This can be tricky. But our golden rule is to start out with as few steps as possible, and maybe even combine multiple processing actions in the lab into a single step.
Often your first impulse is to create a new step for every discrete action in your workflow. But this is not what you want. Steps are for material transformations. Transformations could be as simple as going from dirty to clean, or as complex as a bioreactor culture.
Steps can be used for individual material transformations. But it may be more effective to combine multiple transformations into one step and list the individual transformations in the tasks.
Here a some suggested rules for when to create a new step:
- When you need to generate a new resource (with a new ID) for the output material such as a sampling step.
- When you are splitting materials into multiple downstream aliquots or samples, or merging them together.
- When there are just too many inputs on a step, or the inputs are used in multiple sequential actions that are combined on the step (i.e., phases) and their association with the different actions is becoming confusing or ambiguous.
- When a set of actions are going to be executed by different people, you may want separate steps.