If you joined us on our last blog, you learned about the value of a property management workflow, and we showed you how workflows can help you understand your property management business a little bit better.
Today on the Fourandhalf blog, we aim to continue that discussion and lead you around what a property management workflow really looks like.
Three Workflow or Process Levels
The first thing to understand about workflows or processes is that you can look at them from three levels:
- Level One Workflow
Here we have the highest workflow level. The Level One process is similar to an overview. Maybe we want to talk about the maintenance process. At the first level, our process would show that the maintenance request comes in from the tenant, and the property manager resolves the issue.
- Level Two
We prefer this second level. Here, we have more detail that helps us to really understand how the business works.
- Level Three
With the third level, you have the opportunity to look at your business closely and drill down into each step and list out the detail including tasks and actors.
Level Two will help with efficiencies. We suggest you start there.
Do you remember the three things you need for putting together your process flow? Those are:
- Understanding your outcomes.
- Capturing of the people involved in the workflow.
- Identifying the discrete tasks that are included in each workflow.
Let’s incorporate all those into an example.
Representing Your Workflow: Introducing Swim Lanes
You can use any number of workflow representations, and at Fourandhalf, we favour swim lanes. With our swim lanes, you get a clear look at the accountable party and the task to be completed. Then, if you want to drill in and connect the Level Three to the Level Two process model, it’s easy.
So here’s what a swim lane looks like.
Look to the left, and you’ll see the actors involved in any process. It’s important to know that the actors can be a system or a person. To the right, take a look at those lanes extending across and the arrows connecting task boxes with each individual task.
This shows you how information is moving through your workflow.
You can visit the Level Three model if you want deep detail. Simply go into each box and type out a detailed procedure in that box. You will see the high level view of information flow as well as a detailed step-by-step procedural account of tasks are completed.
Can you see how easy it is to connect the boxes and the arrows, associating each task with its actor? This provides you with a detailed look at how your information is traveling within your business.
Workflows and Decision Making
So what if you need to make a decision? Workflows can help. Represent each decision with a shape – we like diamonds. Then, you can have a box with each shape that allows you to select yes or no. Your next step is to identify what happens if the decision is a yes or a no.
Yes and no decisions each come with their own new set of tasks.
Looking at this, we hope you get an idea about how to put together a workflow. If you have questions or you’d like to talk about this in depth, please contact us at Fourandhalf.