Verifying work on-site is tough. Explaining to others how to do that work is even tougher. Here are some tips to use Workflows to make both of these easier and set your team up for success.
When teams don't know how to properly complete a task, the consequences can be dangerous, costly, and demoralizing. Good quality work instructions can have a positive ripple effect accross an organization when implemented properly. illu has designed Workflows to help teams accomplish this in a simple, easy-to-use way. So, how do you do this?
What should you focus on?
When writing work instructions, there are a few key qualities to focus on:
Clarity. Descriptions/instructions should be kept simple and clear. This means avoiding using acronyms or complex explanations.Adopt a K-I-S-S mentality and focus on the need to know information.
Visual. Photos and diagrams can help illustrate what needs to be done and should be included wherever possible. In addition to communicating how to do something, images such as icons can help communicate the tone/context of an action (e.g. warning sign icon)
Accessible. Good work instructions that are hard to find are ultimately not good enough. Teams need to be able to easily find instructions and information in the context that they need it in.
What does this look like in practice?
Here are some steps to do this in practice in workflows.
Use the first card to provide a brief introduction to the work:
This should make it clear what work the Workflow will walk through and what your team is expected to do with it. For example, if you want them to use the Input Fields (text and photo) in a specific way, say so.
Make your Workflows modular by making one workflow per task:
Instead of trying to include multiple types of tasks/actions in one Workflow, it is better to separate them into multiple Workflows that can each be attached to a Job individually and done in series. For example, instead of including the relevant HSE/PPE requirements to each Workflow you create, make individual workflows for each HSE/PPE need. When assigning them on a Job, you can simply add both the HSE/PPE + Work-task Workflows to the same job.
Before the action steps, list the materials/items needed for the task:
List out any tools, materials, or parts needed to successful complete the task in the Workflow. This is also a good place to list out any PPE/HSE requirements, if you have not yet
Be thoughtful about formatting your text:
Use special characters and line-spaces to format your instructions in a way that is clear and easy to read. Don't make your team do extra work trying to decipher the text in front of them.
Use clear and helpful images, but don't add an image just to have one:
It may be tempting to attach an image to every step, but in some cases this can detract from the efficacy of the card. Only attach an image that is of good enough quality to clearly demonstrate the task at hand. This helps mitigate against potential confusion caused by a poorly thought-out image. When possible, use editing tools like Paint or another image editor to draw attention to elements of a photo or diagram (arrows, circling something important, etc.).
When possible, test your Workflows with a couple team members:
Ask a couple team members to go through the Workflow with a fresh pair of eyes. If possible, have them perform the task in person and monitor which steps they struggle with and note any misunderstandings. Do this until you know you have a reliable Workflow.
Be open to feedback and revision:
You won't get it right the first time. Probably not the second either. But that is ok! The more feedback you get from your team, especially while in the field, the better your Workflows will get. We have made it easy to edite and update workflows so you can capture this feedback in real-time and make sure that your Workflows to up to date.