Workflow Analysis: Apple’s Secret Ingredient to Success

By Ben Mulholland

workflow analysis - header

Apple is well-known for being innovative and immensely successful, to the point where the company is worth $750 billion (and counting). However, without a healthy dose of workflow analysis they would’ve crumbled under their own business model back in the late 1980s.

We could no longer afford the limitations that went with our product development processes… The lack of a formal new product development process led to confusion, wasted time, and often caused project teams to ‘re-create the wheel’” – Jackie Streeter (then VP of Engineering at Apple), Apple Rethinks Core Process: Improves Cycle Time

workflow analysis - apple

The simple truth is that any company (no matter the size or success) needs to regularly review its workflows and processes in order to keep them up to date and efficient. Tasks should be updated, improved, and automated where possible to save time and money, but without using the best workflow management software around to analyze and improve your business practices, your entire business model itself can prevent your success.

We’ve talked many times about topics like business process analysis and process improvement here on the Process Street blog, but today we’re diving deep into workflow analysis – of how to analyze your methods as a whole, rather than a specific process. This post will cover:

  • What workflow analysis is
  • Why you should care about it
  • How to find the areas which most need improving
  • How to analyze your workflows
  • Why it’s important to collaborate with the relevant teams to make improvements

After all, Apple didn’t get to be the tech giant it is by standing still, just as you won’t reach your goals by doing the same.

What is workflow analysis?

Workflow analysis is a fancy term for analyzing your business and picking out faults. You’re boosting your efficiency by improving and automating your business model as a whole, rather than an individual process.

As for the difference between a workflow and a process, many seem to think the terms are interchangeable, but this isn’t the case. Workflows (like the one below) are a collection of processes and events which fulfill a need or purpose, whereas processes accomplish a single goal. Workflows are flexible guidelines while processes are defined steps to follow.

workflow analysis - bpmn graph

Think of it this way; when carrying out your tasks, when was the last time you stopped to think about why you were doing them in that way? How do you know you’re doing them correctly? Without analyzing your workflows, the answer is that you have no idea, and could just as easily be doing more harm than good.

Think of it as business process analysis, but with a wider focus. By talking to everybody involved in your company, you can get an accurate view of what their workflows are and how to improve them.

It’s important to note that workflow analysis does not involve fine tuning individual processes. Instead, it’s a measure to identify the key areas that need improvement and the various ways you could tweak them. Go to the full article.

Source:: Business 2 Community

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