This is an independent review of Procesoid written by Patrik Sima of the Scheema Digital agency, which has been translated and published on our blog with his kind permission.
Processes have been trending a lot lately, but few people can imagine anything real behind them. Some of my friends are even scared to think in these terms. And that’s often the reason enough to avoid processes altogether.
In reality, a process or process management could be just a very simple checklist of steps to help you not forget something. You do things the same way, but write down your know-how, to make it easier to pass it on in the future.
I started to play with processes quite soon after founding our company. I was a freelancer before that and as punk my approach was, it was manageable. But once you start a company, things change and get much more complex. Especially if you need to write down your know-how and pass it along to your employees. Of course, this is a well-known problem among us entrepreneurs, so I won’t be going into too much detail about this here.
Processes were part of my studies, but they were hard for me to grasp at that time. Not speaking of the vast, confusing terminology around them. I started simply with an Excel spreadsheet, putting down the steps of our core workflows, such as website development, taking over a client’s website, or partial services such as website redesign, SEO, adding website analytics or employee onboarding (approximately 31 steps!).
This worked really well, but only for a while. We couldn’t duplicate such a process easily so that it could be assigned to an accountable team member for further checks and record keeping. But the primary issue was that we forgot to keep our processes up to date. Soon they were all messed up and in the end we were rarely using the spreadsheets, if at all.
After that, there was a longer period using the punk approach. And due to the absence of processes, we were occasionally forgetting some important steps — like for example enabling website indexing for the website to be indexed by Google and other search engines. At a certain point, we decided that we have to solve this mess once and for all.
So we started the search for tools. Unfortunately, I took the harder road. Although I had just a simple workflow checklist in Excel, I started to try out the tools I’d heard about back in my school days. Those tools are designed to run processes in large companies, but for boutique agencies like ours, they are completely useless, expensive and unbelievably complex. I lost several months trying out tools like ProcessMaker, Kissflow, Casual or Process Street, but none of them suited me.
Then, by chance, I heard about Procesoid, which I decided to also try. To be honest, I wasn’t impressed by its austere layout and I was already so disappointed and frustrated by the previous test runs, that I didn’t have much time nor was I in the mood to tinker with it. So I rejected it too.
I decided to give it a second chance after Procesoid’s sales chief Paul Minar convinced me over Skype by explaining its many features and provided me with real-life examples. We began to migrate our Excel sheets into Procesoid.
Using it is actually very straightforward and simple. Just order your trial at Procesoid.com, add your colleagues as coworkers and you can start to design your first process. Once you’re ready, you can create a new process instance and assign it to an accountable colleague. And once all the steps are complete, you close that instance and you’re finished. You can see how it looks in Paul’s article Process Does Not Have To Be Just A Simple Checklist.
To design a new process that you know by heart over the years is really a question of minutes. Procesoid’s killer feature is the ability to add multiple steps to a process’ design at once. You can just copy a whole column, e.g. from a Google spreadsheet to a text area, and you’re done!
The crucial question is how descriptive and detailed do you want to be? Do you want to describe each detail in your process or just the key steps? The answer depends on who will be actually using the process. Anyway, you will get their feed-back or you can ask for it during a process review (which should be a process on its own).
Process instances are easy to create. It is however less intuitive how to manage them between more people. For example we share the onboarding process between two of us and each is responsible for his part of the process. The solution is to rely on the notifications feature and/or re-setting the accountable role of the process instance. (Paul Minar will be happy to show you how to do it, just ask him during your onboarding session.)
Over time we have also come across minor duplications of various processes. Many of our processes overlap with each other, so it would be extremely useful to have the ability to create a process out of other processes serving as templates. So that if I would change one of these templates, all the processes using it would be updated too.
What I like very much is the feature to add a note to a step. We use the note function to comment, for example, on why we’ve skipped the step (e.g. because it was not needed or not applicable in this instance).
The greatest benefit from the implementation of processes has gone to the new members in our team. I wish you could have seen their excited reactions to our processes when they were first introduced, since it saved them a great deal of trouble during their training period.
Another huge plus is the feature to edit several instances at once. Imagine that we are about to roll out 5 finished websites, which means that we have 5 open instances of our process Website Launch, each assigned to a different colleague. By opening all of them at once, I can see side by side how far each particular launch is. Here’s a general example:
Procesoid’s huge advantage is its utter simplicity. It is an advantage mostly because it forces the process designer to be simple in his or her thinking as well. If a process is too complex it makes you think how it could (and should) be designed to be simpler. Perhaps it could be split in two, or shared among two colleagues.
This is why it is so important to have a process for reviewing all your processes on a regular basis. Each process has to be assigned to a manager who is then responsible for it being carried out effectively. Otherwise, you may end up with processes that don’t match up with reality and the first newcomer who will be assigned a process instance will become very frustrated and mistakes or omissions will grow everywhere like mushrooms.
If you are about to begin with process management or you already have some in spreadsheets, as we had, it is high time for you to try Procesoid. After the free monthly trial, you will know for sure, whether it makes sense for your business or not. Paul Minar has a bag of tricks and lots of good advice all of which he is eager to share. And there is plenty of other useful stuff on Procesoid’s blog and Facebook.
From our experience, Procesoid can be extremely useful for freelancers and small businesses like ours. It has empowered us to clean up, enhance and delegate our key workflows. We have reduced errors and boosted our ability to train new team members. And as a result it has enabled us to improve the services we provide to our clients.
Go check it out, it’s free to try.