What is a Workflow Process? Definition, Types, and Examples

Jahnavi Vekaria

Senior Writer

What is a Workflow Process

What’s lost in the work culture today? Process definition or process completion?

All team members know their responsibilities, but what about team responsibility? How does one task in a corporate sector get completed? When everybody knows the part, they have to play and when! But what defines each person’s role at the specific and required timelines? That’s the job of a workflow process! 

Looking for Workflow Management Software? Check out SoftwareSuggest’s list of the best Workflow Management Software solutions.

In the digital world, we have a digital workflow process too. 83% of IT experts believe that digital workflow process automation is a significant part of digital transformation.

In this article, we will understand what a workflow process is, the types of workflow, and the doubts that revolve around it! This will help us understand the significance of a workflow process in business outcomes and how it caters to the environment.

Let’s dive in with workflow diagrams!

What Is a Workflow?

What Is a Workflow

Workflow is an elaboration of a general process in a series of steps defining the pathway to completing tasks to procure desired results.

It is more like the work transitioning from one stage to another. In a work environment, it can happen through tools, colleagues, and with the help of various other processes. An individual can execute an effective workflow process alone or get multiple people involved. 

Examples of an individual executing the entire team’s Workflow process could be researching, writing, editing, and publishing articles on the web

However, when invoicing, the client is included in the same workflow; it becomes multiple persons executing the workflow process, not just an individual. 

Every business is trying to cater to workflow management needs in its own ways. 

Now that the work culture has transformed into hybrid and remote structures maintaining a corporate workflow involving multiple department executives has become a challenge.

However, teams are trying to maintain efficiency and functionality inside a business environment by putting their best foot forward in defining a process flow!

Workflow Process Examples

We gave you an example of a workflow process above in the blog, but that was more of a beginner’s understanding of a workflow. Here, we shall look at what an objective Workflow process is in the business environment and understand the way it works:

  1. Contract Approvals

    Contract approvals can prove to be a huge challenge at times. This might be the case when the process remains undefined!

    In such a disputed framework of approvals, businesses might face financial and legal problems too. Thus, compiling an organizational business rule will allow the vetting of contracts and reduce constraints. Here’s a workflow process of contract approval presented below:

    Contract Approvals WorkflowThis workflow process shows that the head of the department must sign the contract before the finance is vetted. Then, when the finance structure appears to be budgeted, it must be passed for a legal review. The legal review team would differ as per the contract requirements. After the legal approval, the contract provisions must go in the original PDF and be stored in the database. That’s how the workflow process ends.

  2. Job Change Request Handling

    Job change can be called quite a task in larger organizations where various managerial levels of approval are involved. Different stakeholders’ indulgences and valuable inputs count in the workflow process layout. As a result, there can be more than six levels of approval when a particular employee wants to start a new role in another organization. Here’s a workflow diagram that defines the process of job change:

    Job Change WorkflowIn such a workflow process, each step is taken after the approval of the previous one. The permissions are as simple as reviewing the portal and clicking ‘approval’ in the email.

    Later, for reporting, the process comes into use. This will also help HR understand if there’s a bottleneck in the process. After reviewing the workflow for job changes of multiple employees, HR can understand where the process gets stuck for an extended period.

    For instance, the approvals get delayed by the GM in most cases.  And when this gets figured out after reviewing multiple profiles, the issue can be addressed to the GM, or some other forms of the quote can be taken ahead!

    Further, it is also helpful in improving business process management over time.

What are the Types of Workflow?

We are well aware of the business workflow process and some examples! Everything sounds pretty good till here, but did you know that there isn’t a single type of Workflow process that exists? Instead, there are multiple workflow types. Let’s discuss a few of them!


Based on complexity levels, the workflow process is divided into three categories: Rules-driven, state-driven, and sequential. Let’s look at all three of them in precise:

1. Rules Driven

Rules-driven Workflow

Source: Slideplayer

Rule-driven workflows are dictated by rule-framework that is responsible for driving the process in a sequential format. It is like following a blueprint to curate an entire structure likewise. These business processes come in use when various projects are being worked on simultaneously with one goal but levels of specifications.

2. State Machine

State Machine Workflow

Source: Microsoft

A state machine workflow can be complicated to understand as the activities often go back and forth depending on the requirements. Therefore, this Workflow progress is state-wise circulated. 

It’s more like solving a puzzle because all the pieces are required to be put together in order to complete the process. These business processes are used to place significant elements, processes, and products needed for extra client and management inputs.

3. Sequential

Sequential Workflow

Source: PCDN.CO

Sequential task Workflow is the simplistic one that is process-driven. Each step is carried out after the previous one is completed and approved. It is simple and in a sequence where numbers are followed one after the other.

