All posts in Business Processes


What is a Workflow? A Simple Guide to Getting Started

what is a workflow

If you look at the Wikipedia definition of a workflow, you’re probably going to get confused as I did:

“A workflow consists of an orchestrated and repeatable pattern of business activity enabled by the systematic organization of resources into processes that transform materials, provide services, or process information It can be depicted as a sequence of operations, declared as work of a person or group, an organization of staff, or one or more simple or complex mechanisms.”

Let’s put this simply…

Workflows are the way people get work done, and can be illustrated as series of steps that need to be completed sequentially in a diagram or checklist.

Think of it literally as work flowing from one stage to the next, whether that’s through a colleague, tool, or another process. You can execute a full workflow alone (like writing, editing and publishing a blog post), or it can involve multiple people (like invoicing a client).

In this Process Street article, we’ll be looking at:

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How to Create an Operations Manual for Your Business (and Avoid Nuclear War)

operations manual operational excellence operational knowledge

Having an operations manual may not be glamorous, but preventing the disasters caused by human error and bad processes can save your business and even (in extreme circumstances) millions of lives.

If you’ve ever seen Dr. Strangelove, you’ll know it’s ridiculous. You’ve got a mad scientist, a cowboy pilot riding a bomb as it falls, and a nuclear holocaust brought about by a series of overblown human (and mechanical) errors.

operations manual - dr strangelove

Yet, despite being criticized as unrealistic, at the time it was entirely possible for human error to cause a Third World War. Hell, human error has already caused the worst nuclear accident to date.

A perfect storm of 6 human errors — culminating with staff thinking it was ok to turn off the emergency cooling system — caused the Chernobyl disaster, costing an inflation-adjusted $720 billion, 30 deaths and an extreme amount of unsafe radiation.” – Ben Brandall, How Processes Protect Your Business From Crashing and Burning

The truth is, the only way to prevent such errors is to document workflows and processes, and the only way to make sure your employees know what they have to do, how to do it, and have the resources to do it is to create your own operations manual.

In this Process Street article, we’ll be covering:

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8 Time-Saving Hacks & Shortcuts for Process Building (From Our Team)

Top 5 Secret Hacks and Tricks in Process Street_1

96% of businesses use some kind of business process documentation, indicating a desire to document processes. Yet only 2% have fully documented processes that can be relied on for smooth business functioning, despite the widely reported benefits. There seems to be a knowledge gap preventing the full documentation of business operations. This article aims to close that gap and make it easier to build business processes for leaders worldwide.

A business process is a set of steps that, when completed in the required order, deliver the desired business outcome. Process building – aka business process documentation – is the documentation of these steps to create an actionable system to work from.

In this Process Street article, we turn to the process experts. We asked our internal team to give their top tips on process building, and here’s what we found out. We present you with our 8 time-saving tips for efficient process building.

Let’s start building!
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13 Types of Project Proposals That Get Approved (and How to Write Them)

project proposal - header

Project proposals are how you can get management to act on your ideas. They’re the bottom-up version of a project request form.

Writing a project proposal isn’t rocket science, but it is a lot harder if you don’t have something like a template to give you a head start.

Using a template for your proposals gives you a document which you can reference throughout the entire project. It’s a great example of effective business process management – the proposal acts as a banner that your whole team can rally around to ensure you’re all working towards the same goal.

So, in this Process Street post, I’ll go through how to create a project proposal, that gets approved, by going through the following topics:

Ready to get started?
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How Process Street Facilitates Teaming and Retains Company Knowledge

How Process Street Facilitates Teaming and Retains Company Knowledge

“It is largely determined by the mindset and practices of teamwork, not by the design and structures of effective teams. Teaming is teamwork on the fly.” – Professor Amy Edmondson, Teaming: How Organizations Learn, Innovate, and Compete in the Knowledge Economy

When I started this post for Process Street, it suddenly occurred to me exactly how much of my time is spent on the concept of “teams” – writing about them, talking about them, thinking about them, participating in them.

Teams have taken over my life. It was only a matter of time before I ran into “teaming.”

Teaming was coined and developed by Professor Amy Edmondson, who also has the rather distinguished achievement of founding the MIT Leadership Center.

Obviously, she’s a very qualified person who knows what she’s talking about, but when has that ever stopped my skepticism before? 🙃

I’m kidding. Teaming is an idea purpose-built for the contemporary tech-centric, remote office, pivot on a dime work environment. This post will explain what it is, how it’s been used, and how Process Street makes it easy for anyone to adopt.

Let’s team up!
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Systematize Your Business With This Foundr Course from Process Street’s CEO

Systematize Your Business With This Foundr Course from Process Street's CEOSystematizing your business is one of the biggest challenges any founder or executive faces when trying to scale.

I’ve seen it personally in my businesses and in the experiences of our customers. It’s the problem which led to us creating Process Street when I ran a small business. It’s the problem people and businesses of all sizes now come to Process Street to overcome.

Thousands of customers like Accenture, AstraZeneca, and Salesforce are solving processes from small business needs to critical enterprise and infrastructure processes.

