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How to Think Through a Process

Ever gotten stuck or discouraged while building processes? Not sure where to start or how to proceed? In this article, learn how to think through a process before you start building it to ensure you build the best process possible.

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How to Think Through a Process

Do you resonate with this story?

You’re ready to systematize your company and build the internal infrastructure to support your company as it grows. 

You’re ready to get out of the day to day so you can focus on the big picture. You’re excited to see your team become more efficient and the whole company become a well-oiled machine.

You know you need strong and effective processes and systems to do this.

So you sit down, excited, ready to get all your processes documented.

And then you get stuck.

Where do I start? 

How should this process work?

Why does this feel so confusing?

How can I be sure what I’m building will work?

How do other people do this?

I’ve barely started and I’m ready to quit.

We’ve heard this story again and again from clients coming to LeadSimple. We here at LeadSimple believe it doesn’t have to be so hard! In fact, it can be downright simple, if you know the right approach to take.

That’s what our consulting team is here for. We’ve helped hundreds of property management companies work through their processes and we’re here for you too.

In this article, we give a brief overview of our proven process we walk through with our clients to help them think through their processes before building them into LeadSimple. 

Quick Tips

The trick to documenting processes is in the prep work. Starting at the right place will get you on the right track from the start and make the rest of the journey so much easier (it can even be fun)!

Let me start with a couple quick tips.

Tip #1

Pick a simple process to start with - something that is already running pretty smoothly and that won’t be a challenge to understand or require a lot of fixing. That will give you the experience you need to tackle the harder processes and give you and your team a quick win.

Tip #2

Start on paper. I mean it. You need to have a full grasp of the process before you can build it into LeadSimple. If you start in LeadSimple without a good grasp of the process on paper, you may create a process that isn’t connected to reality and will thus become a source of frustration rather than an aid to your team.

Tip #3

Involve the members of your team that are in the process daily. The person in the day to day will have the most insights on how the process works, what could be improved, and what order everything needs to happen in.

Also, when you involve your team in the building process, it gets them excited about the possibilities and helps them get on board with your vision of a streamlined and efficient system.

How to Think Through a Process

Okay, ready to get started? The first thing to do is to ask some high-level questions, before you get into the nitty gritty of the actual steps involved in the process. 

These questions bring clarity about the process itself, how it fits in with other processes and the bigger picture, and, once answered, will make the building process in LeadSimple a breeze.

Plus, going through these questions will quickly turn you into a process expert!

So here are the seven questions you need to answer about every process before you build it:

1. What event(s) can start this process? Write down every possible event that could trigger this process. It might be another process, an internal event, or an inbound communication from an owner or tenant.

2. When does it end? Does it trigger any other processes? Write down the point at which the process ends. Sometimes the process will move right into another process; other times, the process closes out and doesn’t trigger any other processes.

3. What external contacts are involved or will be contacted during this process? Write down who outside your company will be contacted during this process. Typically it’s the owner and/or the tenant, but there may also be vendors, lawyers, inspectors, previous landlords, and employers who you will want to contact during the process. 

These will be the Contact Roles for this process and your emails and communications will be built right into the process and sent from LeadSimple.

4. Which internal roles or teammates will be involved? Next, write down which internal roles or teammates are involved in this process. Who will be responsible for the majority of the tasks? Who else is involved along the way?

These will be the Team Member Roles for this process and the tasks will be assigned to these roles.

5. What is the ideal outcome of this process? What are the possible negative or less common outcomes? Write down what the most common or most ideal outcome of the process is. Then contrast that with any other possible negative or canceled outcomes that could occur and add those as well. 

This begins to bring to light all the different directions a process could take and the scenarios that could happen. This will be especially helpful in defining those branches and building them into the process.

These outcomes will be the Completed and Canceled Stages for this process.

6. What are the major milestones or phases of the process? Now that you have the outcomes, or completed stages, think through the other major milestones or phases of the process. Breaking your process out into multiple active stages will make it easier to build, understand, and see at a glance where each process is at.

Most processes have at least two or three stages. Some have more, some have less. It all depends on how complicated that particular process is.

(You’ll notice that sometimes the stages don’t all flow together in a linear fashion and a process may not go through all of them every time. That’s okay; conditional logic will make the process easy to follow.)

These are now your Active Stages for this process.

7. What are the steps of the process? Now that we’ve answered all those questions, we can finally get to the actual steps in the process.

✅ Take the stages that you outlined in the last question and start slotting in the steps. 

✅ We’ll spend some time here to ask the questions: “Is this the best way to do this? How could we make the owner or the tenant’s experience better? Are we communicating effectively internally and externally?”. 

✅ Include possible scenarios that only apply some of the time. This is the time to identify the questions that need to be answered as the process progresses, which custom fields this process requires, and where to build in conditional logic.

✅ Determine which team member or role will be responsible for each task.

✅ Determine how much time should elapse between each step. Or document that this step is dependent on a certain date (like a move in or lease end date for example).

Time to Plug into LeadSimple!

At this point, most of the hard work is done; now it’s time to plug the process into LeadSimple!

That will include using the answers to the above questions to add the contact and team member roles, stages and steps, task assignment, custom fields, conditional logic, email templates, task instructions, and task delays.

Once the process is built out, the next step is to run a couple tests to see how everything flows. Those first tests always reveal some changes that need to be made. Keep testing and tweaking until the process flows well. 

Then it’s time to start using the process!!!

Struggled to implement systems in the past? We’re here to help! Come join the ranks of property managers who have found success and peace of mind with LeadSimple. Schedule a discovery call today!


Aimee Berkompas

Aimee is the Content and Customer Education Manager at LeadSimple. She creates training, educational, and other content to help clients achieve success in sales, operations, and the health of their business. When she isn't working, she enjoys the outdoors, crafting, family time, and learning new skills.

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