How to Design a Workflow (and What We Learned)

Sep 12, 2019
Post Masthead

There are more distractions today than ever before. As a result, we expect a lot more from our resources to help keep up with the pace and get more done. We need the benefits of project management and the predictability of automation, without the extra work or the hassle. These help us stay on task, remain productive, and ensure successful project and business outcomes.

At Rindle, we have worked with businesses—both large and small—on configuring workflows. Through this process, we have carefully and closely studied how our customers design and build different workflows and how they use them.

We have learned that many of the challenges are the same: how to best build processes that scale, how customers and users struggle with finding the right tools that support their operations, and also how Rindle helps solve customers’ biggest pain points.

In this article, we will share some insights on what we have learned from working with our clients over the years, how to adopt the right tool and processes, and some recommendations for leaders interested in building the best workflow for their teams.

What to Keep in Mind When Building the Best Workflow

1. Begin with the goal in mind.

Workflows can get crazy and out of control really quickly. Many teams end up over-engineering their workflows and making them too complicated to achieve desired goals.

Conversely, workflows can also be too weak. A lackadaisical process means inefficiencies, risks, and lack of productivity for the team. However, teams can combat this by keeping goals centered, which will also help keep workflows focused.

It’s easy to lose sight of why a workflow was created in the first place and what it is supposed to accomplish. To avoid this, it’s important to keep the goal of why you are building a workflow in the first place in mind.

Think about: What is the workflow going to help you achieve? What’s the dream state look like?

When you begin with the end in mind, you can reverse-engineer what that workflow could look like.

2. Start simple.

Yes, there is a such thing as too much process. Overly-complicated workflows spell disaster for most teams.

In our experience, many teams build their workflows and project boards using the standard columns: “To Do,” “Doing,” and “Done.” However, we have found that this workflow is often too simple.

When setting up a visual workflow board, we like to use the following columns:

  • Backlog
  • In Progress
  • Review
  • Done
  • Blocked
  • Ideas

We have discovered that these columns allow for a perfectly balanced workflow. There are enough columns that clearly differentiate the various features of work without over-complicating things.

3. Stay flexible.

Workflows will change over time; this is just the nature of the beast. Maintaining a level of flexibility is important for teams and organizations as this allows them to grow and scale easily.

Being flexible and adaptable and open-minded to workflow changes enables teams to collaborate more efficiently together. This allows teams to think creatively, add value, and innovate.

4. Use automation wherever possible.

It’s no secret that artificial intelligence (AI) is playing a more important role in businesses of all sizes and scope. Many business owners, entrepreneurs, managers, and team leads manage not only multiple teams, but also multiple projects. All this in addition to the day-to-day tasks that need to get done.

In fact, studies have shown that most managers spend more than half their time working on administrative tasks, such as managing updates, running reports, data entry, and record keeping.

We recommend using automation to save time in some way — whether that’s notifying team members that certain tasks are ready for review or automating processes and tasks.

For example, automations can effectively handle scheduling, reminders, and follow-ups, and task assignments to eliminate the need for human input and the risk for error. This is one of many effective ways that these systems are capable of saving talent, teams, and companies tons of time on their various efforts.

To make it even easier on the team, use automation for processes that can’t skip certain steps or to minimize time updating boards and tasks with information.

5. Where you manage your work is the source of truth.

Most teams are using many different tools to do the work, talk about the work, and review the work. The good news is that there are also tools available today to help you leverage integrations wherever possible.

For example, building an automation that includes Rindle + Slack + Google Docs can help teams follow workflows easily. It also keeps processes functional and efficient.

What We Learned

So, what did the Rindle team learn from working with and interviewing our clients? We need to be focused on streamlining processes and operations, and more and more entrepreneurs, founders, managers, and team leads are turning automation for help.

For example, Rindle has had the privilege of serving The Elevate Growth Group. This eCommerce business specializes in helping brands grow their businesses on Amazon. Elevate’s biggest challenges were related to building scalable processes that support their growing team and customer base. As their team and clients began to grow, processes started to break.

As a result, the Elevate team went on a search for a project management tool with a good blend of task management and automations that would help streamline their current operations and better manage and support their team.

However, after what seemed like months of research, the Elevate team felt that the majority of project management tools they explored were like, “trying to fit a square pipe down a round hole.” Most tools are designed for managing customer tickets rather than task management.

After taking some time to consider their needs, what they would need to help them, and what they would need to scale as they grow further, they found Rindle…

Rindle provided the team with the task management support and level of automation they needed and were looking for. After first approaching Rindle, the Elevate team reviewed their existing processes and workflows and began to look at them with fresh eyes. Rindle helped them build completely new and different workflows. These provided them with the level of project management they needed.

The Value of Automations

Although Rindle is already designed with autohttps://hello.rindle.com/5-task-automations-that-save-massive-amounts-of-time/mation capabilities, we learned from working with Elevate, as well as a number of other customers, that our decision to move our tool down the automation pathway and include additional automation features in our product roadmap was the right one.

We have also learned that automations need to be easy to build, and should not require developers or off-shore teams for implementation and support. If the whole idea behind automation is to make performing tasks easier and seamless, then building the best workflows and automations themselves should also be easy.

How Rindle is Different

Much like our customers, the team at Rindle is also in a stage of growth. We are constantly learning and improving our tool to better serve our customers, help them solve their challenges, and reach their goals. And adopting the right tool helps them expand their tools, build scalable processes, and grow.

Although there are a number of project management tools and solutions available today, Rindle is different. Rindle is not only easy to learn and implement, but it also streamlines workflows and processes.

As we heard from Elevate, Rindle has the perfect blend between task management and automations. Favorite features include the Notifications view, the Mirroring feature, and the tagging feature. With built-in automations, managers remove themselves from the process as bottlenecks, and allow their team members to see their assigned tasks in one quick glance.

If your business is encountering some similar challenges as we have seen with Elevate and many of our other customers, you are likely in need of a project management tool that helps streamline processes and improve efficiencies.

If you love the idea of task management, building automations, and using one tool for all your project management needs, then give Rindle a try today.