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Businesses are constantly growing and evolving. To stay competitive and healthy, business processes have to advance, too. While taking a business process from “outdated” to “updated” can be time-consuming, it’s also worth it.
Luckily, business process management templates can help streamline your improvement process. Let’s look at how to use one.
Business process management (BPM) is the act of analyzing and improving business processes. As companies grow and evolve, their business processes often become outdated or inefficient. BPM helps combat this and increase organizational efficiency by ensuring business processes are up-to-date and effective.
You can think of it as a kitchen renovation. After a decade or so of use, your kitchen appliances become outdated—sure, they might still technically work, but they’re likely inefficient and make hosting dinner parties a pain. So you renovate, replacing your old appliances with shiny new ones with better features. That’s what business process management is to organizations—replacing outdated processes with efficient new ones.
A business process management template is a templatized way to review and improve your business processes. This template lays the groundwork for all business process improvements by outlining the five stages of business process management—analyze, model, implement, monitor, and optimize—removing the upfront work of organizing your BPM plan.
Best of all, since business process management templates are reusable, they standardize the BPM planning process for your team. No matter what business process you want to improve—from updating the hiring and onboarding processes to integrating new tools or streamlining a review procedure—you can kick off your process improvement plan with a business process management template.
While it’s possible to create a document-based business process management template, such as in Excel or Word, there are drawbacks to using such programs. Namely, they require manual check-ins to see the project’s progress and can make cross-functional collaboration difficult.
On the other hand, business process management templates created in a project management tool have the functionality you need to standardize and streamline your BPM process across all departments.
Here are a few perks of using a digital business process management template:
Standardize process improvement steps across your team or organization
Quickly jump into process updates following your business process analysis
See upcoming tasks and project phases in real time
Visualize project progress with dashboards
View start dates, assignees, and task status
Easily customize to meet the needs of each specific project goal
Collaborate with cross-functional team members
Attach relevant files and documents to each project phase or task
Since you’ll use your business process management template as the starting point for improving a variety of business processes, it’s ideal to keep the template generic (so you can duplicate it for different process improvements).
Start by building out the template to align with the five phases of BPM: analyze, model, implement (or execute), monitor, and optimize. Then, include key information your team will need when using the template, such as the task’s owner, start and end date, and status.
Once you've built out your business process management template, you can use it to track the status of your process improvement projects. To use the template:
1. Determine what business process you need to improve by reviewing your business processes through business process analysis.
2. Duplicate the business process management template and update it so it aligns with the process you’re looking to improve (for example, “Onboarding process improvement project”).
3. Customize the template to align with your goals for the process improvement project. You can create tasks around the actions you need to take in each phase of the process and assign those tasks owners, due dates, and statuses.
4. Execute your process improvement plan and monitor results, using your BPM project to take you through the project’s lifecycle.
Automation. Automate manual work so your team spends less time on the busy work and more time on the tasks you hired them for. Rules in Asana function on a basis of triggers and actions—essentially “when X happens, do Y.” Use Rules to automatically assign work, adjust due dates, set custom fields, notify stakeholders, and more. From ad hoc automations to entire workflows, Rules gives your team time back for skilled and strategic work.
Status updates. Say goodbye to sorting between multiple tools to find project status information or sitting through another meeting that could have been an email. Project status updates in Asana aren’t just easier to use—they’re also directly connected to the work your team does. This makes it easy for team members to access additional project information, like your project plan, communication plan, project goals, milestones, deliverables, and more. Ultimately, project status reports reduce your manual work, centralize information, and keep everyone up to date.
Dependencies. Mark a task as waiting on another task with task dependencies. Know when your work is blocking someone else’s work, so you can prioritize accordingly. Teams with collaborative workflows can easily see what tasks they’re waiting on from others, and know when to get started on their portion of work. When the first task is completed, the assignee will be notified that they can get started on their dependent task. Or, if the task your work is dependent on is rescheduled, Asana will notify you—letting you know if you need to adjust your dependent due date as well.
Custom fields. Custom fields are the best way to tag, sort, and filter work. Create unique custom fields for any information you need to track—from priority and status to email or phone number. Use custom fields to sort and schedule your to-dos so you know what to work on first. Plus, share custom fields across tasks and projects to ensure consistency across your organization.
Microsoft Teams. With the Microsoft Teams + Asana integration, you can search for and share the information you need without leaving Teams. Easily connect your Teams conversations to actionable items in Asana. Plus, create, assign, and view tasks during a Teams Meeting without needing to switch to your browser.
Google Workplace. Attach files directly to tasks in Asana with the Google Workplace file chooser, which is built into the Asana task pane. Easily attach any My Drive file with just a few clicks.
Slack. Turn ideas, work requests, and action items from Slack into trackable tasks and comments in Asana. Go from quick questions and action items to tasks with assignees and due dates. Easily capture work so requests and to-dos don’t get lost in Slack.
Zoom. Asana and Zoom are partnering up to help teams have more purposeful and focused meetings. The Zoom + Asana integration makes it easy to prepare for meetings, hold actionable conversations, and access information once the call is over. Meetings begin in Asana, where shared meeting agendas provide visibility and context about what will be discussed. During the meeting, team members can quickly create tasks within Zoom, so details and action items don’t get lost. And once the meeting is over, the Zoom + Asana integration pulls meeting transcripts and recordings into Asana, so all collaborators and stakeholders can review the meeting as needed.
Improving business processes takes time and effort—and getting started can be difficult. A business process management template cuts down on upfront work and standardizes the improvement process by acting as a reusable outline for your team. Simply duplicate the template and customize it to align with the process you want to improve—including clearly labeling and color-coding upcoming tasks for team visibility. Then, you can review and monitor each phase from start to finish, upgrading business operations and improving business efficiency.
You can use your business process management template to analyze and improve any inefficient, outdated, or unclear process slowing your company down. From improving human-centric processes, like hiring and onboarding, to updating processes like legal review or integrating new software, a BPM template can help.
When it comes to business process management, it’s not as easy as “set it and forget it.” Businesses are constantly growing and evolving, so business process management is a living process—not a static one. While there’s no hard-and-fast rule around how often you should analyze your processes and workflows, you should strive for continuous improvement. It’s also a good idea to perform a business process analysis if certain situations occur, like if you’re launching a new product, if you’ve noticed a dip in productivity, or if your company is going through an organizational change.
See how a BPM template can help improve your business processes and boost company efficiency.