Workflow Best Practices: Model Your Real Business Process

The first step in creating workflow templates for your various HCM activities is to model those processes. The Vista Workflow engine supports just about any variations in business flows, so you can model just about whatever you want.

One trap people fall into is modeling what they think ought to be, instead of what actually is. People will find a way to do what they want to do, as long as it fits within the bounds of managerial accountability. Therefore, if you as the flow designer create a process that differs from what actually occurs (and is acceptable to management), then you will be inviting problems.

And remember, “acceptable to management” does not necessarily mean what is written in the employee handbook—it means practices that are tolerated without adverse consequences.

As an example, let’s review a real-life scenario. A customer wanted to design a leave request workflow for their organization based on their corporate rule, which was pretty straightforward—“Employees who wish to take time off must submit the request to their supervisors, who must approve it prior to the leave being taken.” The directive is clear, and the resulting flow was simple: add an approval step that only executed the leave request if approved.

The problem was that upper management did not enforce this requirement, and most managers consequently never bothered to formally approve any leave requests. So, when the organization implemented this workflow, all of the leave requests sat in the different managers’ queues. Not only was the system clogged, but leave entries were not being recorded.

The problem, once again, was that they tried to model their hoped-for business practice, not their actual business practice. There’s an easy solution with Vista Workflow, and we covered it in our next article!

This is article is part of the Workflow Best Practices blog series. Missed last week’s tip? Click to check out our previous post, Trim the Approval Screen Display.

Marco Padovani
Senior Development Manager | PDS