discuss the problems and ideas for improvement regarding one of those kinds of Workflows that would make me cry; a “Workflow without any proofreading”.
Workflow without any proofreading
Let’s see an example regarding « Inquiry Handling ». In this process (work operation), in response to the received inquiry, an « Answer » is created and a reply sent to the person who made the inquiry.
First, the contact person « accepts » the inquiry.
At the « Accept » Task the Operator confirms the inquiry and decides whether to create an answer or not. (Occasionally, there are inquiries that are actually not an inquiry such as engineers seeking work, advertisements, invitations to a seminar, etc.)
In a real situation you may need to determine who is responsible for creating an answer, but for the sake of simplicity we will assume that only whether to respond or not is to be decided.
And now, the « Create Answer /Send » Task is in question.
In the flow diagram above, the staff who creates the answer to the inquiry will send it as it is.
Even though you may hope a mistake would never be made, it can occur when working with various people within an organization.
What kind of mistakes can be found in an answer you’ve created?
- Typos and wording errors
- Inappropriate expressions
- Incorrect content
There can be a variety of errors, from ones that are minor to critical ones that could lose you the trust of your customers.
You wouldn’t like a workflow in which an answer is sent without proofreading despite the risks of such mistakes, would you?
The « Proofread » Task is quite meaningful
Let’s prepare the « Check Answer » Task icon to proofread the content of the answer. « Check Answer » is set as in the figure below.
The previous « Create Answer/Send » Task is re-set as the « Create Answer » Task where you just create an answer.
Through the « Create Answer » Task the token reaches the « Check Answer » Task.
In the « Check Answer » Task, the « Proofreader » checks whether there are any typos, wording errors, inappropriate expressions, and errors in the content of the answer. If there are not any problems (OK), the token reaches the « Send Answer ». If any errors are identified in the answer at the « Check Answer » Task (NG), the token is sent back to « Create Answer » again.
By setting the proofreading Task so that the created answer is proofread, it allows you to reduce the risk of sending a misleading answer.
But the « Proofread Task » has other advantages besides the reduction of these risks.
Even if the created answer is qualified as A grade, the proofreader may have ideas to improve it to A-plus. In such a case, by adding the ideas at the « Proofread Task » and sending it back, the answer creator can make a better answer with A-plus quality.
Thanks to the « Proofread Task » you can expect improvements in the quality in addition to risk reduction in your work.
Now, if you’re wise enough, you may have noticed that it also creates educational opportunities for creators.
Especially among small organizations, work can go on without a proofreader. In such a workflow, placing a « Proofread » Task icon that checks deliverables before submission can have the following effects:
- Reduce the risk of errors
- Improve the quality of the output
- Create educational opportunities
I often encounter workflow diagrams in which no confirmation is conducted, at various scenes where I never predicted. Although you need to consider the effect and the cost in balance, I recommend trying to set a step of confirmation to achieve the helpful effects I mentioned in this post.
It is important to draw the current situation in a workflow diagram like that of inquiry handling illustrated at the beginning in order to notice that you’d better place a « Proofread » Task. We offer a service （Cloud-based workflow “Questetra BPM Suite”）which allows you to draw Workflow diagrams.
If you would like to try drawing a workflow diagram, please apply here and draw a familiar process in a workflow diagram.
Thank you for reading!
- Cloud-based workflow « Questetra BPM Suite »
- « I Hate Such a Workflow » Series