Workflows Part 2: Elements of a Good Workflow for Property Managers | Fourandhalf

In our last Fourandhalf blog, we talked about the value of a workflow for property managers, and we helped you understand how workflows can provide a better understanding of your property management business.

Today, we want to continue that discussion and show you what a workflow looks like.

Three Workflow or Process Levels

The first thing to understand about workflows or processes is that you can look at them from three levels:

  • Level One
    This is the highest level. The Level One process is more of an overview. So if we’re talking about a maintenance process, at the first level, our process would show that the maintenance request comes in, and the issue is resolved. That’s the process.
  • Level Two
    The second level is what we like better. It provides more detail so we can really understand how our business works.
  • Level Three
    At the third level, you really look at your business closely and do a complete drill down into each step and list out each actor responsible for those steps.

As you undertake a process analysis for your property management company, we suggest you look at Level Two. This will help with efficiencies.

In our first blog, we talked about the three things you need for putting together your process flow. Those are:

  • An understanding of outcomes.
  • A capture of the people involved in the workflow.
  • The discrete tasks that are included in each workflow.

We’ll show you how those are incorporated into a workflow with an example.

Representing Your Workflow: Introducing Swim Lanes

There are different types of workflow representations, and at Fourandhalf, we like to use swim lanes. With our swim lanes, you can clearly see the accountable party, the task, and then if you want to drill in and connect the Level Three to the Level Two process model, it’s easy.

So here’s what a swim lane looks like: (click to enlarge)

On the left side, you can look at the people or the actors involved in any process for which you’re establishing a workflow. The key thing to note is that the actors can be a system or a person; it’s not always an individual. On right side, you will see those lanes extending across and the arrows connecting task boxes with each individual task.

This shows you how information is moving through your workflow.

If you want to go through the detail, and visit the Level Three model, you can go into each box and type out a detailed procedure in that box. You have both a high level view of how information is moving and a detailed step-by-step procedural account of how you’re getting things done at the task level.

As you look carefully at the swim lane model, you can see that filling out each box and associating those boxes with their lane or with each actor, it’s easy to connect the boxes and arrows. It gives you a visual sense of how information is traveling.

Workflows and Decision Making

When decisions need to be made, you can represent those decisions with a diamond shape, and then offer a yes/no box. The arrows can point to what happens if the decision is yes or no.

So if the decision is yes, you can follow the arrow to the set of tasks that occur after a yes answer. If the decision is no, then you’ll follow the arrow to a box that indicates what happens if the answer is no. This allows you to represent the decision aspect of the workflow and the corresponding individual tasks.

Looking at this, we hope you get an idea about how to put together a workflow. If you have questions or you’d like to talk about this in depth, please contact us at Fourandhalf.

Michael Lushington

About Michael Lushington

Michael has been a business technology solutions executive for over 15 years. Until he was 30 he worked as a Producer, director and actor in New York City. He has led big and small teams for the last 30 years delivering solutions that help businesses get the job done. He is passionate about serving others and helping business owners and leaders achieve their objectives. In his spare time he leads a small but thriving martial arts practice and runs a non-profit youth theatre organization in the local community.

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Alex Osenenko
President and CEO

Alex’s professional mission in life is to help small businesses grow and thrive. He is the President and CEO of Fourandhalf.com and is serving his 5th year on the Board of Directors for CALNARPM.

After spending 9 years in the trenches with his property management clients, Alex draws on his experience to host “The Property Management Show” Podcast and co-authors a weekly Property Management Blog on Fourandhalf.com. Alex has extensive experience speaking for various NARPM events at the local, state, regional and national level.

Alex is a graduate of San Francisco State University with an Electronic Commerce Systems Degree. His business philosophy is simple: Happy Customers are created by Happy Employees, which results in Happy Shareholders. Alex serves on the Board of Directors of CALNARPM (California Chapter of National Association of Residential Property Managers) and hosts a Podcast “The Property Management Show“, available on iTunes.

 

John Bykowski
Chief Operating Officer

After graduating from the University of Michigan with a film degree, John proceeded to do everything but. During his career, John has specialized in operations and has developed processes for small companies in diverse industries, such as bleeding-edge marketing technology, social networking, trade shows and exhibitions, and cloud software. John and Alex had worked together previously, and when he needed someone to help take Fourandhalf to the next level and beyond, Alex brought in John as his first employee, and later, business partner.

In addition, now that he’s using his film school know-how to help property managers look their best in their blogs, his mom no longer feels his degree was a complete waste of time.

Danny Morris
Director of Account Management

Born in Australia and growing up in Israel, Danny has spent a lot of time traveling the world between those two places. After completing his military service in Israel, Danny began following his biggest passion, writing, which he discovered while backpacking South America and publishing his first book.

