Whether we’re looking at our own internal workflows or the handoff of information with our clients, we’ve been trained to leap straight from problem to the software that claims to be a solution without any consideration for the most important step: process.
As the industry grapples with the promise (or threat?) of disruptive technologies like artificial intelligence and blockchain, it feels as if we know at least one thing for certain - technology, in some form, will be critical to the survival of our firms.
One of my partners loves to remind me that our problems are never software problems, they’re always process problems. At its most fundamental level, every workflow must have three things to operate efficiently:
- clear expectations among all parties
- explicit divisions of responsibility
- a working communication and feedback loop
That’s all. Process. Technology is highly effective at taking an existing process and automating or streamlining it to eliminate steps and save time. But without process, the smartest, most advanced software on the planet won’t do your firm an ounce of good.
So, before you start searching for your firm’s next software tool to implement, ask yourself: have I solved this workstream’s process problem, first? If not, consider starting with these steps Before making a product decision:
1. Draw the Diagram
Seriously. Process flow diagrams are the clearest way to communicate the steps in a workflow. They eliminate confusion and ambiguity in a way that merely having a conversation about a process cannot.