Whether creating new business processes or refining existing ones, you need to make sure your documentation is easy to understand. You’ll be taking each task involved in your business and breaking it down into individual steps that every individual in your organization is able to understand.
What are some of the effects of inefficient business practices?
1. Short and Sweet
Try to capture both your understanding of the current process, as well as any underlying intent behind the way the process is set up. Descriptions of business processes should be detailed, but also as short and concise as possible. Every wording should be relevant and directed at the goal of getting the task done.
A single business process should only have no more than 10 steps. If you outline all of the steps and then find that there are more than 10, you’ll want to split it up into two different tasks that you can independently run. Each step is essential, but if you’ve got a process that has too many steps, it’s going to be more difficult to maintain. You might want to break these tasks up so you have two individual processes for that step.
2. Talk the Talk
The wording of business process documentation is crucial. The way you word it can have a profound impact on how your employees understand and perceive it. Additionally, if it’s worded in an awkward or difficult way, it will be hard to edit and improve.
Write informally, the way you would speak. Make the tone of your content likeable and easy to read. Ensure that your employees and customers are on the same page by employing clear, comprehensible language.
3. Always have the big picture in mind
When designing business processes, always keep in mind what the goal of the process you develop is. Consider if an outside observer would be able to understand what the purpose of a process is simply by reading it. All possible steps and information should be included in process documentation, but the main point is to do it in a way that makes sense to outsiders.
Showing the big picture to your employees provides context for the task at hand. Making sure they understand the work they need to do and how it fits into the company’s goals is essential for them to be able to make efficient decisions. When they need to make a decision while carrying out their work, they will make the right decision if they understand where it fits in and what it is supposed to accomplish.
4. Little or No Supervision
Processes should be designed so that they can be completed with little or no help from others. Employees should not need to consult with supervisors or seek the help of another staff member unless absolutely necessary. Each task should be able to be completed by one person.
5. Make It Teachable
Each step or task should be easy to understand, but also easy to teach to others. You’d like each employee to only have to learn your process once, and then have them train other employees on the task. To help with this, you can use guides or “how-to” manuals. These documents explain what each of the tasks is and how they should be completed so others can work with them.
6. Use Images or Videos
Wherever your company makes it simpler to add images, videos, and other multimedia for context, add them. For example, if it’s intended to make a walkthrough or how-to video, then it would make sense to put an image, screenshots, or short videos in recommended extensions to make things easier.
The key is being clear. Write your processes so that they are lean, but not too bare. Nobody wants to read a process that doesn’t have enough information to understand it. Provide just enough information to paint a good picture.