Getting to know Pipefy
First of all, welcome to Pipefy! You're exactly where you need to be to start things off on the right foot.
This is the first chapter of the complete guide to Pipefy. Here's what we will cover:
Creating an account
Getting to know Pipefy
Setting up your first process
Trying Pipefy with your team
Preparing to get your team on board
Creating an account
... and get ready to roll!
Pipefy is the best way to organize and manage your processes, that's why it's called the process excellence platform.
The first step for starting your journey towards process excellence is creating an account. You can create one by clicking here.
Setup your company
Your company is the representation of your business on Pipefy. It encompasses all your pipes, each pipe representing one of your company's processes.
When signing up for Pipefy you'll be asked to provide some information, such as your company’s industry and the department you work in.
The reason why we ask for that is so we can offer you customized process template suggestions.
You'll also be asked to select at least one out of the available process templates that represent a process you currently run in your company.
Check out our template store!
Learn more about how versatile Pipefy us by browsing our free template store. It offers with a wide range of free process templates especially developed based on the market’s best practices.
Pipefy's intuitive structure enables you to quickly find, import and tailor our existing process templates to fit your company’s exact needs.
Get to know Pipefy, and fall in love!
How it all started...by Alessio Alionco, Pipefy's co-founder and CEO
Working at my last company I often felt frustrated because I couldn’t manage the company the way I wanted.
There were times when the team didn’t follow the right workflow, forgot tasks assigned to them in emails, or made mistakes caused by weak controls based on manual forms and fragile spreadsheets.
If that wasn’t enough, every team member had its own way of managing their tasks, which led to inefficiency, information loss and rework. The information we had was often fragile, obsolete, duplicated, hard to find or even worse, unreliable.
Taking into consideration all the issues I had managing my own company's processes I started to wonder:
"What if there was a process management tool that was easy to use, intuitive and accessible to everyone at an affordable cost?”
I talked to some of my friends that had faced the same problems and decided I should start sketching the ideal tool.
Later on I went back to those friends asking for their feedback and their reply was unanimous: I need this tool to run my company!
That’s how Pipefy was born!
Who are we and what do we do?
We’re a cloud-based SaaS (software as a service) platform for managing processes and routines built to meet the needs of businesses of all types and sizes.
Our mission is to make managers realize that they can improve the quality and efficiency of their work by creating smart processes without the need for overly complex or expensive systems.
Our reliable, easy-to-use solution helps companies stay organized and become more productive through better process management.
Pipefy enables companies to abandon inefficient controls such as manual forms, spreadsheets and emails for good.
Pipefy shares each department's and team member's productivity transparently. The transparency in productivity was inspired by Kanban, a Japanese management technique well known for its application in lean manufacturing.
Even though it was made popular by car manufactory company Toyota, Kanban has been widely adopted by companies of all types, from offices and hospitals to industries and armies.
Why should you try Pipefy?
Pipefy addresses inefficiency in two ways: standardizing the way teams work and sharing the productivity of all departments and team members with transparency.
Pipefy's easily customizable interface enables managers to standardize a process within minutes.
The manager determines which activity (such as “credit approval”) the team needs to run and then creates a series of tasks and people assigned to those tasks.
Each time someone creates a new task Pipefy will show what must be done in each phase using different types of fields to make sure that each step is always thoroughly and efficiently executed.
Pipefy within your company
Your company is your company’s account within Pipefy. It represents your company and encompasses all the processes you run.
A process is, by definition:
A series of actions that produce something or that lead to a particular result
A process is a series of sequential steps used by a person or a team to get to a desired result. In Pipefy, a process is called a pipe.
Each process is made of a series of sequential steps. In Pipefy, these steps are called by phases.
You can add as much phases as you need. Within each phase, you can set the rules (fields) that will ensure standardized patterns of execution.
What flows through your process are pieces of information or activities - represented by cards.
Each activity os unique and contains different information based on the fields you specified in each step.
Even though the information requested in each phase (fields) is the same, the information added to each card is unique.
Set up your first process
… and start going down the road towards increased productivity!
Start from the bottom: what is a process?
First of all, don’t underestimate your company. Even the smallest companies in the world have processes.
Whether you’re manufacturing a product or providing a service, you run at least one process (even if you don’t realize it yet).
They can be disorganized, unstable, implied or even exist only inside people’s heads, but they’re there.
You may not know how to describe them yet, but they exist. The secret for good execution is knowing how to make those processes more organized and efficient.
Processes versus projects
Many people mix things up and manage processes as if they were projects. That mindset makes them choose the wrong metrics, tools and approach to deal with their process. That's a big mistake!
These are the main differences between projects and processes:
- Projects are finite. They have a beginning, middle and end. Projects are events limited by a time-frame or a final goal such as building a house, launching a project or throwing a party. They are unique and must come to an end at some point.
