7 Process Documentation Best Practices Every Business Should Use

Are you a business owner looking to ensure that you’re using the best process documentation practices? Did you know that in the U.S. alone there are 30,748,033 small businesses?

In this article, explore some of the best process documentation practices you won’t want to miss out on. Read on to discover why you’ll want to implement these for your business, and how they can speed up the documentation process.

What Is Process Documentation?

Business process documentation is when you use a flowchart that has the steps necessary to complete a process. It’s used as a guide for employees at all different levels of the business.

Business owners can use it to train new employees, but it’s beneficial for other employees as well. It’s helpful in helping you to improve or refine different parts of the process.

It supports documents such as:

  • Process maps
  • Tutorials
  • Policies
  • Checklists
  • Forms
  • Screenshots
  • Links in other applications

The Documentation Process:

  • First, you’ll need to name and identify the process
  • Next, determine the process scope
  • Go over process boundaries
  • Define process outputs
  • Define process inputs
  • Determine process steps
  • Organize the steps
  • Determine who is involved
  • Visualize the steps necessary
  • Make note of exceptions
  • Add measurements and control points
  • Review
  • Test the process

Who Should You Involve?

Those you involve should include the project team, outside parties, and stakeholders. Outside parties include those who might depend on the process such as a contractor.

If stakeholders are involved in the process, it’s a good idea to include them as well. This will allow you to understand their objective, and they can better understand the documentation process.

Benefits of Process Documentation

First, it helps train new and seasoned employees. When you’re onboarding new workers, you can help them understand their job role by using process documentation.

Seasoned employees can take a look at it as well for a refresher. It’s also a great way to keep a record of the processes that may be only a few people know.

1. Stick With the Value Chain

Whether you’re looking to convert XML to Word or not, you won’t want to drift from the value chain. A large part of the documentation process is the value chain.

2. Keep It Clear

Documentation best practices include keeping it clear. If you’re not clear about your expectations it can lead to errors.

Consider using screenshots or images to help decrease wording that’s not necessary. Limit abbreviations since not everyone will understand those terms.

3. Accessible

Ensure that the documentation is easy for your workers to find and access. If they’re difficult to find, then fewer people will use them.

Keep a knowledge base for your workers to easily access. This will allow any mistakes to be avoided and updates to happen.

4. Choose Indicators

You’ll want to choose good indicators in order to measure the efficiency of different processes. If you choose indicators that don’t properly measure your real objectives, it can wind up being useless.

5. Improvement Opportunities

Next, you can determine different problems and weaknesses during the different stages of the process. You can use a spreadsheet to document different improvements. There are different software options out there as well for managing improvements.

6. Review Processes

It’s a good idea to analyze the different processes in a reasonable amount of time. If you take too long on large projects that’ll lead to stretching it out and delays.

7. Determine the Depth

You don’t want to go too deep into the level of documentation. Determine the goals you want to achieve and keep them as a reminder.

A good idea is to gather your team to come to a decision instead of just using one session. You’ll want to ensure that you come to a decision in however many meetings necessary and don’t rush the process.

The Difference Between a Procedure and a Process?

A procedure is the way that you can carry out a process or activity. A process is the procedure and the big picture of all of the details and elements.

While flow charts can describe processes, procedures have to include written text in order to describe them. Procedures can give you both input and output. Whereas the process gives you the steps necessary to deliver a service or product.

The Different Ways of Creating Process Documentation

There are 3 ways you can create process documentation: workflow software, pen and paper, and graphing software. Graphing software lets you create various graphs for ease of use.

Workflow software lets you document the different processes, and keep track of them. You can also choose the traditional route and just use a pen and paper. While this is easy to create, it’s not the best option.

Reviewing

It’s important that you review the process and make updates necessary. This is how you’ll continue to benefit from them.

First, you’ll want to test the different processes. Are there any complaints or issues noted?

Next, get feedback. Ask your team and others how the process is working. Do they feel that anything needs improving?

Determine how you’ll make the improvements necessary. Make changes that you feel are necessary, and test how it goes.

Start to track the process and KPIs. Review the documentation process in a year to make any changes necessary.

Understanding Process Documentation Best Practices

Now that you’ve explored the best practices of process documentation, you should have a better idea of how to proceed. Would you like to read technology content? Check out our other articles today.

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