When it was time to unpack, he returned to Australia to complete his Journalism studies amongst the beaches of sunny Perth. Danny is a huge online fan and after working in a number of related jobs, he finally gets to combine his two favorite things, working with media and people.

Marina Osenenko
Product Manager

Marina draws upon her real estate, business operations and customer service expertise for Fourandhalf. Her favorite part of being with Fourandhalf is the opportunity she has to really get to know our clients, build professional customer relationships and truly be part of a team that assists in their success.

Her time away from work is happily spent watching her children grow up and attempting to keep up with them! Any spare moments beyond nurturing her children are filled with hiking, spending time with friends, exploring the Bay Area and squeezing in a non G-rated movie every now and then.

Marie Liamzon
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Before joining Fourandhalf, Marie worked for one of the largest banks in the world. She took on different roles, but couldn’t find what she was looking for. She pursued a variety of side projects until she finally decided it was time for a career change.

Marie is very passionate about helping people and learning new things. In her spare time, you might catch her exploring new places and taking far too many pictures.

Kyle McLean
Customer Success

Born in San Diego County, Kyle McLean has since migrated to the Oakland woods. A fan of tall trees and tall tales, he holds a bachelor’s degree from the creative writing program at the University of California, Riverside and is a licensed California Certified Shorthand Reporter.

After a few years as a freelance court reporter, Kyle has joined Fourandhalf for an opportunity in sales and digital marketing. In addition to reading and writing, his hobbies and interests include gardening, hiking, soccer, coffee brewing, and craft beers.

Karen Wyle
Account Management

Originally from the Philadelphia area, Karen moved eight times in seventeen years all over the East Coast and to the Midwest before settling here in Northern California six years ago. She is an alumna of Brandeis University with a BA in American Studies and earned a MBA in Marketing Management from Indiana University in Bloomington. Karen’s business career has been well-rounded, with experience including advertising, direct marketing, corporate retail, product management, new product development, and new customer generation. Beyond an office setting, she has been thrilled to volunteer her time giving back to the community with KPMG’s Family for Literacy, at her daughter’s school, and as a Girl Scout Troop Leader. Karen enjoys music, good food, traveling to new places, completing jigsaw puzzles, meeting people and making connections.

Karen became a part of Fourandhalf’s Account Management team in 2016, relaunching her marketing management career after a pause to raise her family. She is excited to rejoin the business world and to work with such a strong marketing management team.

Paige DeRuyter
Account Management

Paige graduated from Chico State University with a degree in Journalism. Her favorite part of working at Fourandhalf is helping clients create and produce educational blog content to grow their business. She is an avid sushi enthusiast who enjoys riding her bike and watching college football and in her free time.

Nissim Boozaglo
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After working as a Radioshack store manager, Nissim decided to change his career path and pursue his passion for music production by getting his B.A.S. from Expression College for the Digital Arts. Nissim has a beautiful 8-year-old girl and loves cooking delicious homemade food and going camping with her! At Fourandhalf, Nissim is responsible for the implementation of the clients’ Landing Pages and Google Adwords campaigns.

Theresa Barnes
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Theresa Barnes was born and raised in the Bay Area and graduated with her Bachelors Degree in Communications Studies at San Francisco State University. She worked in aviation at a private FBO for 3 years, and other industries, before joining the Fourandhalf team. She finds a balance between being a young mother, work, and living a healthy lifestyle outside of work by staying as active as possible. She is dedicated to customer satisfaction and having a great work ethic.

Brittany Stephens
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Brittany recently moved to the Bay area after graduating from California State University Chico with a degree in Business Marketing. She is known for her excellent communication, customer service skills, and shameless nerdyness. Her passions include: music, tabasco, Lord of the Rings, and the Golden State Warriors.

Logan Jones
Business Development

After graduating from CSU Chico with a Degree in Business Marketing, Logan moved back to the East Bay and pursued a career in sales. With an attention to detail and a relentless drive, he strives to improve himself and his passions each day. When not at work Logan enjoys playing guitar and writing songs, and occasionally performing around the Bay Area. He is an avid sports fan keeping up with everything SF Giants, 49ers, Cal Bears, and Golden State Warriors.

Hope Lumbley
Account Management

Hope recently moved to the Bay Area after graduating from Chico State University with a degree in Journalism. She is coffee crazed, dog obsessed and hopes to visit all National Parks. One of the greatest times in her life was when she lived abroad in Costa Rica and hopes to travel more of Central America in the future. She feels blessed to work for a company who supports her love for travel and the need to learn more about what the world has to offer.

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