- Processes are continuous. They’re cycles, happening over and over again. Once you get to the end you go back to the beginning and start it all over again. The more you execute them, the more you learn about them and improve them. Manufacturing cars, importing merchandise or making pizzas, after you do the same thing 100 times, you’re expected to be pretty good at it. This philosophy is what got Toyota as close as possible to perfection in terms of execution.
How does a process work?
In theory, a process is a series of steps used by people to get to a desired result. In real life, there are many different approaches to represent how a process works.
BPMN and flowcharts
The most widely known approach to processes is workflow designing (flowchart/diagram) according to the BPMN methodology.
These methodologies are often considered too complex for most members of any operational team.
Asking an average “normal” person to draw a process using a flowchart or BPMN notation is the same as asking someone who’s not an architect to create a house project on Autocad or asking a 10 year old to drive your car down the street.
I could bet most of those charts end up abandoned at the bottom of a drawer. No one but the flowchart creator can fully understand and explore it.
They’re not intuitive, practical or instructive and they’re definitely not suitable for managing daily operations.
If we asked different members of a team to individually create a flowchart of the process they’re involved in it’s almost guaranteed they’d all be different.
How can you represent your process?
Pipefy's CEO claims he's particularly fond of a simplified approach, based on the SIPOC methodology.
The acronym stands for Suppliers, Inputs, Process, Outputs and Customers. Here’s a very simple example of a process mapped according to SIPOC:
You can simplify it even further taking the S and the C out of the picture and calling it IPO.
How to map your process using a simplified and intuitive approach?
Let’s exemplify things using a real life example of a common process in which you’ve been the output and maybe have been (or will be) an input.
We’re talking about the oldest process in the world:
It really is as simple as that! If people didn’t insist on complicating things by drawing a giant map with a tangle of lines and arrows that resembles a treasure map (or a spaghetti bowl) the problem would be solved.
The simpler and more intuitive the representation of a process is, the bigger the possibility of people understanding it and consequently executing it more efficiently.
If you feel the need to be more specific in order to ensure the process’ execution, here's what you can do:
Even though we're using the simplest examples we could think of, this approach works for more complex situations such as business processes.
The complexity of the processes actually makes it a lot more interesting! Let’s take a look at how a standard sales process works on a CRM system:
Jokes aside, you now have two challenges: how to represent your process keeping things simple and how to ensure your team will actually follow it.
These three elements (input, process execution and output) will be the starting point to guide your team’s execution. Let’s see how each part of this representation works.
The input represents the elements you need to set off your process. Raw material, equipments, infrastructure, people, etc.
If you're going to bake a cake, for example, your inputs will likely be: flour, eggs, butter and sugar. In this case, the better the ingredients you have access to, the better your cake will taste.
How to define your process’ inputs?
To define a process’ inputs I recommend you explore the knowledge of the person (or people) in charge of executing it.
Ask them “What do you need to start the process? What else could you have to make the job easier? What would save time?”.
Important: Don’t demand too much information or data that doesn’t add real value to the process' result.
In Pipefy, the input is represented by the start form. The information you ask is represented by fields
2. Process and execution steps
Sticking to the cake example: mix the ingredients, prepare the batter, bake and serve.
The execution steps are a lot like a cake recipe. Follow the steps properly to make sure the end result (your cake) comes out looking as good as you'd expect it.
This is what a process looks like in Pipefy
You can never have too much detail – as long as the information is relevant!
The more detailed the information, the bigger the chances of going through the process without mistakes, delays or waste.
To make things clearer - the details are represented by Pipefy’s fields. You can set a huge variety of field types, from short and long text to attachments or due dates.
The output is the result you want to achieve after executing a process. If a team doesn’t know what’s the expected output of their activity, there’s no way for them to know if they’re performing well.
Many people focus solely on executing their activities without even knowing why they’re doing them. Another common mistake is when managers take the time to describe the process providing a lot of detail about the activity but end up neglecting to inform what’s the expected output.
The output should be clearly specified when it comes to three aspects:
- Delivery time
When these aspects aren’t defined and spread around the team, mistakes and inefficiency start to happen.
Important tip: Focus on what is instead of what should be!
Managers sometimes idealize processes and map them the way they wish they could be instead of how they really are. Don’t make that mistake.
It doesn’t matter whether a process is too simple and still isn’t perfect. The existing process is what you need to map and monitor before you can focus on improving it.
Only after the process is well established and all team members have adapted to it without resistance you’ll start proposing ways to improve it. If you do that you’ll have the advantage of having real data to compare before and after results.
Map your processes in Pipefy
Mapping your processes in Pipefy is easy and fun. You have two options to begin with: you can either import a pre-designed process template from our template store or create a brand new process from scratch.
Import a template
Pipefy offers users a template store with a wide variety of pre-designed process templates based on the market’s best practices.
You can easily and quickly find, import and tailor the existing templates to fit your process' needs.
Create a new process from scratch
You’ve already seen how Pipefy relates to the elements of your processes. The input is the start form and the process is a pipe.
