Workflow and buisness processes is an expansive topic, and the information here should be read as a general guide only.
One of the most common workflow concepts is a status change. A status change occurs when something significant happens in the life-cycle of a job, or the workflow, therefore, a status change is almost always pre-empted by some sort of transistion.
Changing the status of a job is done via the Action screen, and the Status drop-down box. In workflow terms for HelpMaster, this is achieved by completing an Action Template that has been built into the workflow.
Common Status states
Think of job status codes as distinct markers within the lifecycle of a job that can quickly identify where the job is at. Ideally the status of a job should be un-ambiguous and be readily understood by all staff members who use HelpMaster.
Some common status codes are:
- In progress
- Awaiting for… (usually suffixed with what you're waiting for)
- On hold… (usually suffixed with the reason why the job is on hold..eg. Awaiting client, Awaiting Supplier, Awaiting Parts etc.)
Job Status codes play an important role in workflow, automation, reporting and queue management. Try to define only as many Job Status codes as you need, and no more. Having too many will erode meaning and make it difficult for staff and clients to understand the true state of the job. Note that HelpMaster also has Job State, as well as Workflow Milestones to assist in these areas.
A common part of any business process is validation - the act of checking that something is as it should be. It could be a value, a condition, a date, or other artefact within a job. Oftentimes, a workflow cannot, or should not progress until something has been checked and validated as being OK. HelpMaster supports validation by having a control-set validation object that can be used at any time within a workflow.
Utilize the automation features of HelpMaster to work in harmony with your workflow. Understand how the Email Manager, Priority Manager, or Triggered Events can affect your workflow. Each one of these features can be triggered and/or update workflow based on details within the job. There is a lot of power and flexibility here to create great workflow processes.
Consider adding an “Approval step” in workflow. Oftentimes in workflow, the process will reach the point where an approval decision needs to be made by someone, or something (database value). An approval step allows the workflow to branch into a different direction based on the input of the person using the workflow. A simple Yes/No decision may be appropriate for many decision, however for more complex decisions, consider using the Change Management feature. An entire Change Management process can be embedded as a step within a workflow. Use multiple Change Management requests if need be. Remember that Change Management Requests can also spawn new jobs for Implementation, Review and other stages.
Think of a hand-over as a job reassignment. The difference is, the hand-over/assignment is usually to someone else in a completely different skillgroup, or functional area of the business. A hand-over is a workflow concept that applies when part of a workflow that has been designed for one team completes those steps, and needs to "hand-over" the job to another team so that the next part of the workflow can be completed by them.
- New Starter: Human resources > Information Technology > Facilities Management
- Software Development Bug: Software developer > Testing team
A hand-over occurs when the job is passed to a different person/team for the next stage of work. Usually this involves the following:
- Re-assigning the job
- Changing the job status
- Sending notification emails
These things can all be achieved via the use of a single Action template.
Consider also using a Workflow Milestone to identify the change and provide a data-point for searching, reporting and filtering.
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