Evolving Workflow Systems and Operating Practices

Workflow management systems are primarily designed to facilitate and enhance the way we work. Yet a common misconception is that a new system will eliminate the need for the personal interactions and follow-up that are a vital part of teamwork. While it’s true that a well-constructed system may prompt process refinement, eliminate unnecessary hand-offs and additional tasks, and redefine workflows, the value of relationships and communication among the team remains critically important to making decisions and sharing information about who works on what, when and how.

An effective system provides team members with a single, shared tool of truth—revealing actionable, real-time views of assignments, statuses, artifacts and assets. This not only saves time and improves the work product, it encourages more cohesive and effective teamwork.

Getting to that single, shared truth requires universal adoption. For many teams, a familiar obstacle to getting there is the fear that common documentation, information sharing, and asset-storage methods will constrain the creative process and add unnecessary time and effort to routine tasks. Well-meaning team members may think their way of doing things is best without recognizing that they are actually creating more work for others to track projects or locate files among a myriad of disparate manual systems and practices. The paradox is that if your team continues to save and store files in different places and document status (or not) to varying degrees, they will likely forfeit the time-saving and information enhancing advantages that a solid workflow management system can provide.

Your job is to inspire confidence in the value of adopting a new way of working by helping to ensure that the new system and engagement model truly addresses and eliminates inconsistent and inefficient processes without sacrificing creative ideation, development and delivery. Your team’s ultimate goal is to implement a workflow solution that results in less work about the work and more benefits for the team and the organization.

This editorial is also featured in our benchmarking study, In-House Agencies Today. IHAF members are welcome to download a complimentary copy of the full report. Non-members are encouraged to download our sample infographic or join IHAF for access to the full library of research and resources we provide.

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