What is a Workflow?

Overview

Everyday work can feel chaotic. But a lot of it actually repeats in predictable ways. We onboard new teammates using the same sequence of steps. New work requests go through a series of consistent stages. There are repeatable patterns in how we move work forward. 

These are workflows.

What is a workflow?

workflow

Think of workflows like roads and highways.

Just like a vehicle, work flows to get to its destination. A workflow can be as small as the road from your house to the corner store or as large as a set of interstate freeways.

And just like roads, workflows can end up congested, confusing, and even broken.

The Asana Work Graph

workgraph

Asana’s unique Work Graph allows you to build powerful workflows that transform confusing emails and spreadsheets into automated processes.

Map out your workflow

You can build a workflow for almost any part of your work that involves a series of steps you follow in a repeatable and systematic way.

The first step to building a workflow in Asana is to map out how your current process works.

map

Identify your workflow’s start and end points.

For example, a team that manages customer feedback identifies that the start of their workflow is when they receive feedback from a customer facing team. The end of their workflow is after they have actioned on that feedback and are ready to circle back to the original submitters.

local field

Build out the steps from beginning to end.

As you do this, identify who is doing what and what tools they’re using.

stages

Group the steps together into stages.

For example, “Intake”, “Processing,” and “Resolution.”

Common workflow stages

stages

All workflows are unique, but many go through some version of these core stages:

1. Planning

Examples of actions in the planning stage include

  • Ideation or information gathering
  • Taking requests
  • Prioritization and resourcing for projects

2. Execution

Examples of actions in the execution stage include

  • Development and review of deliverables
  • Progress tracking of work

3. Review

Examples of actions in the review stage include

  • Feedback & approval on deliverables
  • Reporting back to stakeholders

A few examples:

workrequests

Work requests

sprint

Sprint planning

applicant

Applicant tracking

Once you’ve mapped out your workflow, it’s time to build the foundation of your workflow. Check out the next article in this series

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