From those of you who watched the Late Show with David Letterman, one of its popular segments was it's Top Ten lists. Those lists included almost anything imaginable. So, with that in mind and because we are regularly asked this question, why not include a list of the Top Ten Reasons why you need to document your processes?
Before we provide our list, let us ensure we all have the same definition of “process documentation.” Here is the definition we use at our company Aldridge Kerr.
Process documentation: summarize the steps necessary to successfully complete a specific task (or process).
With that definition in mind, here we go ladies and gentleman, our Top Ten List of reasons why you need process documentation:
10. Creates consistent, repeatable processes.
Lack of consistency is the number one problem we see when we work with our clients. This creates many challenges for a Company which include:
increased probability for errors
difficulty training new employees
communication break downs with customers, employees, and vendors
By documenting your processes, a company is resolving challenges created by inconsistent processes. The resulting consistent processes encourage an environment of repeatable processes. Having repeatable processes allows for sustainability, growth, and increased profitability.
9. Minimizes knowledge gaps.
Documenting your processes positions your business to move from tribal knowledge to institutional knowledge. Tribal knowledge is information that Employees know “in their heads” based on years of performing specific tasks. That knowledge can easily walk out the door if someone changes jobs, wins the lottery, gets sick, or has a horrible accident. During the current pandemic, companies are challenged with this obstacle because the Knowledge Expert is no longer down the hall and in many cases is now working remotely. Now, more than ever, processes need to be documented so the information is more easily available, and confusion of roles and responsibilities can be avoided.
8. Training and reference:
Effectively written process documentation can be used for a multitude of purposes, including training and reference. With so many employees working remotely, having access to defined, documented processes allow for the training of new employees to happen. It also functions as a ready reference for existing employees who are being asked to perform tasks they do not typically perform. By having processes documented, new employees gain insights about the company, and the documentation can be used to supplement training. In addition, with many getting sick, having routine tasks documented allows for a more seamless ability to support a company’s clients.
7. Provides insight into what is working well and what isn’t.
Amazingly, every process documentation project Aldridge Kerr has ever done has unearthed something that surprised company leadership. By looking at what is presently being done, inevitably, discoveries are made related to unneeded and/or no longer relevant steps. Also, during that review, it is often discovered that there are really great steps that are performed d