We also explained that the execution steps within a process are the phases, and that all phases consist of fields (or rules).
Activities, represented by cards, flow through the phases, until they reach a ‘done’ phase (your final result, the output). Activities are subject to the rules you set.
Let’s try creating a brand new process from scratch? It’s easy!
Access your company dashboard, click ‘add new pipe’ and the following screen will pop up. Click 'New from scratch' and start building your process.
When mapping your process, there are a few questions you should ask yourself to help identify what your start form (input) and phases (steps) should look like.
First ask yourself about what triggers the process. A process' trigger is the situation or event that sets it in motion.
Then, define the end, or desired result, of the process. What needs to be achieved so that the process can be considered successful.
Finally, list everything that happens between the trigger and the end - these are the steps you need to take.
Then, in order to set the rules and ensure standardized paths of execution, ask yourself the following questions:
- What are the main goals of the process?
- What can go wrong?
- Which key controls can be used?
Once you define what you want to reach with your process and how you can measure it, Pipefy will enable you to set fields to help you reach your main goals and prevent you from making mistakes.
When you’re ready to go, access your customized pipe's settings and start working on it. You can find detailed information on how to edit a pipe in our knowledge base.
Schedule a call
Need help setting up your processes? Our product specialists are happy to help you model your processes. Request a personalized session clicking here (again, no strings attached!).
Trying Pipefy with your team
Together is better than alone
Now that you know who we are and what we can do for your processes it's time to get your team involved and start collaborating with them to get the most out of Pipefy!
Implementing a new software is normally quite an undertaking. For this reason, we'd recommend starting small and trying it with a few teammates first.
By doing so you can evaluate the impact and find out the best way to propose implementing Pipefy to manage your entire team. When you feel ready to invite everyone in, we’ll be waiting for you in chapter 2.
Invite members to your company
All you need to do is click on the ‘Invite members’ button on the upper right corner of your screen.
Once you click on it, the following screen will pop up:
Type the email address(es) of the member(s) you want to invite, and click 'Add'.
After you're done adding the new team member's email address you can select the role you want it to have. To cover different permission needs within a company, Pipefy offers three types of users inside your company:
- Team admin: Admin users have full control and visibility over the entire company. They can edit the company's settings and change member's permissions as well as invite/delete members. They can also see all pipes within the company;
- Team member: Member users can access all public pipes as well as the private ones they've been invited to. They're also able to create new pipes (unless the company settings specify otherwise);
- Guest users: Guest users can only create cards. They're only able to access the public pipes' start forms.
Once you've selected the role you want your new team member to have, click 'Invite' and you're good to go!
Once they're in...
Teach them the basics
We've developed a very useful team onboarding guide that summarizes Pipefy's basic concepts to provide a clear overview of the platform.
It also includes a handful of useful links so that your team has access to everything they may need to get the lay of the land and start using Pipefy.
Invite them to your pipes you already created
At this stage you've probably already created some pipes of your own.
Add your newly added team members to those pipes so you can begin exploring the basic teamwork-related features over the next chapter.
Have a brainstorming session
Organize a meeting with your team in to brainstorm, analyze and discuss a couple of processes you could also manage with Pipefy.
Preparing to get everyone on board
Roll up your sleeves and get ready for chapter 2!
Add more processes
Add more processes to your company. Create different pipes, explore the features and learn everything you can so you (and your company) are ready to welcome everyone on your team with open arms.
Get used to Pipefy’s features
What has Pipefy got to offer your team? Experiment a little with the teamwork related features and see how they can help improve your collaboration and communication.
Click here to check out a complete overview of our advanced features .
Want to discuss ideas, ask questions or provide updates? Start a conversation on a card by leaving a comment.
You can comment on a card by clicking 'Comments' on the upper right side of the card.
You can view the entire conversation (all the comments left on this card) on the comments area accessible through the menu on the left side of the card.
Cards with conversations can be recognized by the comment sign on the card.
Would you like a particular person to read your comment? Type @ followed by their username, and they'll be notified.
Pipefy allows you to set due dates for each card. The due date will be shown on the card and it's used to track the completion of the activity.
Each pipe member can get a quick overview of all cards nearing the due date on MyDesk.
Set a due date
Due date on card
Selecting an assignee helps make clear who's responsible for a certain card/activity. When a card is assigned to someone, his/her profile image will appear on the lower right corner of the card, making it easier to identify who's responsible for what.
You can also filter the pipe's activities based on assignees. Whenever a card is assigned to you it will appear on your MyDesk.
Select an assignee
A label is a little colored dot that appears on the upper left side of your cards. It helps classify and identify different types of cards.
Common uses for labels are task prioritization or identifying the size/potential of a sales opportunity. Pipefy allows you to filter cards based on your pipes's labels.
Are you ready to welcome your entire team into Pipefy? Click here to go to the second chapter of the complete guide to Pipefy!