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Think it, process it, nail it: your ultimate guide to process documentation

13 mins read

A process documentation guide helps each member of the team to connect and participate irrespective of their designation. This, however, also keeps a strict check on access to documents and other information when it comes to security of documentation and secrecy of the process.

Let us start with the very basics of process documentation.

What is process documentation?

Though it is not yet bound to incorporate definition, process documentation, in simple words it can be defined as the documentation or creation and back-up of all plans and strategies for organizational use. These include checklists, refreshers, forms, links, emails, and other important forms of media that need to be kept handy and safe for future reference and use.

Keeping all such things on your home screen for quick access might be good for the recently generated or acquired additions but for the older documents, a historic collection must be made. It is usually hosted on a cloud storage owing to the expansion of business and enormous speed of data generation be it internal, external, or via market completion and research.

Need for process documentation

While 96% of the companies have been found to use some kind of documentation for their processes, not even 4% of them used proper system or method to attain success with it.

Process documentation is important because

Improve process strategy

Each process leads to a business plan coming down to reality. In such circumstances, the budget is an air-tight limitation for entire team to adhere to. Documentation of previous processes helps in comparing and avoiding the pits. Relying on memory and experience can sometimes be hazardous and lack accuracy, all of which is easily taken care of by improving current process through documentation.

Train your workforce

Each year many job holders are rolled to better roles, some put their papers down, while others might opt for a department switch. Vacancies created are filled often with employees holding less or no experience at all. Documentation of all processes helps the trainers find relevant case studies and present them as live training material giving a tour of the field in best possible manner.

Document complete knowledge

The employees while working are bound to get to learn something new. The information acquired can be old but the knowledge derived from it can be unique depending on the perception of that employee. Each bit of such data, knowledge, information, etc is extremely essential for organizations. Risk of its loss can be huge. Documentation of processes helps in recording all explicit, implicit and tacit knowledge over company’s dashboard.

Operational consistency

Organization’s operations must be different and must explore the unexplored. It must encourage taking calculated risks and shall help employees think outside the box. Such creativity requires a lot of background work to ensure that organizational structure, in terms of assets and liabilities, is capable enough to pick up any slack left as a result of experimentation. This does not mean that each experiment is going to yield 100% positive results. It just means that all operations shall be carried in a smooth, controlled, and consistent manner

Process quality check

Processes obviously refer to huge steps taken by an enterprise, its skeleton, and the ultimate framework. Quality of resources invested and targets set are essential to be studied by experts. Quality must be put in check to assure that no resource is misallocated or is going under or over utilised. Assigning authority and responsibility, division of labour, chain of command, communicational hierarchy, etc are set only if the process is documented, studied, and checked by quality.

People involved in process documentation

Internal team

The employees, agents, managers, team heads, reporting managers, etc constitute the cream of internal team. These are the core people involved. They are also the ones most impacted by success or failure of each process. They know the entire process inside out and primary incidence of documentation directly falls on them. They must always be aware of each occurrence and elect a person solely for tracking and documenting entire process if need be, (usually for very large-scale complex processes).

External team

The clients or those who have some service outsourced by host organization’s internal team constitute external team. They are secondary part of the process. It is ideal for both internal and external teams to document process separately. This tally reflects different POVs and is beneficial in providing a wholesome view and 360° summarization. Documentation by external parties should be made basis for projecting stats and analysing them as it is the most critical view attainable.

Stakeholders

Angle investors, funders, top authorities, etc. are the stakeholders. As the name suggests, they don’t have normal interest in the process or its functioning. They hold financial stakes thus getting a say above the managerial powers. They are chief approvers and consultants. While stakeholders need not reflect negative interference, any unexplained use of resource and time makes entire process team directly answerable to them. Your customers too are stakeholders as they are consumers of your product/service which by definition is your stock.

Steps to be followed for process documentation

Define your goal

Define the goal of your process with three simple questions:

  • Why are you undertaking this process?
  • What do you expect as an outcome?
  • Have you mapped alternative approach, just in case?

The answers to them can’t be ‘yes’ or ‘no’ but they can definitely help you jot highlights and help you establish a better communication when you build a team.

List your requirements

What do you need in terms of time, space, finance, liberty, access, etc is the list of your requirement. It should be made as ahead of execution as possible. This helps brainstorming various situations and stock up for all foreseen and contingent challenges as well. Visualize your journey and the end result as well to make a consolidated and one time approach to your senior board.

Set target for receiving end

All your actions are aimed at your audience. But who shall be this audience is another major question to be answered. Know your target audience and interact with them beforehand. Try to understand if they approve of your end result. What might sound great in your head might be of no use to customers. Set your priorities in accordance with demands of prime importance for your target audience. Solve a problem for them and don’t just tangle a fancy.

Build a team

Now that you know your requirements and have matched them against your customers’ expectations as well, you need to communicate this to a workforce that can help engrave these thoughts to reality. The best candidate must be chosen and they must be given targets with liberty. Your team must understand your vision just as good as you do and participate in it on creative levels. You as a team lead too should help them adhere to the deadlines while still keeping them encouraged, fresh, and free.

Assemble the output

It is extremely essential to divide the work and keep some time at hand for meets and discussions. Any loss of work due to a personal barrier of a team member must be adjusted well in advance. Such moves help in generating better output with quality work. The brains must be free but the execution of each thought must be controlled by leadership to avoid chaos. Output from each end must be assembled, studied, revised, and filtered through to cut out all possible loose ends.

Conclusion

The industry today revolves neither around technology nor around innovations. It is now the customer who presents their thought. They challenge technology thus helping innovators be the creators of change. Every such aspect of customer demand becomes a target and takes shape of a project. Each project falls under some particular process that needs to be documented.

It is thus a reverse chain that clearly shows how efficient documentation leads to improved processes. This, in turn, assures success of the project which earns validation and trust from competitors and market. This validation attracts customer satisfaction and customer loyalty delivering better customer experience earning higher RO and ASAT for your enterprise.

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