Home > Management, Operations > Share the Knowledge – Document Your Processes

Share the Knowledge – Document Your Processes

DocumentProcessesAll organizations, no matter whether a B2B tech company, a non-profit or a law firm, have processes that allow them to perform smoothly no matter what department.  Much of these processes are in someone’s head.  It is critical that these processes get documented.  You never know when an employee that knows the process will get sick or quit the company or organization.  And when these individuals go on vacation, it is better to have a document to train the backup person with then just a verbal training.

A well documented process will save the organization time and money.  I just documented for a client how social media updates in Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn Groups are done so others in the organization can do these updates.

Therefore I suggest the following:

  1. Create a template for what a documented process will look like and what a process document will include.
  2. Create a spreadsheet list of the suggested processes to be documented along with the primary person to write the process and the secondary person that will a review the documented process.  Prioritize the processes to know which ones to document  first.
  3. Communicate to the staff (including those not involved in the documentation process) that processes are being documented and welcome their involvement and suggestions.
  4. Assign the processes to individuals and document one process a month.  After a few months the organization will have a process manual.  When organizations are audited, one of the requirements is to have well documented processes.
  5. Store the documented processes in a shared directory or on the organization’s intranet so everyone can access it if necessary.
  6. When new employees are hired, show them where the processes are documented so that they can review the ones that apply to them.
  7. Review these processes once a year and update them with any new changes to the process.  I suggest that you do this review in December when business is slow so that the processes are updated by the start of the new year.  Communicate the changes to the staff and remind them where the documented processes are located.

While documenting processes, questions and issues about processes will occur.  For example, why do we make so many copies of invoices.  Can’t we only make one copy and do an electronic version.    Make sure that your organization is protected by having important processes documented in all departments.  Make it part of the organization culture to document processes and have everyone’s involvement in documenting the processes.

I wrote a blog post titled “Time to Streamline Your Processes” that is related to this process documentation post.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this.

  1. September 19, 2010 at 10:50 pm

    Great advice Jim. You don’t believe how many companies are neglecting to document their processes. Usually these type of businesses have no consistency in their processes and there for confuse themselves and their customers.

    • September 20, 2010 at 5:28 am

      Oliver, Thanks for the comment. I value your opinion since I know that’s what you do, help others with their projects and processes. Take care.

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