Zingtree Tags: business processes

Decision Trees for Business Processes – The Zingtree Task Manager Tool

Business Process Management with Zingtree

Overview

One of the more common, interesting uses for interactive decision trees is as an online task management tool for streamlining recurring business processes. These are standardized workflows that have a series of repeatable steps, which may need to involve handoffs to different people on a team or even in another department. For example, your company may have an approval process for:

  • making purchases
  • approving project budgets
  • hiring or firing employees
  • creating blog posts (like this one!)
  • and any other repetitive tasks or processes your business uses

The Zingtree Task Manager is a dashboard for guiding your coworkers through decision-tree-based processes created using the Zingtree tools.  This makes it easy for everyone to be held accountable, and to follow standard operating procedures.

Here’s a diagram of a simple purchasing process:

In this case, if the item is under $100, then the request is approved automatically. Otherwise, a manager needs to approve the order.

Set Up

Creating your first business process with interactive decision trees is not complicated. It involves these steps:

  1. Enter your “agents” – the people who act upon your processes – and assign them to groups.
  2. Create a decision tree, and assign each node (step of the process) to one of your Agent Groups.
  3. Assign your tree(s) to various Agent Groups. Only people in those groups will be allowed to start or kill a project.

This article has full details on how to set up your first business process.

The Task Manager

The Zingtree Task Manager was built with full-team functionality in mind. Anyone involved in a work process can use standardized decision tree workflows to navigate through the procedure. Certain steps can only be completed by specific people, and once you reach a step where it’s no longer your responsibility, that task is assigned to someone else.

This article has a video and full reference for the Zingtree Task Manager.

For example, in the procurement process diagrammed above, an employee creates the purchase request and a manager approves or declines it if over $100.

Here’s how the Task Manager could appear for an individual:

When someone Takes or Resumes a task, it looks like this:

Groups

Each person involved in a process (an “agent”) can belong to one or more groups. You can configure people and groups via Account > My Agents. So for example, a small team with two employees and one manager is set up like this:

Note that “Bill Zing” belongs to both the manager and employee groups.

When creating your process trees, you can tag each tree with the groups that are allowed to start the process.

Assigning Steps in the Process using Tags

Each node of your business process tree needs to include the Agent Group(s) allowed to act on that step of the process. You can see how our procurement process tree’s groups (outlined in red) are set up here:

 

The initial request step (node #1) is tagged with “employee”, so only people in the employee group can initiate a request. Node #6 – the Manager approval step – is tagged as “manager”, so only a manager can approve the purchase.

Assigning Agent Groups to a node is done using the Groups tab when editing a node. Here’s how node #1 is set up for an employee group:

 

Project Status: Success, Failure or In-Progress

At the end of a workflow, a project is either successful or a failure. When building your process tree, you can assign a result to each node in the node editor – like this:

Once a node is reached with a success or failure result, the process has ended.

Notifications

A notification can be sent when any node (process step) is reached so that the next person can be alerted and step in for their task. Notifications can be sent in a few different ways, including:

  • A text message
  • A simple email notification
  • A Slack notification
  • A customized email (using an email node)

Task Manager Operations

Your agents – people involved in your processes – can perform the following operations on each task:

  • Start: Begin a new task, and assign it a name.
  • Take: Take over the next step of a task. Only one person at a time can move a task to the next step.
  • Release: Release a task so another person can complete the step.
  • Resume: Continue with a task that you have previously taken.
  • Revisit: Go back to a previous step in the task you have permissions to act upon.
  • Reclaim: Take back a task from someone who has taken it.
  • Kill: End a task early, without following all the steps to completion.

Go here for a full reference on the Task Manager


Got questions about using Zingtree for streamlining your repetitive business processes? Reach out to our team!

How Do You Fix a Broken Process?

At Zingtree, we do our best to create well-thought-out processes in order to ensure that common tasks are getting done properly, consistently. But, what kind of damage can occur when a process no longer works or is somehow fated to fail from the beginning? This issue of broken processes is one that many organizations are faced with every day, which can be using Zingtree decision tree technology.

Our friends at ICMI recently covered this topic perfectly, diving into the topic of how businesses and call centers can fix broken processes that hurt organizations in the long-term. According to their definition, “broken processes are often exposed in missed KPIs, inefficiencies, bottlenecks, lack of trust, or complaints from customers and employees. Your employees may also feel like they are working harder than ever to accomplish a basic task. If you experience any of these things, chances are you have a broken process.”

Identifying a Broken Process

Knowing that you have process bottlenecks and other issues is one thing, but knowing how and when to act and find a solution is an entirely different venture. ICMI recommends that when a broken process is identified, it’s important to sit down with your team and take down some ideas based on some key brainstorming questions:

  1. What is the current process?
  2. What doesn’t work about this process?
  3. Do we have supporting data?
  4. What are some things that could make the process better?
  5. Are there tools or resources that might help with the resolution?
  6. What have we tried before that has worked?
  7. What have we tried before that hasn’t worked?
  8. What other alternatives exist?

Fixing a Broken Process

With the right questions being answered by everyone experiencing issues from your broken process, you’ll be able to move on to the next step: finding the right solution so that the process can be fixed. It’s important to find a fix that works for everyone affected, while having as few barriers in place as possible. When implementing a new tool or process, any change can be softened when everyone is on board.

We built Zingtree to be that all-encompassing solution that can fix a broken process in a standardized, easy-to-use, and quickly implemented way. Interactive decision trees are the perfect solution to make it easy for all employees to follow standard processes in a user-friendly manner. Plus, these processes can be updated and adjusted as needed by non-techncal people.

Our Zingtree customers have told us they like our solution because:

  • It’s a no-code-necessary tool that’s simple to get up-and-running with.
  • It’s effective for mapping out processes in a visual way, so you can truly SEE how a flow works.
  • It’s easy to include photos, videos, documents, and other types of media.
  • It’s flexible for integrating with CRM tools and embed into web pages.

As ICMI says, “mending broken processes takes time and focus on the short-term, the outcome will be more engaged employees who yield better results and more satisfied customers.” With the right tools to fix your broken or bottlenecked processes, you’ll be in great shape to tackle improving KPI’s, customer satisfaction, and other key areas of your organization.

Read the rest of the ICMI article on their website right here.

Check out some specific decision tree examples to see how call centers, retailers, and other organizations are using Zingtree to streamline and mend processes.