Your team is extremely talented and skilled. They put 110 percent into their work, and they are passionate and diligent.
… But there is still a challenge: execution.
Team members struggle with clearly tracking the progress of new projects or orders into the production pipeline. They complete tasks, but those tasks aren’t visible to the rest of the team or they’re completed in a vacuum. There is a ton of time spent on back-and-forth communication trying to figure out the status of a project or task.
Sound familiar? If your organization struggles with closing the gaps between strategy and execution, then we have good news for you…
- You aren’t alone.
- We have a solution.
… And that solution is automation.
Can automated workflows really help? In our experience, the answer is YES.
In this article, we will highlight the value and benefits from workflow automation, how to determine when to automate, and some examples of automated workflows you can build in Rindle to get you started.
Workflow Automation: What Are the Benefits?
“Automation” is a shiny, new buzz word, and it is also intimidating. However, the truth is that automation can help teams and businesses in many ways.
Here are some of the benefits of leveraging automation:
- Keeps all team members on the same page in terms of status and next steps
- Sets repetitive, tedious tasks on “autopilot”
- Saves you and your team tons of time
- Increases productivity
- Allows team members to work faster
- Increases project delivery
- Improves consistency and efficiency
- Provides repeatable, predictable results
When team members collect data, plan, schedule and deliver projects, they can see many of the processes that go into automation first hand. This allows them to focus on more important tasks and better time management.
When Should You Automate?
We know what you might be thinking: Automated workflows sound great and all, but how and where do you start?
At Rindle, we get this question a lot. This is why we make it super easy to build automations and apply them to your existing workflows and even help you build new workflows.
Here are some examples of when you should automate:
– Notifications. Notifying a team member when a certain event takes place or is completed in Rindle.
– Reviews and Approvals. Depending on your workflow, you may have steps that require review from an internal team member, such as an editor, QA engineer, or manager approval.
– Delegation. Again, depending on your workflow, you may want to automatically delegate or assign a task to a specific team member. With Rindle, you can set up filters that auto-assign tasks based on a user’s or team member’s role.
Identifying and Mapping Value
When considering which workflows to automate and how to automate them, we recommend considering the overall value of a workflow:
– Identify value
– Map the value stream
– Create the flow
– Monitor and adapt the flow
All in all, understanding the value you are trying to achieve behind an automated workflow will help you to determine and establish the best methodology for automated workflow design.
4 Efficient and Scalable Workflows
Now that you understand the benefits of workflow automation, which automated workflows can you build? Here are the top four most efficient and scalable workflows to build in Rindle.
1. Baseline Workflow
The baseline workflow can work for virtually any team—a marketing team, a software or IT team, a product development team, and so on.
The baseline workflow involves taking a Kanban approach to projects, which involves setting up a project board with the basic columns: “To Do”, “Doing”, and “Done”. It’s one of the most commonly used workflows among businesses and makes for an excellent starting point.
Building the Backlog
The best place to start is to build a prioritized backlog. This column should be a list of all the projects and tasks you want to get done. Typically this column is prioritized from the top, down. So, the task at the top of the backlog is ultimately the next thing that should get done. If you have new ideas or tasks to complete, then add them to the bottom of the backlog list, or when there is availability.
All in all, this baseline workflow is a good starting point for getting acclimated and building automated workflows. It’s also really easy for leaders and team members to wrap their heads around. And the best part? It’s also easy to scale from here.
For example, you can add a “Blocked” column for tasks that can’t progress further in the workflow. If ideas and creativity are important to your team’s workflow, you can also keep a list of “Ideas” for the team to store any inspiration that strikes.
2. Approvals and Reviews
Depending on the nature of your business or projects, you may have a “review and approval” milestone in each of your projects, which involves sharing updates, assets, or progress with clients that require their approval before your team can move ahead with production.
In our experience, this phase of the project is often when delays occur. This is also a phase when the team loses control of the project schedule, since the start of the next task or milestone depends on client’s or another team member’s feedback and approval. You can build an automated workflow to help reduce some time and also build some accountability into the workflow.
For example, let’s say we want to alert the team’s Creative Director when a review is needed. To build this workflow, we need two parts: a trigger and an end action.
