Whether you are a small street-side store or a multinational company with a global footprint, efficient process management is crucial to keep all the complexities and chaos miles away from your business.
Right from selling a product to solving customer problems, every business function depends on several processes strung together.
Managing these processes is a herculean task, given all the detailing and analysis required.
Well, we have an easy solution to this tough undertaking!
Creating process documentation can help you consolidate all business processes in a centralized space, where they can be split up into steps and illustrated using flow charts and diagrams. Employees will have instant access to process-related information, which helps them perform tasks efficiently without any bottlenecks.
In this blog, we will discuss process documentation in detail, including its benefits, examples, and how it can be created.
What Is Process Documentation?
Process documentation gives a detailed description of your business processes and step-by-step instructions on how to execute them. Each process is explained holistically using a rich blend of written text, images, and videos to make learning easier for employees. This documentation provides employees a roadmap to follow while performing tasks, thus keeping away all the confusion and chaos.
Key Benefits of Process Documentation
Creating process documentation is time-consuming. However, the benefits it provides make all that hard work worthwhile.
Let’s explore the advantages you can glean by implementing process documentation.
1. Brings Consistency to Your Company’s Operations
With dedicated process documentation, employees have access to tried and tested written set of instructions. This prevents them from reinventing the wheel every time they have to execute a process. Structured documentation of all business processes with expert-approved steps helps maintain consistency in how employees work and perform tasks.
2. Increases Process Compliance
With no written record of processes, employees are likely to do things their way, which often results in blame games when the results don’t match the expectations. Process documentation makes employees wary of every step they take. They sincerely follow the guidelines provided and take full responsibility in case of process failure due to non-compliance.
3. Aids Employee Onboarding
In the first few weeks of joining, new employees hardly have any idea of your business processes. With well-documented and clearly defined processes, new hires are saved from the time-consuming back and forth regarding how to perform tasks. Employees have a ready-made framework in which they can work and achieve positive outcomes right from day one.
Read More: Employee Onboarding: How to Use Your Knowledge Base Effectively
4. Prevents Mistakes
Mistakes are bound to happen wherever there is human involvement. However, with well-maintained process documentation, you can significantly reduce unnecessary errors and their associated cost. When something goes wrong while conducting a process, you can always go back to the document to reference the steps. This helps you catch errors and fix them before they turn into blunders.
How to Create Process Documentation
Building process documentation is no rocket science, provided you know the steps to follow.
Here are five simple steps to get your process documentation up and running in minutes.
Step 1: Set Your Objectives & Goals
Before you kick off the process, it’s crucial to determine the goals you aim to achieve with the documentation. Setting actionable and achievable goals will set you up for success right off the bat.
The goal setting must be done after consulting employees about the problems they are facing at work.
For example, if new hires encounter challenges understanding how specific tasks should be performed, then employee onboarding can be one of the key objectives. On the other hand, if there is inconsistency and inefficiency in your business operations, you can create a process document to bridge this gap.
Similarly, there can be several objectives for undertaking this initiative depending on the challenges your business and your workforce are facing.
Step 2: Define the Scope of Your Processes
This stage of documentation involves defining the scope of the entire process that will set the boundaries, so your team can work responsibly and generate the expected results.
So, what do these boundaries include?
For starters, you should clearly document the goals you expect to accomplish by the end of this process.
You can also set the start and end dates of the process document. The duration of the documentation process can extend from a single week to months, depending on how complex the process is and the components it involves.
Besides, the scope includes key stakeholders, such as researchers, contributors, and editors, who will directly work on your documentation. You can also include the names of teams such as marketing, HR, operations, etc., who will take full charge of what information goes inside.
Step 3: Build a Strong Team
Process documentation cannot be created in silos. It needs the collective efforts of multiple teams and employees so that the burden of documentation doesn’t fall upon a single person.
You need knowledgeable and experienced people who can work from a blank slate and lead the process. When gathering your team, keep a mix of subject matter experts, writers, reviewers, and administrators and allow them to work cohesively from a centralized space.
