Work is never just work. In an organization, one employee’s daily tasks should fit neatly into the tasks assigned to other members of their team, their department and the rest of the company. If one worker fails in their duties, the right criteria might not be met to allow another worker to complete their assignment, which could cause the entire company to be less productive. It is imperative that business leaders understand how processes across the organization coordinate and complement one another — and the most efficient way for leaders to gain this understanding is through the use of process design tools. Here are a few essential tools that business leaders can use to improve documentation of workflows, which will allow them to make more strategic decisions regarding every team member’s work.
There is no better tool for high-level executive function than education. Knowledge and skill are essential for business leaders who are striving to optimize workflows and ensure efficiency and success through process design. Executives can find all manner of process design–related online courses from the world’s top business schools. Leaders might evaluate the types of processes most common in their organization and enroll in courses most appropriate to their current needs. For example, project managers might be best served through a course on strategic projects, which will help them design and refine the steps involved in completing projects with success.
Digital Flowcharts Help With Process Design
A flowchart is by far the most common tool used in process design because it easily and effectively visually demonstrates the steps involved in a process or system. Some of the best flowcharts do not require any text to describe tasks, yet leaders can use flowcharts to see inefficiencies and develop solutions that lead to optimized processes. There are many free online tools that allow for creating flowcharts, such as Canva and Mural, and there are some tools that are specifically designed for making and managing flowcharts, like Lucidchart.
Visual Workflow Diagrams
Flowcharts might be the most popular visual tool in process design, but they are not the only useful diagrams that business leaders might use. Other charts like swim lanes and tree diagrams can be more helpful in showing more complex systems within an organization. Leaders can experiment with different types of diagrams to find the ones that best suit their needs. Usually, tools that make it easy to create flowcharts will have additional services that help leaders produce other process design diagrams.
Another type of diagram that can help leaders organize information about processes and systems, is known as process maps. These come in an even wider range of styles to account for the diverse needs of unique organizations. Some management strategies utilize specific process maps; for example, Six Sigma has its own visual style designed to communicate information with greater efficiency. Process maps can do more than illustrate existing processes; idea and strategy maps can help leaders explore and organize new processes into efficient systems. This tool can be especially valuable when leaders welcome input and feedback from their teams as it allows leaders to include a large number of ideas on a single page.
Microsoft Tools For Process Design
With Microsoft Office, business leaders might already have all the process design tools they need. Microsoft Word, PowerPoint and Excel are all useful programs that are exceedingly capable of creating basic process flowcharts, allowing leaders to create and evaluate process maps. Even better, because most leaders are familiar with Microsoft Office software, organizations can begin process mapping and improvement as soon as right now.
Process Documentation Software
Unlike individual flowchart makers or Microsoft Office, which was designed for purposes other than process design, process documentation software offers features specifically intended for leaders to use when designing processes and systems for their organizations. This type of software can capture information about processes from the very beginning of ideation and provide simple visual documentation as processes evolve. Not every leader needs such a robust process design solution, but when processes become too complex for simpler tools, leaders should remember this option.
Different organizations manage processes in different ways, but leaders should always strive to understand and control processes and systems. With knowledge, skill and process design tools, business leaders can ensure efficiency and success into the future.