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Summary:

Pretty much every web worker I know has a way to track tasks. These various solutions, whether web, client-side, or paper, are great for keeping yourself on track. But what if you need to manage coordinated activities for a distributed team? For example, a software bug […]

ScreenshotPretty much every web worker I know has a way to track tasks. These various solutions, whether web, client-side, or paper, are great for keeping yourself on track. But what if you need to manage coordinated activities for a distributed team? For example, a software bug might flow from the reporter to a developer to a QA person back to the original reporter. Do you need to transfer the information between three different task trackers?

WorkflowPerfect has an answer to that question: of course you don’t. Instead, you can use their free, multiuser, web-based business process tool to create and manage all the multiuser workflows you need. Its tools allow you to both build and manage workflows – coordinated sets of tasks that get handed off between team members and updated with custom forms.

The first step with using WorkflowPerfect is to define your workflows. This is a potentially time-consuming process, but you can save a partial workflow at any time and come back to it later. You need to set up the steps, define the possible outcomes, and show the connections between them. For example, a sales workflow might include picking a product from a warehouse, with outcomes of “picked” going to a ship step and “out of stock” going to a notification step. You then create custom forms that prompt for the necessary information – for example, in this case you might want to track an order number.

ScreenshotAfter you’ve defined and approved a workflow for use, you can add users (up to 100) to your account, and define who can use each workflow. Then you’re off: create a new item, fill in the information, pick outcomes and assign the task to the next person down the line. The system automatically sends email notifications when you get a new workflow item assigned to you, or when an item you created moves on to the next step.

There are other refinements here too. You can define a user group (perhaps “developers” or “salespeople”) and assign things to a group, where they can be picked up by anyone in that group. You can attach files to a workflow, and they flow along from user to user. You can view the history of a work item and use a search interface to find things.

All in all, this is an impressively flexible tool – and a free one to boot. If you’re having trouble coordinating the activities of a distributed team, it’s definitely worth checking out.

  1. That reads great! I work with translations and I need to offer a job to many freelancers, to see who wants to pick it up, and I believe WorkflowPerfect could streamline the, hmm…, workflow, thanks for sharing.

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  2. Good resource, thanks!

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  3. Does anybody know what happenned to Workflowperfect? It’s been about three weeks (today being Sep 06 2010) since it just disappeared from the surface of the Web. It used to be a good service; and we miss it. Hopefully it can come back online.

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