Reviewing and Improving Workflow and Productivity: Methods and Tools

Cynthia Ng
March 8, 2017

Kuribo. (2008). Red panda eating. Wikimedia Commons. CC BY-SA 2.0

Some Context

Understanding Workflow


flowchart example
decision flowchart example
overview flowchart example

Task Analysis

task analysis on a whiteboard using screenshots and handwritten notes Reidsma, M. (2013). Slide 38. Websites are for People. CC BY-NC-SA 3.0

Journey Sheet

example blank journey sheet

Types of Material

  • Hardcover
  • Trade Paperpack
  • Children's Fiction
  • Children's Non-Fiction
  • Magazine
  • Newspaper
  • DVD
example completed journey sheet

Swim Lanes

example of swim lanes diagram showing steps done by different departments Kerr, P. (2006). Swimlanes flowchart of a business process. Wikimedia Commons. Public Domain.

Questions to Ask

  • Does the order make sense?
  • Which steps are flexible in the ordering? Conditional upon other steps being completed?
  • Can specific steps be done more efficiently?
  • How many people are involved? Can it be reduced?
  • Is the most suitable person doing each step?
  • Is the process consistent? Consistent with other departments?

The Ideal Workflow


example workflow reorganization in excel

Card Sort Variants

steps of closed card sort Rosenfeld Media. (2009). CS002: Figure 1.2. CC BY 2.0
re-organized workflow using sticky notes

Getting to the Ideal

example workflow of accessible format production
example workflow reorganization in excel

Tools to Increase Productivity

KeePass (Keychain)

Reichl, D. (2010). KeePass Main Window. Free license.

Total Commander (muCommander)





PDF Labs. (2014). PDFtk Free.

Sublime Text

Roe, A. (2012). Sublime Text 2. Copyrighted/Fair Use.




Take Away


nodoka holding a stack of books