Ask a Musician: Workflow

By: Cody Soska


Conductor_Baltazar Hertel


Frederik Magle: by Morten Skovgaard

Welcome to the “Ask a Musician” section of the Harmonic Systems Consulting blog, where I explore a component of business operations to better understand its value by relating it to a familiar musical concept. Our first topic: Workflow!

Workflow is “An orchestrated and repeatable pattern of business activity enabled by the systematic organization of resources into processes that transform materials, provide services, or process information.” (Business Process Management [BPM] Center of Excellence).

It is appropriate that the BPM article mentions orchestration when defining workflow, because that’s what all organizations are comprised of: the orchestration of people, resources, time and capital. Likewise, with a musical performance of, say, Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis – one of the greatest masterpieces in musical history – a synthesis of the time and effort of a number of performers must align perfectly to accomplish the goal of a successful and moving performance.

Conductor _fountain

Without the alignment of time, resources and effort towards a clearly defined goal, the taking of a product or service (or, in this case, a finished musical performance) from its planning and development stage to its final note of completion, will fail. From piece selection to preparation; from first rehearsal to dress rehearsal; and from performance to performance, all of the effort in a business organization or orchestra must be harmonically balanced to achieve true Workflow Efficiency.

Part of this effort that is imperative to a successful musical performance is managing and measuring processes. For example: If the music director of a symphony finds that predetermined benchmarks in the score are not being rehearsed by a set deadline, the symphony will not be ready in time for its first performance. If the instrumentalists are not tuned by the time the conductor is ready to begin rehearsal, time is lost. The music director, performers and librarians must carefully track their department’s individual tasks and ensure that process goals are met in a timely manner. If these goals aren’t met, time, money, and resources will be wasted – or, worse, the performance will fail.

In business this concept is no different. Without true Workflow Efficiency, and organization’s process benchmarks will not be met. Over time this can lead to lost revenue, lower ROI, and losing clients. Every client is your most important client, and they deserve the performance of a lifetime! Carefully measure, plan, and manage your processes to ensure that none of your resources aren’t spent achieving your organization’s vision and giving your client the best experience possible.

While you consider this, try listening to an example of what Workflow Efficiency can do for your business: Philippe Herreweghe conducting Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis.