Ever feel like there’s a missing link in your work?
Here’s an exercise to find out.
Write down every tool that you use in your workflow.
This could run the gamut from your email provider to spreadsheets to your CRM or tech stack.
Now, take this a step further.
Write down all the tools your manager uses, plus 2-3 other colleagues.
A lot of them are the same, but a few will be different.
It may feel like you need a certain tool that connects the dots, makes integrations run more smoothly or connects to your platforms.
What is workflow management, anyway?
I like this definition:
“Workflow management is creating and optimizing the paths for data in order to complete items in a given process. It includes mapping out the workflow in an ideal state, finding redundant tasks, automating the process, and identifying bottlenecks or areas for improvement.”
It’s automation on hyperdrive— not only automating one part of your work, but connecting and automating all of your business processes, too.
There’s not one magic workflow app out there to connect everything, but lots of tools are making it easier–depending on your context and situation.
There’s a good chance you’ll need several of these workflow apps to make it all work.
That’s why we’re not leaving you high and dry with only a few options. Your team may be efficient in one area (like communication) but lacking in another (like storage).
In this post, we’ll examine the key areas for workflow management and help you find functional tools that will finish the final link in your chain.
Task Management Software
You can’t do anything without task management software to help you be productive on your projects. This is the first essential step in solving any of your workflow problems.
Before you know what your workflow is, you need a place to record tasks, add details and then assign the work before determining the order.
Keep that fact in mind.
Many tools will try and lock you into a certain system–therefore creating the workflow plan for you–rather than you taking complete control. The best project management tools will give you the flexibility to work the way you want to.
Task management and project management software is the backbone to what you’re doing in your work, especially if you work with any teams.
As one of the most flexible task management systems available, ClickUp truly enhances your productivity rather than frustrate you. We give you multiple viewpoints to access your work with a List, Board, Box, Calendar and Gantt chart. You then can assess your work the way you want.
Create projects for each of your different workflows or processes, and then create and assign those individual tasks out to people on your team.
ClickUp has multiple assignee functionalities as well, allowing you to assign several people to one task.
Key ClickUp Features for Workflow Management:
- Multiple Views— List, Board, Box, Time View, and Gantt. Time view includes real-time calendar sync!
- Assigned Comments – Assign action items for yourself or others—right inside the comments
- Checklists — Create a list of items that must be reviewed before the process is complete
- Subtasks — Create another task to follow up or to add to the main task
- Multiple Assignees – Collaborate together on a single task
- Custom Statuses – Customize your workflow with statuses to fit each individual project.
- Integrations – Manage and collaborate on Git workflows, sync time tracking with Harvest, and send tasks to and from Slack. And those aren’t the only ones!
- Recurring Tasks– Automatically cause important tasks to repeat at specified intervals.
- Multitask Toolbar – Easily select multiple tasks or groups of tasks and make as many changes as you want with a single click.
- Rich Text Editing – Add details, images, and markdown to any comment or task details
- Templates– Retain the structure of your favorite Spaces, Projects, Lists, and checklists for later use.
- Priorities – Create custom priority levels, and organize tasks based on their importance to a project.
- Drag and Drop – Drag and drop tasks no matter where they are in ClickUp – Board, List, or Box view.
- Favorites– Create your own customized sidebar to include sorting, filtering, and even your favorite view.
- Goals – Set goals for your team to stay focused
Pricing: Free to $17 per month
Trello is known for its Kanban boards: an easy way to see tasks and their statuses. This makes a lot of sense for workflow management, as you move a task from one status to another–such as “in progress” or “done”.
Trello locks you into the board view system–but at least it provides consistency across your team.
Key Trello Features for Workflow Management:
- Tags and labels
- Drag-and-drop functionality
- Progress charts
- Reminders and due dates
- Kanban board view
- Statuses with boards
Pricing: Free to $9.99 per user per month
Asana is simple to use and will aid your workflow management. It streamlines workflows, aids with task management and brings project management down to its simplest terms.
It lacks core project management functionalities–like a Gantt chart–but it will still serve as a central hub for your work.
Key Asana Features for Workflow Management
- Activity and notification feed
- Attachments for file management
- Multiple views
- Project permissions
- Custom fields
Pricing: Free to $19.99 per user/month
Lucidchart is an all-in-one diagram platform that will help you think through and map out each of your processes and what needs to happen next.
It’s perfect for flowcharts, product specs, or org charts. It creates the chain of command and then factors in any contingencies in a cohesive way. You can then share the diagrams across the organization or team to help everyone see exactly what needs to happen next.
Its advanced features give you A.I capabilities and Visio integration.
Key LucidChart Features for Workflow Management:
- Create and edit shapes for diagrams and processes
- Hide layers within diagrams
- Import from similar tools
- Automated diagramming
- Notes for commenting/collaboration
Pricing: $4.95 per month to $27 per month pricing
Once you have your map designed, you’ll need a way to track each detail and follow up with what’s happening.
