I’ve seen people get confused when recommending apps in some of our online forums (Facebook Groups).
There are two major genres of productivity applications: Workflow Management and Project Management. There is a good deal of overlap between the two, hence the confusion, but in reality they are two very distinct kinds of applications.
When I think of a Workflow Management tool, I think of something that will automate a series of tasks. 17Hats.com is a great example of this. When I create a workflow in 17hats, I define a series of steps. These can take on the form, and look a lot like tasks in a Project Management scenario, but the reality is they are different.
The client on boarding process is a great example of something where we need a workflow management tool rather than project management. Outline the steps in your on boarding process and you’ll see what I mean.
The client agrees to get started, and the first thing you do is send out a welcome e-mail that outlines the on boarding process for the client, so it’s real clear and easy. Where would you set this up? It could be a task in a project, or it might be a step in a workflow. That’s it right there. Does that help you begin to see the difference, and why there is overlap, but why these are different animals. so to speak? A project has tasks, a workflow has steps.
A workflow is a series of steps that are dependent on one another. A project, can take on this form, but doesn’t necessarily have to. In a workflow you have a step to start the process. Then a trigger to begin the next step, and so on. Using the on boarding example, the first thing you do is send the client that welcome e-mail. That e-mail might include a questionnaire for them to fill out. Once that is complete, then you can send the contract. A workflow Management tool will send it out for you, with all of the appropriate information in place. A project management tool will outline the tasks, who needs to do them, and when, but there is no automation. Nothing is going to send out a contract for you. At most, you’ll get a notification reminding you to do it.
In the next few posts we’re going to look at how you might set up an on boarding workflow in BillQuick. Stay tuned, and have a safe, and happy New year.