How to Improve Workflow

Here are 10 of the best tips we know for helping teams work more efficiently.

We spend tons of your time thinking about work, but many folks don’t spend enough time brooding about how we do this work. We all want to be more productive and efficient–but so as to try to to that sustainably, we’ve to look at the processes we use to urge work done. In other words, we’ve to learn the way to improve workflow
Ideally, if you drew your process sort of a map, work would move from one step to a different during a line. But actually , without careful attention paid to process, our workflows are woefully uneven at the best .

At AndUX, we’re a touch hooked in to workflow–how work moves from “to do” to “doing” to “done.” I’ve personally seen how a stress on workflow has helped teams improve efficiency, reduce rework, and avoid the confusion and frustration that’s often the results of a poor process.

10 tips to boost workflow

If you’ve been trying to find suggestions on the way to improve workflow, here are some tips that I’ve seen make the most important impact.

-Visualize your workflow.
-Stop multitasking.
-Break big tasks into smaller chunks.
-Align first, then execute.
-Standardize/automate repetitive processes.
-Identify/reduce dependencies.
-Document everything (especially processes).
-Prioritize work supported importance/urgency.
-Keep a running list of “later” tasks.
-specialist in / measure flow.

Visualize your workflow

It may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised at what percentage teams within the world don’t have a shared understanding of the method they follow; it’s never been clearly defined. Visualizing your workflow–on a bit of paper during a workshop, or ideally, on a Kanban board that you simply use every day–is a crucial step to improving your workflow. Once you’re ready to see how work moves from “to do” to “doing” to “done,” you’ll be ready to see where there are opportunities for improvement in your workflow.

Stop multitasking

As you almost certainly know by now: Research in neuroscience says multitasking may be a myth. But does that stop you from doing it? Maybe, maybe not. Because numerous folks spend our days in and out of meetings, we tend to modify from one task to a different and another without even realizing it. We spend a couple of minutes on task A, have a gathering about task B while preparing for a gathering about task C, then back to task A, etc.

Although a number of this context switching is inevitable, there are some things you can do to limit it, a crucial factor when determining the way to improve workflow. Consider:

Scheduling long, focused periods of “heads down” time to truly complete tasks
Limiting non-essential meetings
Dedicating specific days or times to specific tasks or sorts of work
Dedicating specific days or times for meetings
Limiting your add Progress (WIP)–more that here

Break big tasks into smaller chunks

When prioritizing work, it’s important to form sure that you’re breaking it down into chunks that are literally actionable–eating the elephant one bite at a time, as they assert . Otherwise, you would possibly end up:

watching the elephant, unsure the way to even begin.
Starting and restarting an equivalent “bite” multiple times.
Procrastinating eating the elephant until the last responsible moment.
Not doing nearly as good of employment “chewing” as you’ll on each part, because you’re trying to tackle the entire thing directly , resulting in rework afterward .

Breaking big projects down into actionable tasks before you start the work can assist you keep big projects moving on schedule, on quality, and on budget.

Align first, then execute

There’s nothing more frustrating than getting halfway through a bit of labor , only to understand that you simply were performing on the incorrect thing, or working with outdated information.

Standardize repetitive processes

Regardless of what line of labor you’re in, it’s likely that much of your work follows one or more processes. Let’s say that for 90 percent of your team’s projects, there’s a “gather requirements” step, a “research” step, an “execute” step, a “review” step, and a “deploy” step. Do you have shared guidelines around what’s included in each of these steps, and what the definition of “done” is for every of them? Working to standardize process steps can drastically improve your team’s overall efficiency and may be a critical step in learning the way to improve workflow.

Identify (and work to reduce) dependencies

There’s tons useful in having another set of eyes on a bit of work–it are often difficult to identify even glaring issues when you’re too “in the weeds” with a given project. But dependencies are often a serious killer of productivity–and often, they aren’t as necessary as we lead ourselves to believe.

As a primary step, it are often helpful to spot dependencies before you start a project, in order that relevant stakeholders can plan ahead. subsequent level is to start out actively reducing dependencies on projects by consolidating or eliminating unnecessary review steps.

Document everything

If you’re trying to “move fast and break things” a la Mark Zuckerberg, it’d feel counter intuitive to hamper to document your process or findings. it’d even desire busywork, especially if you never do anything with all that documentation.

In my experience, teams who diligently, almost religiously, document everything they are doing are significantly more efficient than teams who don’t. But what sets them apart is that they really use their documentation–it’s a living, breathing library of insights, processes, and resources–not just a thing their boss or compliance team makes them do. They use past learnings to drive future behaviour, and that they create working documents that make it easy for everybody to remain on an equivalent page.

Prioritize work supported importance/urgency

Whether you employ a to-do list or Kanban board to manage your tasks, it’s important to possess a systematic–and ideally, visual–way to differentiate your most vital and urgent tasks from those “nice to haves” without hard-and-fast deadlines. Some teams use T-shirt sizes for this; others use a numeric approach. find out what is going to add up for your team, and begin prioritizing tasks accordingly.
Keep a running list of “later” tasks

You’re within the middle of a project, and you get one among those exciting “big ideas” for a replacement feature, campaign, or product–what does one do? If you drop everything and dive down a rabbit burrow , you would possibly fall behind on your current work. But if you don’t “strike while the iron is hot,” you would possibly lose the inspiration!

One great feature of Kanban boards is that you simply can use them to brainstorm, plan, prioritize, and execute your work, beat one place. you’ll create a lane, on the left of your board, and use it to carry those “half-baked” ideas. But unlike the paper napkin you always use to jot ideas, your Kanban board are some things you’ll come to, idea on, then use to make a full-fledged, prioritized card.

Focus on / measure flow

If you actually want to enhance your workflow, you would like metrics to live your performance. There are several ways to live workflows, like throughput, lead time, cycle time, et al. . you’ll measure these manually, or, if you’re employing a digital Kanban tool like LeanKit, you’ll set your cover to gather those metrics for you.

Start by gathering baseline data about your current performance, then set a reminder to review your metrics every few weeks or months. make certain to form note of once you implement specific improvements, so you’ll understand cause/effect relationships.