These are tools to help you map how much progress you’ve made once you implement your process.
5. Process Street
Templates and more templates.
The strength of Process Street is in their templated approach to processes. List out each of your processes in a checklist and then save it and use it across multiple workspace areas.
This is great if you need to manage closing items for a shift, maintenance items on your production floor or any processes or last-minute to-do items before shipping a product or sending a deliverable to a vendor. Or use it in HR before onboarding a new employee or interviewing a prospect.
One of my favorite features in Process Street is the conditional logic that sets up different scenarios for your checklists and templates. This gives your team direction even in the middle of multiple options.
Whatever processes you repeat often, Process Street will be that connector that you need to make it happen.
Key Process Street Features for Workflow Management
- Create procedure documents fast
- Integrate with 1000s of web apps
- Assign checklist items
- Create forms
- Set due dates
- Conditional logic in workflows
Pricing: $12.50-$25 per user per month
If you prefer your checklists in a board or card view, then Tallyfy may be a good option for process thinking. Their mode is Blueprint, which is a fancy word for a template. Set up the processes, add any information to the relevant card and then set it in motion. You also get progress updates on each card and what work has been done towards that item.
It also gives managers a bird’s-eye view for what each employee has done, and helps manage risks or issues if appropriate.
Key Tallyfy Features for Workflow Management
- Forms for new projects
- Real-time tracking
- Conditional logic and branching
- APIs and webhooks
- Issue reporting
Pricing: Free-$25 per user per month
Create instant workflows among the tools you use most, such as adding starred emails to a Google spreadsheet or initiating an email to your supervisor once a task assigned to you has been completed. These tools give you the capability to combine hundreds of productivity tools together to make your life easier.
Zapier coordinates between different tools, simple as that.
They make it easy to get started and have a boatload of combinations–more than you can imagine.
You could connect your communication tool to your email, or transfer form information into your project management software (like ClickUp!). Anything that you want to automate, Zapier has probably figured out a way to do it.
On the larger plans, you can implement multi-step actions to ensure your processes are done.
Key Zapier Features for Workflow Management:
- Set triggers from any app supported by Zapier
- Log in to your web apps and automate
- Thousands of available tools
- Conditional logic
Pricing: Free to $125 per month
Dubbed the glue of the Internet, Integromat is an ingenious shortcut. Much like Zapier, Integromat connects the applications together that you use most. Integromat gives you a little bit more detailed information and data than Zapier and connects more developer-driven apps.
Just like Excel, you can also enlist functions to help you navigate and start your workflows.
Key Integromat Features for Workflow Management:
- Detailed process information
- Enhanced search functions
- Advanced data retrieval
- Routers for multiple processes
- Thousands of operations every month
Pricing: Free to $299 per month
Pipefy provides integrations, but also offers templates in certain business areas, such as for sales, customer onboarding or hiring.
These templates simplify your process checklist and give you amazing pre-built templates to really finish your work.
The Pipefy card system helps you create automated tasks, connect them to the right actions and then sit back and wait for the work to be done. You’ll be notified once it is.
It’s a great way to set up your automated processes and then watch them in action.
Key Pipefy Features for Workflow Management:
- Connections to more than 500 apps
- Process templates
- Secure company database for actions
- Conditional logic
Pricing: $0 to $18 per user/month
You may also need a central location to store all of your process documents, spreadsheets, presentations and product information. ClickUp can definitely do this, but you may need something that shows only the documents, not the tasks associated with it.
To that end, consider employing a knowledge management/corporate wiki to keep you organized.
This is a newcomer that is quickly gaining steam. Their inline editing features, simple user interface and ease of use has made it a quick favorite. Notion is more for writing and editing documents, not necessarily storing large attachments.
You can quickly create tables, docs and more for your data right inside one interface, eliminating friction points of other tools like Microsoft Office or Google docs.
Key Notion Features for Workflow Management:
- Notes and documents
- Spreadsheet and database
- Drag and drop functionality
Pricing: Free to $16 per month
More so than Notion, Slite is geared strictly around writing, communicating and creating your processes. Their secret sauce is with their menu options. Their Slack-like interface helps creators place the documents in the right place, tag it and categorize it quickly.
Create channels for different bits of information, and then further curate those channels to be more granular.
Slite’s user interface provides more direction than Notion.
Key Slite Features for Workflow Management:
- Rich-text editing
- Tables, embeds and attachments
- Write collaboratively
- Create checklists and process documents
- 10GB of storage
Pricing: Free to $6.67 per user per month
Remember that list you created at the beginning?
How many of those tools could you connect more effectively or even do away with altogether with these tools?
And here’s a trick question: did you even think to include your document/word processing or spreadsheets? Those are tools that could be done away with as well.
Or what about sticky notes? That’s definitely not a good way to track business processes or statuses!
You probably use more tools than you think and these workflow apps are the top way to replace those! Watch your productivity improve with these workflow tools.