It’s important to learn not just how to get things done, but how to do that repeatedly, effectively, and efficiently as your team grows.

This is where business systematization comes in.

A huge part of that is process management. According to our research, 42% of respondents say their teams have no time to create processes. You cannot systematize if you fail to document your processes.

In fact, process documentation is only the first step. What about adherence, integration, automation?

That’s why, as Process Street’s CEO, I was so excited to collaborate with Foundr to create a course to take you from process-less to process pro. The course is now available for registrations – you have until September 8th to get involved, so make sure to register ASAP if you’re interested.

I’ll give you the platform and the playbook to systemize your business in just 10 minutes per day, all delivered through Foundr’s intuitive learning experience.

Foundr magazine is one of the leading media outlets for entrepreneurs, small business owners, and executives. The course comes carefully prepared with video lessons, playbooks, and an explanation of my proven DIA Method.

As part of the Process Street family, I’m offering you the chance to register now and get 4 free masterclass lessons where I’ll explain my 10 minute MVP approach to supercharging processes in record time.

Click here to register!

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50+ Free & Easy SOP Templates (Sample SOPs to Record Standard Procedures)

easy SOP standard operating procedures example templates

Writing standard operating procedures is a cumbersome task but a serious requirement for businesses the world over.

In many industries it is important to have documentation which shows you have been adhering to ISO guidelines. This can help you clinch major clients and demonstrate your professionalism.

However, when you’re starting out with your first SOPs it can be difficult to know where to begin.

That’s why we’ve pulled together a range of the best free SOP templates for you to work from.

Simply go through the available SOPs below and pick out the one best suited to your needs. We’ve included Microsoft Word templates and Process Street ones too. You’ll also find a guide for writing SOPs to help you get started.

Given that it can be intimidating writing standard operating procedures, we have provided a number of industry-specific examples plus suggestions for how you can pull together basic SOPs even if they’re not documented according to ISO standards.

Read through the following sections to get completely clued up:

Let’s dive in.
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Can Today’s COO Still Benefit from Hammer and Champy’s Reengineering the Corporation?

Can Today's COO Still Benefit from Hammer and Champy's Reengineering the Corporation?

I view most management gurus with the same wariness and suspicion the average person might approach a traveling medicine show peddling sparkling water as a miracle cure. Or, in this case, basic common sense as innovative management techniques.

Recently, I picked up Reengineering the Corporation by Dr. Michael Hammer and James Champy, both highly lauded as leading practitioners of their own concept. Based on their personal bios and their book, both are imminently pleased with themselves about this.

Fair enough. If I’d built an entire career on a single concept, I’d be pretty pleased with myself, too.

But is their idea still relevant nearly 30 years later?

I wanted to find out, so I asked many experts many, many questions (shoutouts to the ones who didn’t file restraining orders! You’re the best 💖) and read far too many long-winded reports.

These are the things I’m willing to do for you. That’s how much I care.

And because I care, I’ve taken all that super relevant knowledge, filtered it through my usual scampishness, and now offer you an overview of the book, the concept, and what it means for your favorite COO.

Let’s go break some stuff.
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How Premier Claims Uses Process Street to Efficiently Handle New Claims and Client Intake

How Premier Claims Uses Process Street to Effortlessly Handle New Claims and Client Intake-01 (1)

Premier Claims is a public adjusting firm that secures an average increase on claim payments 700% greater than before their involvement in the negotiation. They represent policyholders and contractors when negotiating fair claim settlements from insurance carriers on property damage. This includes damage from hail, wind, fire, and smoke.

Premier Claims discovered Process Street in July 2020, and have since moved many of their processes to our platform. Process Street has given Premier Claims an easy and elegant means of collecting and securely storing client information.

One such process Premier Claims uses Process Street for is their Claims and Client Intake Workflow. When the Process Street version of this workflow was first beta-tested, the salesperson’s response spoke volumes to the reliefs Process Street brings the Premier Claims team.

[Process Street is]…literally the easiest thing in the world.” – Premier Claims salesperson, Claims and Client intake workflow Demo

Premier Claims wanted to share their positive experience from using Process Street and decided to create a video demo of their Claims and Client Workflow.
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A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating an Effective Swim Lane Diagram

A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating an Effective Swim Lane Diagram

Burkhard Berger is the founder of awesomex™. His articles include some of the best growth hacking strategies and digital scaling tactics that he has learned from his own successes and failures.

Process mapping is almost always beneficial to those working within the process, and those working outside it. Not all processes should be mapped in the same way. A simple process run by only one or two people can be easily represented by a basic flow chart; a process that involves multiple individuals or cross-functional teams is going to need something more complex.

Like a swim lane diagram.

Designing your own swim lane diagram – or even just mapping a process for the first time – can seem daunting. Where do you even start?

I don’t mean to brag, but we here at Process Street are kind of experts on this whole managing processes thing, and one thing we definitely know how to do well is map out processes of every shape, size, and situation. This post will walk you through all the basics of swim lane diagrams, including how to create your own one step at a time.

You can either read on to get the whole history of swim lane diagrams, or just jump straight to the tutorial:

So, let’s dive in! 🏊‍♀️
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