Process Management Tools and ApplicationsMar 18, 2021
In our previous post, we donned our artist hats and sketched out our workflows. What’s next?
Now, we find where our workflows will live. While it’s entirely fine to have a checklist on a clipboard next to your desk or on a wall in your office, it’s not efficient or practical if most of your work is done on a computer. There are many simple, cost-effective tools you can use as digital clipboards. Most of them even come with editable templates.
Speaking of templates, if you mapped out your workflows and find that you want to bring your onboarding form out of Word and into something more modern, we got you covered. Click here to see our automation-ready JotForm templates. We will cover JotForm in more detail later in this series, but all our forms include step-by-step usage and customization guides.
Each of our forms includes a comprehensive video series on how to edit and use the form. While most of our forms are primarily used by Financial Advisors / Planners, Consultants and Attorneys there are some that are non-industry specific and the others can be customized further using our JotForm training courses. Purchasing the form will enable you to book a discounted Coaching Session with us to help you edit/modify the form for your specific needs if you need additional assistance.
Process Management Applications
*Note: For simplicity, we will use Process, Project and Work Management interchangeably. We will also use the terms application and tool interchangeably. To reiterate, the goal of this blog is to help business owners or operations managers get up and running with time-saving tools and automation as quickly as possible.
In our previous post, our good friend and Business Succession Planning Expert, Brooklyn Brock, touched on how you should set up your workflows and best practices for getting the most out of them. She also included tips on how to delineate them effectively. If you have not read the previous post, now would be a good time to do so. Not only is it full of useful information, but we included supplemental contacts and resources.
Moving along, let’s suppose you have your outline in hand. You’re ready to start using your workflows to run your business more efficiently. You’ve heard about all of these fancy process management applications, but aren’t sure what they are or what they do.
A Process Management Application (or tool) is an app that lets you digitally manage your tasks and processes. Think of it like a checklist you can click on. Most Process Management Applications are fairly similar, but where they vary can be a deal breaker, depending on what your organization needs. Since the goal of this blog is to help you automate without using any code or hiring experts, our list is limited to process management apps that integrate with our preferred automation tool, Zapier, which we will cover in depth at a later date. It’s worth noting that we will not include any applications above $30/month. Some applications can do everything on their own including workflow mapping, form building and automation, but $1000/month is unnecessary for most small to medium organizations. There are a host of web-apps you can use without being confined to one application.
Here are our favorite process management applications that integrate with Zapier:
- Process Street - Excels at static, consistent workflows that do not include one-off tasks. It is incredibly robust and simple to use.
- Trello - Excels at all types of workflows and can be used in a variety of ways. Trello is a digital Kanban board with extreme customization capabilities. Learning curve can be a bit daunting without a team member who will solely be responsible for this.
- Asana - It’s similar to Trello in that it excels at multiple types of processes and you can add one-offs to templates. Definitely worth checking out. In some ways it’s simpler to use than other tools.
- Todoist - Excels at task management. Very simple to use. Not as robust as the other tools, but it will get the job done with minimal effort. See other Zapier-preferred Task Management apps.
- Google Tasks - Nearly the same as Todoist, but works with Gmail accounts. It's a nice quality of life tool if your business runs on GSuite.
Note: Some popular tools have been left out because of the complexity required to make custom automations. Our goal is to get you automating without having to read any API documentation. As a small, wife and husband owned business, we understand how crucial it is to be efficient, deliberate and strategic with where you allocate your time.
As far as the above-mentioned applications go, Process Street is our personal favorite. The biggest reason being that it can be used for anything that will not change, such as:
- New Client Workflow
- Client Onboarding Workflow
- Financial Planning Workflow
- Review Meeting Workflow
Process Street Features
- Streamlined Zapier Integration
- Robust library of free templates for organizations
- Simple user interface
- Guest sharing (no additional licenses required)
- Sortable checklist feature to filter and sort workflows
- Conditional logic functionality (2nd tier of the paid plan)
- Smart tags / fields
- Configuring emails within checklists - this feature makes it so you can send emails after a meeting without leaving the client’s checklist. You can take notes in a separate and have them auto-populate in the body of an email.
Getting Started with Process Street
Click here to see the Official Getting Started with Process Street Guide. It’s short, simple and to the point.
The guide mentions form-building and automating. Though there are many things you can do with Process Street’s internal capabilities, we will get into those at a later date. For now, we encourage that you take your outlined workflows and play around with them and migrate them into Process Street. Here’s how you would do that:
Note: The following assumes you set up an account and have an outline ready.
- In the settings wheel under the templates tab, select "New folder".
- Title your folder something relevant to what it will contain
- Click “New” and select “Blank Template”
*If you do not have an outline, we recommend looking at Process Street’s templates. Like our JotForm templates, Process Street has comprehensive, yet easy-to-use templates that allow you to get started quickly and efficiently.
- Enter your tasks and subtasks
- The Form fields such as Short Text, Long Text, Email, Drop Down and Multi Choice can be added to make your Task sections more customizable.
Process Street is intuitive and its user interface enables you to get started in less than an hour if you have a rough idea of the information you want your checklist to contain.
We just introduced a lot of information and took a deep dive through the wonderful and excited world of process-mapping and workflow creation. We’re ready to pop that snot bubble and wake up. The next post will be a recess from the standard posts. Afterwards, we will hit the ground running with Scheduler Applications. See you next time!
Each of our forms includes a comprehensive video series on how to edit and use the form. For now, our forms are primarily used by Financial Advisors / Planners, Consultants and Attorneys. Purchasing the form will enable you to book a discounted Coaching Session with us to help you edit/modify the form for your specific needs if you need additional assistance.
This blog is written by the Sphynx Automation team to help DIYers use web-based apps.
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