Most of the sale processes of products and services happen in a sequential workflow as steps remain the same, and nothing moves back and forth.

Process Workflows in Software Project Management

The software project management workflow is defined as the activity set performed to procure software products as a significant outcome. With the performance of sequential tasks given in series, the automated workflow in an organization leads to a customized software product. 

Here are the seven most important Software Project Management Workflows that you must know:

workflows in software project management

  1. Management Workflow

    Software management workflow constitutes flexible tools that cater to work improvisations. With such a tool, the creation and optimization of Workflow ideally become easier. 

    It helps find redundancy in tasks, automation in work processes, identification of areas that need improvisation, and achievement of newer efficiency levels. Even controlling business processes are a part of management workflows that include software development plans, vision, business careers, and others.

    Some things to look for in workflow management software are as follows:

    • Creation of custom workflows
    • Definition of stages and task movements in accord
    • Workflow Integration as per the task list
    • Streamlining repeatable processes
    • Task follow-up in the process workflow
    • Easier task creation and assignment
    • Capable of adapting to changes along the way
  2. Environment Workflow

    In the context of coordinating and integrating people and tools, automation of environment workflow comes into existence. It helps detect human error, thus, helping reduce them to process speedy resource allocation and response to rising issues. Altogether, it speeds up the process of development, allowing the maintenance of the environment that further accelerates the software updates.

  3. Requirements Workflow

    Requirements workflow deals with the problem space for problem identification and understanding to help find a solution. In addition, it could help evolve the requirement artifacts, including design and required documents with specifications and case use. This helps describe the function, software design, and architecture.

  4. Design Workflow

    The visual depiction of the steps involved in creating a workflow from top to button is the design workflow.

    A workflow design emphasizes sequential tasks and gives complete clarity on the data movement as one task transitions to another. Software process workflow design enables the implementation of a robust method that’s quite advanced compared to whiteboards or papers.

    Listed benefits of a workflow design include automation control, productivity-boosting, collaboration facility, transparency improvisation, elimination of manual errors, and efficiency enhancement.

  5. Implementation Workflow

    Implementation workflow focuses on transforming the model’s design into executable code. Therefore, the primary focus of this Workflow is on the construction phase. 

    In reality, this workflow model is a step ahead of the design model, given the design implementation is already in existence. 

    The implementation model defines the manifestation of the artifact’s design elements and the deployment of such artifacts onto nodes.

  6. Assessment Workflow

    The assessment workflow deals with the processing and publishing information in an external and internal workflow. This starts from the process of understanding shared information and critical documents.

    Further, it helps with streamlined processes and ROI maximization.

    The assessment sets the stage for technology-enabled workflow implementation in the following ways. For example,

    • Speeding retrieval and information distribution
    • Improvise productivity and accountability with automated notification
    • Realized control over the business’s sensitive documents
  7. Deployment Workflow

    In controlled and tightly packed environments with limited access, the developer must perform definition processes and curate steps for package building to the file system. It is only then that the project manager puts the process into application and projects on the target system.

    In a deployment workflow, the deployed assets in all environments come in read-only formats that accept development. However, suppose any error detection in the production environment requires an asset change or an improved asset-specific implementation. The difference is initiated in the development environment and taken into the rebuilt package process. Thus, the updated package gets deployed into the existing one that replaces the corresponding asset.


    Reverting to the previous deployment version might be a requirement. In such a situation, package building is deployed, and the corresponding asset gets replaced.

Making The Most Out Of Workflows

A workflow is a tool to help you, but it cannot do everything. When building a workflow process for your task, you must be clear about what you want to achieve. 

And most of all, keep improving it. Workflows should constantly change to accommodate your changing needs. Find if the tasks are repetitive; if yes, change them. Learn which part is not working out as planned, redesign it, and, not to forget, track workflows as it crosses each stage.

Happy project management!

Frequently Asked Questions


Workflow is the sequential representation of the steps required to get completed for task accomplishments. They are checklists that task-doers are supposed to abide by. Simply, it is more like the work flowing from one stage to another.

Workflow processes are inclined to bring structure to all the given tasks. It helps organize the functions, carve a system and later provides ease in analyzing the areas needing improvisations. This would help in releasing redundancies and bringing clarity inside a workspace.

The three essential components of a workflow are mentioned below:

  1. Input: The resources required to accomplish each specific step
  2. Transformation: The parameters that help in receiving information and later interacting with it
  3. Output: The materials generated lead to the next stage of execution and processing

Examples of workflow automation include creating tasks, generating invoices, lead management, employee reimbursement expenses, employee onboarding process, writing legal documents, management of trouble tickets, mitigation of ‘shadow’ IT, and more.

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