‘If the team gets the process right, it will get the performance right’.
Process clarity in any team is very important to enable the smooth running of the task. After the team has been given their task, responsibilities and performance goals, they are left to find ways to accomplish the task, moving it from start to finish and delivering the necessary results. Things can go haywire along the way and confusion can set in, but this can be helped with a clear process with definate action steps.
Attention to Detail During Teamwork
Attention to detail is very important for all teams whatever their task or team goals may be. If the team has planned things in detail it leaves a lot less room for errors and mistakes. An interesting case study on the car manufacturer Ford called ‘The Assembly Line and the $5 Day’ emphasises this point. It speaks of Henry Ford and how he paid close attention to each and every detail that went into the production process of the Model T (designated as the affordable car). The article portrays how Ford studied every job, and broke it down into individual tasks and eventually found ways to make sure that production speed was at a maximum.
This is exactly the kind of task that teams are often assigned to do. They have to use their collective knowledge and expertise to suggest innovative ways to improve the efficiency of a process. Attention to detail is vital for the team’s success on such projects. In fact, for the team to function optimally on any task, it is important to organise the work flow and coordinate it in a manner that ensures efficiency and timeliness in achieving the objectives. There is a simple tool that teams can use to achieve meticulousness. The flow chart is one such tool that can assist teams in detailing the task process.
Flow Charts as a Management Tool for Organising the Work Flow
A flow chart is a simple technique that helps bring method into madness. It is simply a diagrammatic representation of the steps or stages involved in a process, project or task. The flow chart can be used to depict the sequence of events, the major action points and how they are linked in accomplishing the task. It also helps identify bottlenecks and flaws in an existing process. When the team gains a thorough understanding of the current system they will be better equipped to chart out a process for the organization. They are used in a wide variety of office situations to streamline the workflowand can help a team in two ways:
(a) To understand the steps involved in a task and to outline the process necessary to perform that task effectively
(b) To suggest improvements in an existing process
Let’s first look at how the flow chart is used successfully in the software industry. A flow chart is usually drawn up by computer programmers before they write a computer programme, to help them elaborate on the steps involved in a process. The flow chart diagram gives clarity on the sequence of events or actions that the programmer must take into account before writing a computer programme. It creates a structure for the programmer and builds in the end user’s requirements from the software. The result is a software module that offers a complete and error free experience for the end user whether it’s a bank, an online book store, airline ticketing or any other automated business process.
If a flow chart can result in software development that has minimal to zero glitches, the same flow chart concept can help a team accomplish its task in a much more organised manner. The performance of the team is judged on results, and no team can deliver good results if they haven’t been meticulous in their approach to the task. The flow chart is a good tool to apply if teams are looking for ways to achieve a degree of thoroughness.
The flow chart also helps in integrating various aspects of teamwork. Each team member takes on a particular responsibility within the team, but all the team functions are linked and have to work in tandem in achieving the team’s common purpose. The process flow diagram can be used to highlight the individual functions as well. The value of the flow chart for process clarity is tremendous.
Click here to view an illustration of a Flow Chart Example
Auditors Guide to Flowcharting, By Jim Kaplan,
How to be a better Teambuilder, by Rupert Eales-White, Chapter 6- The power of process
The Assembly Line and the $5 Day – Background Reading, by Tom Hopper