Businesses are driven by processes. More often than not, these processes are fairly definitive – do this, then do that, then do the other thing – and require a set order of operations. There are many of these processes, which makes it important that they are well-documented so you and your employees can refer to this documentation later. Here, we’ll offer a few tips on how to best document a task.
Step One: Preparation and Accessibility
When it comes to documentation, remember the importance of playing to the middle. With the exception of tasks that are remarkably specific by nature, producing documentation that is too specific won’t be nearly as helpful. Avoid creating documentation that is too open-ended, as writing vague instructions won’t help anyone either.
Of course, in order for your documentation to be usable, it also needs to be stored where it can be accessed by your employees as needed. It should be equipped with the capability to search through the documents within it, sorting them, and tracking edits. Basically, we’re saying that you need to implement a document management system or knowledge center for your processes. If you need help weighing your options, we can assist you in the decision-making process.
Step Two: Do It And Record It
Or, DIARI for short. This step is a crucial one, as it will dictate how helpful your documentation ultimately is. Go through the process yourself, taking notes to build a step-by-step guide to it. When you do so, you should add every detail, including things like contact information and standard procedures. If a given process requires a checklist of questions to be asked, that checklist should appear in the documentation for it. The same goes for anyone who is meant to be contacted during the process, his or her contact information should be provided.
This will also allow you to make insights into the process for yourself, potentially showing you ways to improve it.
Step Three: Improving It
Of course, once you have those insights, you may as well implement them and try your process again. For instance, if going about your process in a different order than what you had originally settled on may make it better, then run another trial and see how it is affected. Whether it improves the process or hinders it, you now have more information as to the right way to do things, allowing you to make better choices for your business operations.
Once you begin, you’ll find that creating helpful documentation for your business is a fairly easy process. Furthermore, there are solutions available that you can leverage to improve your documentation even more, like Steps Recorder on Windows.
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