Workflows as we discussed in Workflow – Part 2, is supposed to be a logical progression from start to finish. No worries if you do not understand the process outlined in Workflow – Part 2. While the principles will work in whatever project you apply them, the logic or thought process may not be yours. Allow me to give another perspective of this process so that you can break it down for yourself.
A workflow is “a process designed to stop detail loss; to produce the best quality product in the least possible amount of time.” This is my working definition of “workflow”; a dictionary definition gives this meaning: “progress of work: the progress or rate of progress of work done by a business, department, or person”. I have described this at the level of a personal project but will become business if you use it for your photography studio and departmental if your studio hires employees. See how quickly this expands?
Let the progression be your own, but be careful to include the details. In my experience working in the corporate world, one practice run on a workflow is good and two is better but three is wise. I have run it through on paper the first time, working out the major problems. The second time I run it through with friends, explaining to them the details: I ask for their questions, understanding and critiques. Third time through, I take a test product through my process making notes of snags and problems.
Make no mistake, by this time I am tired and ready to quit. This is the point at which you are closest to letting the workflow do your heavy lifting. You are doing a great job!
One of the best ways of making certain your workflow has everything you ought to have in your completed product is to write these details on paper. Documents are your friends!
Workflow is a process that details the first step to the last. Setting up a workflow will become an instinct to you, but until then let us catalog and learn the process of priorities. By priorities I mean, by completing the previous step you now have what is required to complete this step and have made available to yourself the tools for the next step.
Taking a small project using the same principles as photo processing will help us explain the process in as few words as possible.
To build a storage shed there must be some decisions made of the size and design. From these decisions an architectural blue print can be made. Now with the blue prints we can make a materials list and go shopping. Do you see the progression? Here is another way of looking at the process:
Design and size
Ground breaking and construction
Each step when completed is setting up the success of the following step.
Starting with a new project, what are the signs of the first step?
What is the first puzzle piece? First, set up your end product. How will it look? What are you providing; service or tangible product?
What will you give with this service/product? What else should hold your attention in the phase of “material gathering”?
How many practical steps can be made or planned to affect a clear understanding for everyone involved?
Something I have found invaluable in this process is having a scratch pad and new paper to record both ideas for consideration and decisions leading to the conclusion.
Take deep breath and relax. Things will start to fall into place on their own with these foundational questions answered. A challenge is not worth gray hair, unless you like the distinguished look. *Grin*