How to accomplish Business Process Documentation?
‘Documentation’, this word sounds very familiar to everyone, but everyone dislikes the process of documentation. It is one of the most tedious tasks in the world.
At every stage in our life, documentation is one process that is mandatory and extremely important. It would be best if you had to have documents for everything, whether your job or passport or visa. The importance of documentation is incomparable.
When a job requires proper documentation, think about setting up a business without it. Do you think it’s possible? Do you even think it’s worth it? Again, the clear answer is ‘No.’
Business Process Documentation is mandatory while setting up a business, especially in the initial stages. However, once there is upscaling in the company, it becomes very difficult to catch up with the documentation process.
Always remember if you keep procrastinating this process in the initial stages, it will pile on so badly in the future that it can become a hindrance to your business while it’s upscaling.
What is Business Process Documentation?
It is a process that involves documentation related to every minute of tasks in a business. Some of the essential documentation processes are- Forms, Tutorials, Checklists, Policies, Company History, Company Literature and any related subjective information that the company wants to get documented.
Documentation is like designing a cookbook for your company. A cookbook is designed to document tested and tried recipes so that it can be helpful to share and reuse when required in the future.
When you document all the processes, policies and everything related to your company, it serves as a database for you and your future employees to understand the company standards and work accordingly.
What are the Benefits of Business Documenting Processes?
Documenting Processes can be extremely boring, but it has tons and tons of advantages in a business infrastructure. Documentation can be an asset for the company’s progress, and it establishes a good company reputation in the industry.
A few benefits of Business Process Documentation are:
- Documentation is a great way to optimize processes and other general policies in a business.
- It acts as an asset for company rules and regulations, which is beneficial when a new employee is recruited. Any new person struggles a lot in the beginning days of their recruitment; hence, a properly documented company’s processes helps them understand and gradually adapt quickly to the company’s environment.
- It helps in maintaining the confidentiality of a few or many company processes.
- It is a way of maintaining the security of the company.
- It is the roadmap to the company’s journey, policies, processes and achievements.
- It helps create a database for future evolutions in the company, like automation through tools and technologies.
- It relieves employees from the extra burden of disorganized company infrastructure.
- It increases the productivity of the employees in the company.
- Organized documentation of a company helps in a smoother journey while upscaling the business.
- It also helps track the company’s progress and establish new methods to improve and scale the business.
- It indirectly helps boost the revenue of the company.
Types of Business Process Documentation
There are many types of Business Processes Documentation; some of them are,
- Terms and Conditions.
- Rules and Regulations.
- Salary Slips
- Work Instructions.
- Training Manuals.
- Company Policies.
- Process Maps.
- Onboarding Documents.
- Video Tutorials.
- Entry and Exit Criteria.
- White Papers.
Steps Involved in Business Process Documentation
There are multiple steps to accomplish Business Process Documentation; they are:
Step 1: The first step towards documentation is understanding and identifying which processes in a business require documentation. It helps in time wastage on documentation of lesser priority processes in the company.
Step 2: After identifying the processes, it’s time to decide the scope of operations, including a short description of the process and its outcome.
Step 3: This step includes defining boundaries during documentation. The limitations include cause, duration, and starting and ending points.
Step 4: After defining boundaries, it’s important to establish the outcome after completing the process.
Step 5: All the establishments related to the processes are finished, and now it’s time to list the resources related to the defined company processes.
Step 6: Now, measures related to each defined process have to be created by consulting with the respective teams pertaining to the operations and arranging a brainstorming session to get an overall perspective and better output.
Step 7: Here, the process flow has to be developed, which includes arranging all the process steps in sequential order and enhancing the clarity of the steps to avoid complex process flows.
Step 8: It includes listing out the persons and their designations related to a particular process and vividly describing their roles for clarity.
Step 9: In this step, it’s important to visualize the process documentation created and find ways to enhance the readability by incorporating proper alignment and flowcharts if necessary.
Step 10: Establish the exceptions for situations when it does not go as was planned.
Step 11: During process documentation, it’s important to establish control points to eliminate and reduce the risks related to the documentation.
Step 12: This final step involves reviewing and proofreading the documentation.
Approaches Used in Business Process Documentation
Traditionally, documentation processes were manually done, but now, with the advancements in technology, there are different approaches to documentation, and they are,
- Agile and Waterfall methods are widely used in the software industry for documentation. This approach requires good collaboration and strong teamwork. About 95% of software companies have adopted the Agile approach for documenting processes.
- To create step by step processes or instructions, video tools and screen sharing tools can be used. Some devices are Screenflow, Loom, Camtasia etc.
- To create engaging flowcharts with pictorial representations and diagrams, the company can use many online tools. For example, some software platforms are Miro, Smartdraw etc.
- Document collaboration tools help to process documents. These tools also give timely feedback to carry out necessary improvements. The document collaboration tools are Google Docs, Bit.ai etc.
- The companies can use knowledge base software to process the company’s documents and manage process guides. A few Knowledge base tools are Guru, Tettra, Notion etc.
- Digital Adoption Platforms (DAPs) are helpful when teaching new processes to the company employees. These platforms help make learning very interactive. Some DAPs are Whatfix, Pendo, Intercom etc.
- Automation is the best way to reduce the complexity of the documentation process. Many tools and companies have developed different automation techniques to reduce the burden on businesses and help in smooth functioning.
Challenges in Business Process Documentation
Many companies find it extremely challenging to accomplish the documentation process. There are many challenges concerning the process documentation methods; some of the challenges will be discussed here:
Lack of Time: Most companies find it difficult to invest time in documentation as it takes up a lot of employees’ time and energy.
Changing Times: Since amendments are happening in this world daily, many companies think it’s futile to standardize and document processes.
Loss of Flexibility: Many companies think that if processes are documented initially, it challenges the flexibility of a process, affecting the company’s growth.
Increases Complexity: Many people think that standardization of processes can increase the complexity and induce a corporate culture in the company’s personal space.
Unnecessary Expense: Most companies think it’s unnecessary to waste the budget on documentation at the initial stages.
Establishing a great business is essential to start documenting processes as early as possible. It is also necessary to look forward to the brighter side and incorporate software tools to make amendments as and when required.
Business Process Documentation in businesses can be compared to a disciplined and dedicated person. Of course, being disciplined and dedicated requires some time and hard work, but the results are extremely fruitful; the same is true for process documentation in businesses.
Sometimes, it is better to see past the challenges and incorporate ways to resolve them. Entrepreneurs should feel fortunate to live in this world where technology can take up 50-60% of their workload and help reduce both human resources and costs. Therefore, it is advisable to make wiser decisions and incorporate the best techniques in the market to reach maximum growth.