Why Document Your Process Management?
Many businesses underestimate the value of documenting their core processes, assuming that they are already being done the right way, and that their employees know what they are doing. However, in today’s competitive marketplace, it is more important than ever to have a clear understanding of the processes that drive your business and adapt accordingly.
As I’m sure you already know, documenting business processes involves capturing and organising the steps required to complete a specific task or project. This could include anything from how to onboard a new employee to how to manufacture a product.
First, let’s remind ourselves as to why it is important to be able to consistently improve process documentation over time:
Improving Process Management
One of the key reasons why businesses need to document their process management is to ensure consistency and quality across all operations. By defining and standardising the steps involved in completing a task, you can minimise errors and improve the overall quality of your output. This is especially important for businesses that rely on repeatable process management to deliver their products or services consistently.
Another benefit of documenting your business processes is that it can make it easier to train new employees or delegate work to existing employees. When processes are clearly defined and documented, it becomes clearer for people to understand how things are done and what is expected of them. This can reduce the learning curve and help new employees become productive more quickly.
Furthermore, having well-documented process management can also increase efficiency and productivity. By breaking down complex tasks into smaller, more manageable steps, you can identify areas where processes can be streamlined or automated. This can help you eliminate unnecessary steps, reduce bottlenecks, and ultimately save time and resources.
Documenting your business process management can also help you identify areas where improvements can be made. By having a clear understanding of how things are currently done, you can identify areas where processes can be improved or optimised. This can help you reduce waste, improve quality, and increase overall efficiency.
Finally, documenting your business process management can also help you prepare for growth and scale. As your business grows, it becomes more difficult to keep track of everything that is going on. By documenting your processes, you can ensure that everyone is on the same page and that tasks are being completed in a consistent and efficient manner. This can help you scale your business more effectively and avoid potential issues down the road.
So now that we’ve reminded ourselves on why process management is necessary to scale a business. Let’s talk about how you can achieve this amongst a million other competing pressures.
How to Achieve Effective Process Management
First, the BOS framework download has a tab to easily document you company process management. This allows for quick reviews when questions come up about how things should be done or a place to put lessons learned that involve a certain business process. Often it is seen as too time-consuming to find this documentation during a management meeting, so the conversations remain at a highly generalised level resulting in lower-quality conversations and solution strategies.
The BOS framework promotes is an ongoing focus on making incremental process documentation improvements as and when they relate to executing strategies and objectives. Creating process documentation for documentation’s sake isn’t practical, but creating it as the company solves issues or gains opportunities that involve the business process adds to the quality of the solution and increases the company’s overall level of process management over time.
Documenting your business processes is critical for achieving consistency, quality, efficiency, and scalability. It helps you reduce errors, train new employees, increase productivity, identify areas for improvement, and prepare for growth. If you haven’t already started documenting your core processes, it’s time to start now.
Determining Which Processes are Most Important to Document
The second practical strategy for developing business process management is to refine the development effort and work from the most critical processes downward.
In essence, you are making a conscious decision to develop your core business processes over a defined time period. This can work better than your past results with the help of the BOS Framework. In addition to providing you with a strategy to access your process management information, the BOS framework also pushes you during quarterly meetings to identify key processes that have strategic value in documenting, then uses ‘rocks’, objectives, or projects to make incremental improvements over a 90-day period. You will be amazed at how quickly you develop a solid library of business processes while not impacting the execution efforts on more urgent issues.
Now that we understand the way in which to iteratively improve process documentation over time without disruption, let’s come back to how to determine the most important processes to document.
The first step is to prioritise them based on their impact on the organisation. Look at the processes that are critical to the success of your business and determine which ones have the most impact on your ability to achieve your goals. This can be done by asking questions such as:
- Which processes expose your company to the greatest amount of risk?
- Which processes are most important to customers?
- Which processes are most closely tied to revenue streams?
- Which processes have the highest risk of failure?
Once you have identified the most important processes to document, the next step is to break them down into smaller, manageable components. This will help ensure that each process is documented thoroughly and accurately. You can use flowcharts or process maps to help visualise the steps involved in each process. We’ll talk more about this shortly.
There are numerous ways to get help on how to document your process management. The point we want to focus on is the critical success factor in process management. This is something the BOS framework supports, keeping ongoing visibility and pressure on the need for well-documented business management.
By following the steps, utilising the BOS framework and considering the benefits of process documentation, you can begin to build a culture of continuous improvement within your organisation. This will help ensure that your team members have the tools they need to be successful and that your organisation is positioned for long-term growth and success.
Insights When Documenting Key Processes
Over the years we have observed some particularly helpful strategies that don’t often show up in your typical business process descriptions.
The first of these insights is the value of focusing on clear triggers to commence and complete a business process. We want to be acutely clear on how this process begins. Some processes start on a specified date or time, others begin when an event occurs, but however it occurs each process should begin in a specific way. Often more valuable is the second step, which is the definition of how the process should end. This clarity often provokes discussions and strategies for doing it well and not cutting corners. Thus, you can often tighten up your process strategy and clarity by ensuring those two events are clearly defined.
The second insight is adding a section to the documentation titled “Screw Ups Look Like…” or something similar. This becomes an all-important benchmark of all the lessons learned over the years through people completing this process. This strategy focuses on retaining all the knowledge gained and problems paid for by the company when this process was done incorrectly or poorly.
This “Screw-Up List” becomes a major asset for quickly training people on key data points that will prevent repeating mistakes made in the past. It also helps provide more context to why the process is important.
The third insight is using a “Who Is” versus “Who Should” analysis for each step in a process to identify opportunities for delegating work within the organisation. This exercise often uncovers opportunities to free up the most talented people in the organisation to do more valuable work.
Clarity is king in life and business. Clearly defined and developed business process management can be a game changer for scaling or selling a business. The right approach is that of a marathon, not a sprint. The good news is that you can begin gaining benefits almost immediately after starting down this journey.
This completes my seven-step guide to the pillars Business Operation Systems. With this information, you will be able to refine your company processes, manage your staff more effectively, increase productivity and yield, and foresee issues and opportunities before they occur.
Next week, we will look at the strategies for implementing all you have learned in this series.
Until then, enjoy the process!