As mentioned in the previous step, include stakeholders from different departments so they can guide the process and control what goes into the documentation.
Modern process documentation tools like ProProfs Knowledge Base help you set up a collaborative space where stakeholders across levels can work under a single roof.
With clearly-defined roles, there is more transparency and accountability in the process, which play a huge role in producing flawless documentation.
Here’s a quick video to show how this tool can kickstart collaboration between teams.
Step 4: Create Content for Your Documentation
Once you have set up a team, start developing well-researched content for your business processes.
Every department works differently, which means their processes will also be distinct from each other. Let researchers connect with experts across teams to gather information through brainstorming, interviews, or surveys. An easier way would be to appoint one person in each team as the researcher, whose main job will be to bring accurate information to the table.
Writers can vet the information and add only what’s absolutely necessary. This will keep your documentation clean, organized, and free of fluff.
Here are a few key pointers you must keep in mind while documenting processes and procedures:
- Keep the steps short and to the point
- Do not overwhelm readers with too much information in a go
- Use diagrams, screenshots, and videos to demonstrate business processes
- Give each process a relevant title and use a numbering system to mention the steps
- Avoid complex adjectives and keep the language as simple as possible
Once your content is ready, move on to the next step of reviews and approvals.
Step 4: Establish a Review & Approval Process
Creating process documentation is a long and exhausting journey, requiring the contribution of multiple teams.
Even if you have the best talent on board, errors are bound to happen. However, with a rigorous review process, you can identify mistakes on time before your document goes out for publishing.
A systematic review process also helps editors identify steps that are confusing and difficult to follow. There might be several issues with grammar and process-related facts that can be addressed in the review stage.
Now, here’s a question – how can you create a review and approval process to ensure only the best content goes live?
By employing a decent documentation tool, you can create custom workflows that help maintain transparency through well-defined statuses and ensure every article passes through multiple review stages.
Step 5: Monitor & Improve Document Performance
As your company flourishes, there will be numerous changes in how your departments function and employees work.
New people will join your HR team and modify the existing processes to achieve superior results. Your sales department might come up with high-performing strategies and processes to improve customer satisfaction.
A lot can happen in a matter of months and years!
That’s precisely why your process documents should be monitored and improved regularly.
Check which articles employees find the least helpful. Find the keywords that fail to return the right results. Identify the articles that received the highest number of upvotes and downvotes.
These are some of the KPIs that can help you keep a close eye on your content quality and ensure that it’s always hitting the mark.
Some of the best online documentation tools come with built-in reports that provide AI-powered insights into how your document is performing and which areas need your immediate attention.
Watch this quick video to learn how reports work.
Process Documentation Examples
There are multiple areas where process documentation is considered important. For example, performance reviews, employee onboarding, customer support, software development, and many others.
Here are a few process documentation examples to give you a glimpse of what goes inside these documents and how they are designed.
Shown above is ManageEngine’s help documentation powered by ProProfs. As you can see, the process of installing an applications manager in Linux is split up into simple and short steps that are easy to follow. Anyone going through these steps will quickly gain an idea of how to install the applications manager and put it to use.
Similarly, business processes like employee onboarding, customer support, etc., can be explained using steps and visualized with the help of flowcharts and diagrams.
Here’s an example of a flowchart demonstrating the process of customer service.
Create Process Documentation to Maintain a Healthy Business
Chaotic operations are common to most businesses that do not have a streamlined system of managing processes.
With such disarray in the workplace, employee productivity often goes down the drain, and performance hits dramatically in the long run.
Creating process documentation can serve as the best solution to this problem. The process of building this document is quite easy, with just five simple steps to follow.
For starters, you should be crystal clear about the goals you aim to achieve. Next, define the scope and build a dedicated team who will work on your documentation. Get all processes reviewed by subject matter experts and ensure that your documentation is always updated and relevant.
In addition, you can also employ documentation software like ProProfs Knowledge Base to manage processes and achieve impeccable service delivery across departments. Sign up for a free trial and witness the magic it brings!
Do you want a free Knowledge Base?
We have the #1 Online Knowledge Base Software for instant self-help