At Questetra we have a workflow diagram (Business Process) for every job. A workflow diagram is a simple business flow diagram that anyone can understand intuitively. At Questetra, we use a workflow system called « Questetra BPM Suite » to create such a diagram, which is understood and shared by the members involved in the work.
A workflow diagram won’t be perfect from the first version and new problems will emerge as the work progresses. In that case, we will review the workflow diagram and make improvements and optimizations as necessary.
This process of reviewing and optimizing existing workflow diagrams is called BPM activity. In this post I worked on the BPM activity for the workflow diagram “Reporting Production”.
The Workflow Diagram in the Current State
In the Marketing department of Questetra, the leader checks the deliverable made by the staff, such as images for display ads, the data of flyers for printing, presentations, for the marketing site, and for drafting blogs.
Previously, the staff who was instructed to create content by the leader verbally, via e-mail or Open Chat (Questetra’s internal social media tool) had to start the Workflow. The workflow diagram below represents that.
*Our workflow system, « Questetra BPM Suite » provides a function for drawing workflow diagrams that represent the work procedure.
In this workflow diagram there is not a Start icon based on the instruction from the leader, which means only the staff who has been instructed verbally, via email, or via Open Chat, can start the Workflow.
That causes problems.
That is, « Questetra BPM Suite » has a unique function, “My Tasks” which automatically lists a Task when it is started or its Token arrives at a Step the User is responsible for.
Therefore, even though the staff has a list of Tasks necessary to work on in My Tasks, a Task will not be listed in My Tasks merely by being requested by the leader. The staff may forget what the instruction is about. Thus, there is a possibility that it will end up not being reported if the leader also forgets the request they made.
Moreover, not being listed in My Tasks leads to a lack of understanding of how many Tasks the staff has to work on and makes it difficult for them to prioritize their Tasks. Also, it will be difficult for a leader to understand the details and the number of requests he has made.
Therefore, we worked on improving the workflow diagram by adding a Start Icon based on the instruction by the leader in addition to the start by the reporter (staff). The leader determines the person who is responsible for the instructions and allows him to enter their contents.
The First Improvement in Workflow Diagram
The first workflow diagram that came to mind for improvement so that the leader could start the work is the following.
I added a Task so that the leader can also start with a creation request. However, in the workflow diagram above, it is not clear whether the deliverables are started by employees or they are instructed because the Human Task input form is the same. In the input form which is started by the staff, it is necessary to enter the requester (who gave the instructions). Whereas, in the input form which reports the result after receiving the request, it must be entered by the requester. In other words, different input forms are required.
The Second Improved Workflow Diagram
As a solution to this problem, I have improved the workflow diagram like the following figure.
I added a new Swimlane for employees who received a request from the leader (the Swimlane in the middle) so that you can distinguish between input formats.
——-The following list is for users of « Questetra BPM Suite »——–
- I put the « (Re) Report the Result of the Product » Task and the « Review Comments » Task in the Swimlane of the staff who received requests from the leader.
- I have set the Operator of the downstream Step to be designated at the upstream Step.
- I set up a « Producer » Swimlane where the staff has received a request from the leader.
- I set a “Specified User” in the Data Item of the « Producer » Swimlane so that all Tasks created by members of the marketing department (including its leader) are always requested by the leader.
- In the leader’s « Request the details of the Product » Task, I set the Data Item to copy the operator automatically when the request process was completed.
Improvement and Awareness
By placing another Start Icon based on the instructions from the leader, its contents have become listed in My Tasks and that has prevented the staff who were asked to do the Task from having any oversights and forgetting the Task. The leader can understand the details and number of requests they have made.
However, while reviewing the problems that had occurred before and the reason why we worked on the improvement, I thought that I could improve this Workflow diagram by simply setting a Start that can be operated by the leader.
But sometimes creative ideas come from the staff, thus a Task to report the ideas you have thought of to the leader is also necessary. There are several ways to start the work, such as a job that is started with the leader’s idea or that is started with the staff’s idea. If you create a workflow diagram of the work that you are involved in, it can help you to find another missing part of the process.
Would you like to create a workflow diagram of your work? By visualizing the flow, it can help you find any problems and troubles that your staff might be experiencing. Moreover, you may find a better procedure.
We Questetra always commit to developing the workflow for business improvement.