How to Set Up Process Documentation at a Company
This guide will walk you through everything you need to get a free DMS (document management system) up and running!
Most people spend more time and energy going around problems than in trying to solve them.”
If you’re reading this you’re interested in increasing your company's profits by increasing operational efficiency.
You understand that a company is composed of three main sections;
- Values 🌟
- Resources 👨👩👧👧
- Processes 📈
You have a product-market fit (people see value in the product or service you provide), and you've built a solid team (resources)!
But you are at the next bottleneck; as teams get bigger the ability to move in one productive direction becomes more and more difficult. Over time, meetings become more and more about arguing about differences of opinion 😠 and they usually end with no actual solution to the problems 🤷♂️.
The cause is a lack of processes 😓 Try to solve a puzzle upside down… with a team…. or build a house without blueprints… Not the best strategy.
Profitable teams need guidance to understand how resources (the team) are worked through processes (reviewed activities) to produce higher value (profit).
You think that process documentation seems like a large commitment of resources and with the state of the economy that is something you definitely can't afford.
But you know there’s a way. You’ve seen other people make huge increases in profits by implementing company processes to increase efficiency and deep down you know you could be one of them.
And you’re right. But you have to optimize your process documentation for simplicity and standardization.
This isn’t a course. It’s a step-by-step guide. Taken from experts and consultants that charge $10K+ Follow it and by the end of the guide you'll have processes in place that show you the exact fat to cut and thicken your profit margin.
This might seem very basic in the beginning. But if you do what’s inside you WILL have streamlined your company up in a few months.
There are 4 key parts to efficient process documentation (PPPR):
That’s it. You need the policy to build trust by outlining direct values to your team. Processes to show them how to convert resources into those values. Procedures to show them step by step how it's done. And revision to make sure profits are always the primary focus of your documentation.
Let’s get it.
Spectacular results come from spectacular consistency.
Knowing what to say is more important than knowing how to say it. This is why most “good writers” are broke.
Your company needs documentation and you want to get it up and running as quickly as possible!
Our team has broken the launch process into 3 simple steps anyone could implement in a day and get up and running with process documentation.
By the end, your team will be well on its way to creating “fat” free processes to increase your
operational efficiency and profits
Step 1: Team Brainstorming Meeting
Start with a MANDATORY brainstorming meeting with your full team to:
- REVIEW the pyramid nature of process documentation attached to this guide
- IDENTIFY the undefined processes that exist at your company (make a list)
- PRIORITIZE the processes that are core to your company’s values to be tackled first
- Create a schedule for each person in your team to tackle documentation that is DIRECTLY associated with their role (you can use this free Gantt tool)
Step 2: Set up policies, processes, and procedures.
The hard work is already done for you! With this guide, we have attached templates for each type of document with examples ready to go.
- Provide your leadership team with the policy template and get them to convert the company values into policies that everyone can read and follow. Create a copy of the template attached at the bottom of this page!
- Provide each department with the Process and Procedure templates attached on the homepage of this guide.
- Start with the process documents to list out activities that are leveraged to accomplish the company's goals! Process for the sales funnel, Process for shipping out inventory, Process for requesting a budget change, etc.
- The procedure provides a detailed step-by-step guide on how to complete each activity in a process. Be as detailed as possible! Provide screenshots or pictures as necessary.
- Use a free process flow generator like BPMN generator to make process flows
Step 3: Set up Storage for Document Management
Once the documentation is complete; have a centralized location to store the documentation broken up. Cloud storage like OneDrive with Microsoft or Google Drive will go a long way.
Store the files grouped together as policy, process, and procedure under each department.
This step is extremely important for scaling out this DMS! If your team cant not easily find documentation, I promise you that they will not use the documentation in their day-to-day practices. The point of a DMS is to create repeatable, high-value processes in your business that are actually used. Set up the cloud storage and make sure everyone knows how to use it. The following two youtube videos are great resources for intros to both cloud platforms.
What Are Process Docs
By the end of this document, you will understand how the three types of documentation; policies, processes, and procedures are related and what role each one plays in an organization’s documentation.
I find it very helpful to visualize the document types as a three-tier pyramid, with increasing detail as you move down the pyramid.
What is a Policy? (Top of Pyramid)
A policy outlines the guidelines around an organization's values determined by senior management. It is focused on providing a destination the organization is aiming for, but does not give any directions. For example, a policy statement for returns may be “JackRabbit Gocerer will accept returns from all customers within 30 days with a receipt” but does not outline HOW to process a return.
What is a Process? (Middle of Pyramid)
The How is provided in the process; “A process is a set of interrelated activities that turn inputs into outputs”. An example of a business process for a return policy would outline the activities associated with a return such as “complete item return form” but give NO details on the specifics of performing the task (filling out the form). Process documentation also contains a Business Process Model and Notation (BPMN) flow chart to visualize the process for an easier read. For more information on BPMN visit this webpage.
What is a Procedure (Bottom of Pyramid)
Also known as work instructions; provides the exact steps one would need to go through to complete any activity detailed in a process. Continuing with the return policy and process example; a procedural step would be “enter the item number and quantity being returned into the return form”.
Make a copy of the template above for yourself.
Take a picture of your first document, make your start official, and tag @JackRabbitOps on Twitter so I can engage with you.
Thats everything you need to get a simple DMS system going at your organization with little to no effort. If you would like a more polished and automated solution, try out our online DMS system on our website.
Cheer and process faster!