Who Owns Your Workflow?
Clearly, the idea of documenting your workflow architecture and environment resonated with those who read the last installment. It is not surprising! We all know that every business process should be backed up with documentation, but it is easy to push it down the priority list. Perhaps raising the visibility will help raise the priority!
The next item in the Workflow Quiz asked if there was an owner for your workflow process, and if you have an assigned owner, does that person have a named backup. It is an important question because without a named owner your workflow processes are at risk. In addition, without a backup, the risk only grows.
The role of the workflow owner is to take responsibility for the products and processes, ensure all software is maintained, review upgrades prior to implementation, identify potential changes in the workflow, and identify new products that could make the workflow more efficient. It is not a full time job on its own, but it is a job that requires a number of dedicated hours each month to do correctly. That owner should be named, and should be held accountable for the state of the workflow during reviews.
The Workflow Process is at the core of how jobs move through the business. Without a named, accountable owner, there are too many opportunities for workflows to become out of date or suffer unapproved alterations.
At a minimum, the workflow owner should know what sofwtare is installed and how it is being used in the workflow. They should have access to information about what version of each software application is installed, when it was last upgraded, and even what it costs to run. Is it Subscription as a Service with monthly costs? One time cost plus maintenance? How much is the maintenace and what is included? Just knowing what you pay isn’t enough. Are you actually using the software, applying patches and upgrading as needed? If you aren’t, it might be time to rethink how to make the most of your investment!
What applications in the workflow cause the most difficulty? What do you still do manually that might have an automated solution? The workflow owner needs to be on top of what is going on in the market, what new solutions come to market that could streamline and optimize current processes, and be empowered to reach out to vendors to learn more.
The idea of having a backup is that at any point in time the workflow owner could do such an amazing job that they are promoted! Who will take over? The best practice is to have someone ready to step in.
Pat McGrew, M-EDP, CMP is the Director and Evangelist for the Production Workflow Service at InfoTrends. As an analyst and industry educator, McGrew works with InfoTrends customers and its clients to promote workflow effectiveness. She also has a background in data-driven customer communication, and production printing with offset, inkjet, and toner. Co-author of eight industry books, editor of "A Guide to the Electronic Document Body of Knowledge," and regular writer in the industry trade press, McGrew won the 2014 #GirlsWhoPrint Girlie Award for her dedication to education and communication in the industry, and the 2016 Brian Platte Lifetime Achievement Award from Xplor International. Find Pat on Twitter as @PatMcGrew and LinkedIn.