In this example, the trigger looks for when a task moves to the “Review & Approval” list in the workflow. Then, once the trigger has been met, a notification is sent to the #creative-director channel in Slack and an email is also sent.
To take this one step further, we can also keep the project manager or leader in the know when the task has been reviewed and approved. Set the trigger to when the task’s “Custom Field: Approval” is set to “Approved”.
The trigger is: Notify the project manager. Then, the action moves the task to the next list — which is into the “Done” column, in this example. This helps project leaders or managers stay up to date while also enabling them to update the client.
Building an automated workflow for the sales process has proven to be useful for many teams.
Here is one basic example of an automated sales workflow:
Step 1: A lead books a call through a shared calendar link, such as Google Calendar, Calendly, or HubSpot with a sales representative via social media or your website.
Step 2: A task is automatically generated and assigned to a sales representative to take the call with the prospect.
Step 3: After completing the task to take a prospect’s call, the sales representative then receives an automated task to send a quote or proposal.
Step 4: Upon receiving the signed proposal or agreement, the prospect becomes a “client” in your CRM.
Step 5: The client is then ready to begin the onboarding process.
Of course, this is one example to get you started with Rindle. Depending on the available tools in your tech stack, you can also take this workflow one step further and use a third-party automation tool—like Zapier—to build an automation between Rindle and your CRM or sales dashboard so that specific fields are automatically updated when a lead or prospect becomes a customer.
Any leader or manager who managed a marketing project is all too familiar with delays in the project. As we briefly explained above, marketing projects are often delayed for the following reasons:
1) Unclear goals, specifications, or direction
2) Loss of momentum or visibility during review cycles
The good news is an automated marketing workflow can help solve both of these issues. Here is an example:
Step 1: Build a campaign brief in a form-builder, such as Google Forms, Typeform, or Terraform.
Step 2: Once a campaignbrief is completed, build an automation that sends a notification to a team member via Slack. You can also use Rindle to auto-assign a task to a team member to review and vet the brief.
Step 3: Because the majority of marketing projects involve creating content, such as copy, design, graphics, making website updates, or even building a website from scratch, these projects require multiple review steps.
For example, here are some of the common roles that might review a marketing project:
- QA – A QA engineer needs to know when to test a certain feature that’s been developed.
- Copy Editing – You have a step in your workflow that requires a copy editor to review a piece, like a blog post.
- Creative Director Review – If you’re in an agency, a creative director or art director needs to have their eyes on the content or design before it goes out to the client.
- Manager Approval – Before tasks are considered complete, a manager must review and approve the task.
Again, you can use Rindle to set up these review cycles in your automated marketing workflow, and send notifications to team members when an asset is ready for review.
This easily reduces back-and-forth communications trying to figure out who needs to review what, which also reduces execution delays, and increases team output.
How to Design Your Ideal Workflow
The examples we provided above are just to help you get started. You may need to adjust your workflow accordingly so that it works best for you and your team.
Here are some tips to help you to design your ideal workflow:
1. Begin with clear start and endpoints. Determine where the workflow starts (what actions and triggers are needed) and where it ends.
If you are unsure of the exact points where a workflow should begin and end, you may want to test out a few different processes to figure out the best solution.
2. Figure out the middle pieces. Once you have clear start and endpoints, filling in the middle pieces is easier. These middle steps should integrate properly into a workflow.
3. Map out your new workflow. One of the best tools to help you figure out an automated workflow is to draw a sketch. You can use a digital tool or app, such as Tallyfy, LucidChart or a slide deck, or you can use thegood, old-fashioned, tried and true pen and paper.
By taking a few minutes to sketch out your workflow, you can:
- Gain clarity over each step
- Identify gaps
- Highlight and note any task dependencies
- Identify opportunities for simplification or for improvements
Rindle is Here to Bring Scalability to Your Growth
All in all, many businesses, marketers, teams, and project leaders are hesitant about using automation in their workflows. Since automation is still a relatively new concept, many still find it intimidating and worry that it will replace jobs.
However, by embracing automation, teams are in a better position to adapt, evolve, grow, and scale. Identifying and recognizing opportunities to build automated workflows, improve processes, and streamline operations are critical for the future success of your team and business—and Rindle is here to guide you along the way.