A Guide to Implementing Effective Linear Workflow


Companies that resort to manual operational methods often experience the damaging effects of missed deadlines, project overruns and duplicated work. This lack of visibility into the team’s progress and resource usage can make collaboration almost impossible. An automated and linear workflow should be implemented to break down these barriers, allowing teams to stay on track. It’s also instrumental in keeping management informed with easy-to-collect data points throughout every step.

A rigid workflow process can result in monotonous, inefficient results. A common mistake is fixating on desired outcomes and neglecting the importance of refining each step.

Effective workflow models are the foundation of successful business operations. This article will detail important aspects to consider with different types of workflows and how to optimise them for maximum efficiency and productivity.



What are workflows?

Workflows are methods that help make sense of complex processes. By organising tasks, people and information into visual stages, companies can ensure smoother workflow operations.

Workflows are helpful to:

  • Offer a comprehensive understanding of information flows and business operations.
  • Improve skills and staff efficiency.
  • Identify redundant processes and bottlenecks.
  • Protect against risk.

Understanding a workflow process

Digital workflow processes have become the cornerstone of modern workplace operations. To create a system that follows predefined sets of rules, it’s helpful to utilise specialised software known as “workflow management tools”.

Such applications enable businesses to automate routine tasks and track essential metrics. These include KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) and OKRs (Objectives and Key Results).

The outcome is generally depicted in what’s commonly referred as established workflow templates, illustrating how an output intended for business success can be derived from various inputs.


Benefits of a linear workflow

What does linear workflow mean?

A linear workflow is an efficient approach to completing tasks, as it facilitates a straightforward course from start to finish. By sequentially and uniformly progressing from one step to the next without overlap, teams can complete projects quickly and efficiently.

Furthermore, this method doesn’t permit backward movement or branching off of action plans, thus providing clarity during implementation.

However, every business experiences setbacks and challenges. To handle such uncertainties, a workflow must be agile enough to adjust to shifts in outcomes.

Advantages of linear workflows


  • A linear workflow allows for more accurate forecasting of project outcome, thanks to its systematic approach. It helps facilitate the ability to anticipate possible roadblocks and devise effective solutions.

Easier to manage

  • Project managers can stay organized and use a linear workflow to ensure that resources are used efficiently. This method works by systematically completing tasks in sequence, allowing for accurate progress monitoring throughout each project.

TimeTrack Timesheet is an effective tool for tracking and managing the steps in a linear workflow. Using timesheets in a linear workflow allows you to accurately track your time at each step in the process and make necessary adjustments to ensure that you are using your time effectively.


TimeTrack Timesheet

Improved quality control

  • A linear workflow provides the structure to ensure that accuracy and quality are not compromised. It creates a logical pathway that allows errors in the process to be easily identified and corrected, resulting in an excellent final product.

Better communication

  • A linear workflow strategy provides team members with crystal-clear guidance on responsibilities and expectations. This structure enables smarter collaboration and agile working within the teams.

Disadvantages of a linear workflow

Slow processes

  • Under its rigid, step-by-step nature, a linear workflow can be vulnerable to delays. As each component must be completed for the workflow to progress further ahead, any extended duration at one stage will cause an inevitable setback across the timeline.

Reduced creativity

  • A linear workflow can make creative thinking more difficult by reducing problem-solving flexibility. This rigid approach eliminates opportunities to identify alternate solutions and innovative ideas.

How do linear workflows impact productivity?

A linear workflow is a great organizational tool for projects. It helps teams effectively utilize resources and stay on track.

When properly implemented, the structure of such an approach brings clarity to team members’ responsibilities and mitigates delays or costly rework due to miscommunication or lack of direction.

A linear workflow can be a powerful tool for boosting productivity; however, if it lacks flexibility and is poorly optimised, this could lead to decreased efficiency. Unforeseen environmental changes may require deviations from the original plan, which could cause delays. Furthermore, you need to watch for bottlenecks where workers are waiting on other steps to finish before they can proceed.

That said, a linear workflow can be a boon to productivity when adequately considered.

When the individual project, team size, capabilities, and tools are considered, one must strike a balance between structure and flexibility for maximum efficiency gains.

Non-linear workflows allow project managers to adjust their approach to bring a task or job from start to finish efficiently. Rather than confining projects into strict step-by-step procedures, non-linear approaches allow for simultaneous tasks and activities that can be altered as circumstances evolve, ultimately providing greater control over productivity outcomes.

Examples include:

  1. Agile methodology

Agile promotes an adaptive, iterative approach to completing projects. With Agile methodology, tasks are divided into smaller components and the team can easily adjust their priorities as required.

  1. Design thinking

Design thinking is a comprehensive approach to problem-solving, characterised by its user-centric ideology and multi-staged process. By taking an iterative journey through the various stages of this method, teams can craft solutions tailored for those affected most directly.

  1. Iterative development

Through iterative development, teams are able to craft desired products through a non-linear approach that involves constant refinement and optimisation with feedback from stakeholders. Working on multiple aspects of the project in tandem enables companies to deliver solutions rapidly while maintaining quality.

  1. Scrum

Scrum is an Agile methodology that facilitates efficient, effective project management by breaking down tasks into regular predetermined units. This allows teams to focus on one set of goals at a time while regularly reassessing progress and adjusting plans. In Scrum development, frequent reviews create opportunities for innovation and successful implementation of objectives in shorter, defined cycles.

Boost time management with a linear workflow

A linear workflow can help manage your time and achieve your goals efficiently. Here are some steps to implement a linear workflow for excellent time management:

  1. Start by clearly defining what you want to achieve. This will give you a roadmap for the rest of the process and help you stay focused.
  2. Break down your goal into smaller, manageable tasks. This will make it easier to prioritise and plan your work.
  3. Decide on the order in which you will complete each task. This will become your linear workflow.
  4. Allocate time for each task based on its priority and the time you have available.
  5. Keep track of your progress and make adjustments as you go. A tool like a task manager or a to-do list can help you stay organized.
  6. While a linear workflow provides structure and direction, it’s essential to be flexible and adapt to changing circumstances. Adjust your timeline accordingly if a task takes longer than expected or new information becomes available.
  7. Regularly review your workflow to see what works well and what can be improved. Make the necessary changes to maximise your time and achieve your goals.

TimeTrack Auto Scheduling is a tool that automatically schedules tasks and projects based on criteria, such as due dates, priorities and availability of resources. This feature is useful in a linear workflow as it helps ensure that tasks are completed on time and in the correct order.


TimeTrack Auto Scheduling

The bottom line

At the end of the day, it is logical for enterprises to begin their workflow automation journey with a linear workflow process. Ultimately, when weighing your options, be sure to pick one that can cater adequately towards non-linear workflows. In this way, you can ensure optimal performance in any operating environment.