As your organization grows, your business processes are likely to get more complex. What used to be a simple procedure may now have more steps, more stakeholders and more significance. Due to this increased complexity, your processes may not always be handled in the most efficient way. If you wish to do things in the most efficient way possible, process documentation is the first step you need to take.
In this blog, we’ll discuss the different aspects of process documentation and share some insights on how you can create high-quality process documents that can overcome inefficiency traps.
What is process documentation?
A process document refers to a document that provides a detailed outline of how to execute a task or process. This is an internal document that is typically shared with various stakeholders within an organization. It focuses more on the “how” of the process than the overall outcome. Moreover, this is an ongoing document that gets periodically modified along with the execution of a project or task.
You can create process documentation for various tasks ranging from onboarding a new employee to deploying a new software tool. By providing a roadmap for what steps are to be followed next, process documentation helps you streamline your current processes.
What are business processes?
A business process refers to a series of steps performed by stakeholders in an organization to achieve a goal. It should be as specific as possible and should clearly outline the stakeholder assigned to a particular step of the task. As the foundation of various related ideas such as business process management, process documentation, etc., it should also produce consistent outcomes when executed.
Why is process documentation important?
Documentation plays a critical role when you are creating a new process or refining an existing one. Writing it down in a document takes the guesswork out of the equation and keeps your processes aligned with your organization’s goals. If you don’t have clearly documented processes, stakeholders will find it extremely difficult to understand their roles in executing a task.
Process documentation helps you with:
- Consistency: When you have process steps outlined in a document, your tasks will be performed more uniformly. Even when multiple stakeholders collaborate on a single task, you can ensure consistency by having clear process documentation.
- Structure: Process documentation brings structure to your tasks. Your employees will have a clear idea of what to do first and what to do last. They can also identify their place in the overall process and understand their roles without any doubt.
- Operational clarity: Employees are likely to hit roadblocks when performing some tasks. With process documentation, they have a written document to fall back on and refer to whenever required. This helps with the successful completion of critical tasks.
What is the main objective of process documentation?
The main objective of process documentation is to keep track of the execution of a process or task. You can learn more about your processes from your existing documentation and take steps to make improvements. Documentation can help you improve quality, enhance efficiency, eradicate flaws, lower costs and more.
Who is involved in process documentation?
There are three key parties involved in business process documentation. Let’s take a look at the roles they play in the following:
Service desk internal processes
This includes the service desk manager and technicians who go over the processes. They address various aspects of the processes including how to handle customer inquiries, how to handle critical and non-critical issues, how to resolve the most common tickets, etc.
Project management typically involves the service desk manager, technicians or project management team. They focus on what steps project management should take as against the service desk. They list out typical processes like removing a server or installing a new server.
Process documentation also focuses on users who will be impacted by the processes. The way users communicate with the service desk or project management team must be addressed here. You must also focus on how your users get information and how they submit tickets.
How do you create a process document?
Creating a process document involves multiple steps. However, these are not rigid steps that must be executed at all costs. These steps may vary from one organization to another based on their unique requirements.
To give you a brief idea of how to create a process document, we’ve put together a 10-step process that can guide you. You may adjust the steps as per your unique requirements.
- Identify the process: The first step is to determine the process that needs to be documented. Here, you are answering the “why” part of process documentation. You need to identify the purpose of the process and how it aligns with the goals of your organization.
- Determine the scope: The scope of a project outlines what should be included in a project including key objectives, processes to be covered, responsibility of stakeholders, timeline, etc.
- Determine process boundaries: Once you have outlined the scope, it is time to define the process boundaries. You can do this by identifying where the process begins, where it ends, who is affected by it and how it gets done.
- Identify process inputs & outputs: In this stage, you must determine the resources required to successfully complete the project. You also must define what is expected at the end of the project.
- Organize process steps: After identifying the inputs and outputs, you must determine the exact steps to be covered in the project. List out the steps in sequential order and assign responsibilities for each step. If there are multiple tasks within a step, provide details about all the tasks within the step.
- Define process roles: Once you have listed out the steps, you must break down each step and assign the roles. You can also include details like timeline and deliverables when assigning roles.
- Visualize the process: A visual representation of the process provides better clarity to all stakeholders involved. You can do this by creating a flowchart covering your process.
- Document process flow exceptions: A business process does not always have to follow the same path as defined in the visual process. If there are any exceptions, you must document them during this step.
- Set process controls: You are also likely to face certain risks during the execution of the process. It is necessary to identify these risks earlier and incorporate the required controls to monitor them.
- Review & test the process: The final step of process documentation involves reviewing the documents and testing the process. If you have missed anything, you will be able to identify it during this step.
What should be included in process documentation?
A process document must include the framework for how to carry out your business process. This can be done by including different types of documents. Some of the key elements of a process document may include:
- Policies: These are the guidelines under which your organization operates. Various factors from internal rules to government regulations can be covered in this document.
- Procedures: This covers detailed information about how your tasks will be performed. You can use this document as a quick reference guide when working on your tasks. You may use any of the following documents to outline the steps of your process:
- Videos or GIFs
- Screenshots, photos or illustrations
- Process maps, flowcharts or diagrams
What are some benefits of process documentation?
When you create process documentation to manage your projects, you can overcome a lot of issues that could put your project in jeopardy. Here’s a list of benefits you are likely to experience firsthand by incorporating process documentation.
- Reduces errors: When you proactively outline each step of a process, it reduces ambiguity in the process. This results in fewer mistakes and, in turn, fewer costs associated with mistakes.
- Boosts operational efficiency: Clearly defined processes reduce the need for decision-making and critical thinking. This helps boost operational efficiency as employees are able to avoid confusion and build upon repeatable processes.
- Eliminates busywork: Process documents are used to present information clearly, and this reduces the time spent on unproductive busywork. You don’t have to lose time due to disorganized communication, duplicate work and more.
- Improves processes & communication: Process documentation allows employees and organizations to analyze processes over time and improve on them where people see fit. Repetition encourages communication among team members to identify bottlenecks or areas for optimization.
- Streamlines resources: When you have clear steps outlining each stage of a project, you can easily identify the resources required to complete the project. This ensures streamlined resource allocation and prevents overspending.
- Preserves knowledge: Organizations reduce the risk of losing valuable operational knowledge when employees leave the company or through other means. At the same time, employee training and onboarding of new employees can be made easier with well-documented processes.
How can process documentation be improved?
Process documentation is an absolute must for organizations that deal with multiple processes every day. With clear documentation, you can make continuous improvements to your processes and optimize them for better use. You can also execute your projects successfully and remove inefficiencies in your processes.
Considering the significance of process documentation, it goes without saying that process documentation must be made as easy as possible. You can achieve this with the help of smart documentation tools like IT Glue. Let’s see how IT Glue can be used to improve process documentation.
Document business processes with IT Glue
IT Glue enables you to centralize your process documentation alongside your hardware assets, software assets, passwords and SOPs. This helps you streamline all business processes like resolving tickets, building client relationships and managing projects as efficiently as possible.
IT Glue has out-of-the-box checklists and ITIL SOP templates that allow you to kickstart your process enhancements right away.
To learn more about how IT Glue can help improve process documentation, request a demo.