Workflow stages

Overview

Each workspace has a sequence of workflow stages that topics move through over their life cycle from start to finish, like To doIn progressDone. They're displayed on the workspace as columns of topic cards, or as separate table sections if you're viewing the workspace as a list.

To get the most out of Flat, we recommend experimenting and changing your workflow stages over time to reflect your team's work process. They're not set in stone!

Key concepts

Sequence of steps

Think of your workspace's workflow stages as the high-level steps a topic should go through from start to finish.

Generally, topics should move through your stages forward one-at-a-time. But that's not a requirement by any means! Feel free to create stages that some topics skip.

If you have stages that many topics skip, consider whether it'd be clearer for your team to create an entirely separate workspace with its own workflow.

The "completed" stage

Flat treats the last stage in your workspace as special. Moving a topic there marks it as completed.

Common patterns

There's no one best way to set up your workspace's workflow stages. It's a balancing act between keeping your workspace small and easy to scan while also reflecting your team's process at a sufficient level of detail to be useful. We encourage you to start simple and experiment over time to find what works for your team! That said, here are same examples that may be helpful.

Generic workflow

To Do In Progress Done

If your team is new and small, this simple generic workflow is a fine place to begin! You can always add more stages over time as you discover the need for them.

Software development workflow

To DoDesignDevelopmentQA, Done

For a software development team, separating design, development, and testing helps make it clearer how close to completion a topic really is. And for many software teams, different people work exclusively in each of those stages, e.g., a software tester would only work on topics in the QA stage.

Projects or "epics" workflow

To DoResearchDesignDevelopmentRolloutImpact ReviewDone

Your team might be executing several large, cross-functional projects, the kind that may take weeks or months to complete. Some teams call these sorts of projects "epics". For this kind of work, certain stages are often helpful to more clearly capture where the work stands, like Research, for better understanding customer problems, and Impact Review, to measure and assess how well the project's deliverables were received by customers.

Step-by-step

Editing a workspace's stages

To edit a workspace's stages, just visit the workspace and click the workspace's name to open the Workspace setup dialog.

You can drag and drop stages to change their order. To add a stage, click the + button, and to delete a stage, click the trash icon besides the stage name.

Anyone with access to the workspace can edit the workspace's stages. It's not restricted to users with the Admin role.

Only empty stages can be deleted, and a workspace must have at least two stages.

Flat doesn't support hiding a stage from view. If you feel tempted to hide a stage, consider just deleting it and using lightweight assignable topic threads to model it instead.

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