In this lesson we’re going to cover:
- What a workflow run is and why it is important
- How to run the workflow step by step
- What to do if you get stuck
- What running workflows makes possible for your business
- Putting it into practice so that you can start straight away
Estimated time for this lesson ~ 10 minutes
This lesson is part of our onboarding program. Find out more about what you’ll learn from the program when you’re getting started.
What is a workflow run and why is it important?
Beyond simply referencing a documented process, with a workflow run you can actually manage and track the work that is being done so you know exactly what has been completed and what needs to happen next.
A workflow is the master blueprint of your process, which includes all the usual steps and details involved in a particular workflow. A workflow run, on the other hand, is a single instance of that process in which you actually implement the work.
For each process in your business, you first build a workflow, then you run the workflow each time you need to work through that process. While each process will have just one workflow, the number of runs you create from it can be limitless. To infinity and beyond!
For example, if you have a workflow for your client onboarding process, you will run the workflow for each individual client. This way, even if you are onboarding 20 new clients all at once, you know exactly where each account stands and what still needs to be done.
You can check the progress of any workflow runs at any time and, once you’ve assigned your teammates to tasks within the run (we’ll cover this in an upcoming lesson), you can keep an eye on who is accountable for certain parts of the process too. Neat huh?
How do you run the workflow step-by-step?
- Log into your Process Street account
- Click the three dots next to your workflow’s name (or click its name) to open the workflow menu (If you don’t have a workflow yet, check back for guidance on starting your Priority Process)
- Click the ‘Run’ button
- Type in a name for your workflow run (Hint: Give it a name that identifies this specific instance of your process, such as your client’s name, product ID, or today’s date. Don’t worry, you can always edit it later).
- Start from the top and check off tasks as you go!
If you find yourself stuck
Here are some common challenges people face when getting started running workflows, along with our best advice for getting back on track.
Wait, what’s the difference between a “workflow” and a “workflow run” again?
A workflow is the master version of the process and a workflow run is a single instance of that process.
Imagine you documented a process and put it in a binder on your shelf to reference any time you need it — that’s your workflow. Now imagine you want to track your progress as you work through that process, so you grab the binder off the shelf and make a photocopy so you can mark it up and check things off as you go – that’s your workflow run.
You can refer back to the video above if you’d like more clarification, but the best way to understand how it all works is to experience it first hand. So go ahead, run the workflow!
What if I need my processes for reference only?
Some businesses only want to document their processes for reference. After all, why go to the trouble of running the workflow every time you need to go through the steps when you can just refer to a document?
Superpowers, that’s why!
Companies who use processes for reference-only often find that they are not followed consistently, the documentation gets stale with time, and tasks slip between the cracks. Remember that binder on the shelf? Poor thing has a way of collecting dust.
The simple act of running workflows creates natural accountability within your team, gives you the ability to collaborate easily, and provides a track record of exactly who did what and when. And that’s just the beginning. In upcoming lessons, we’ll show you how you can take your workflow runs even further using automation to truly give your team superpowers.
In the meantime, our recommendation? Commit to running workflows every day for the next two weeks and we predict you’ll never turn back.
Running workflows is a game-changer
As you start running workflows in Process Street, you’ll be able to manage numerous processes simultaneously and save plenty of precious time to boot.
One of our customers, Egg Donor Solutions, regularly manages dozens of family planning projects with lots of data to track and moving parts to account for. With multiple account coordinators in various locations, ensuring that every client’s important fertility journey stays on track at all times had been proving arduous and time-consuming.
Since implementing Process Street, they told us that by utilizing workflow runs they now save 45 minutes per day just on team status updates alone. That’s almost 4 hours a week… 15 hours a month… nearly 275 hours a year of valuable time they now spend on other higher leveraged activities!
Another customer, Tech MD, said that before using Process Street, they struggled to keep track of workflow runs used across multiple teams, and lacked a centralized storage system where all they could be easily found.
“We’ve used checklists in the past. What we didn’t have was a checklist management system that puts everything in one place and allows everybody to develop checklists and access them easily. Process Street does that really well; there’s clarity on where checklists are and when they’re being used. We want a checklist library type of a system, and that’s what we’ve found in Process Street and more.”
Time to play!
If you haven’t done so already, follow the steps above to run the workflow from the priority process that you already created.
Now, follow the steps in your process and check off the tasks as you work your way down the list.
When you check off the final task, the workflow run is completed and you might be able to celebrate with a confetti party on your screen! You’re welcome 🙂
Helpful resources for you:
- Read the Checklist Manifesto to see why workflow runs are so important!
- Watch a recap on the difference between workflows and workflow runs
- Writing Workflows: Tips & Tricks From 15 Thriving Businesses
- Contact our Process Pros team for support