What is Business Process Documentation?

Process Documentation is the compilation of all documents that support a process.

Generally, when people hear “Process Documentation,” they think about the narrower topic of “Process Mapping”. But really business process documentation includes any and all documents that go to support a process.  That might mean policies, checklists, tutorials, forms or even links to other applications.

Process documentation is a complete description of how to execute a given process. Here is the acid test. Can someone somebody, with a reasonable knowledge of your company, find and read the documentation and successfully execute an instance of the process? If so, you passed the test. You have some pretty good process documentation. Unfortunately, that’s often not the case, while individuals may think they know their process well. Unless it is written down, chances are they are not completing their tasks the same way as their peers. This is crucial because the key to quality is consistency.

Who is involved in Process Documentation:

To some extent, everyone in your organisation should be getting their hands messy with process documentation. After all, in theory, all repeatable actions in your business will be covered, there are very few roles that don’t have these. Here are the many considerations to factor with process documentation:

  • Project Teams – Experts advocate assigning an experienced and talented individual in a team to the process owner role. This way the owner understands the process they are documenting and has a clear incentive to making it more efficient – they work on it personally.
  • Stakeholders – Providing a platform to learn about everyday processes, to check in on workers perspectives and experiences is pragmatic for Stakeholders.
  • Outsiders – Consultants, freelancers, new recruits there are many interactions with those unfamiliar with your organisation which will greatly benefit from clear, precise process documentation.

Why invest in Process Documentation?

With proper implementation here are some of the goals process documentation can help you achieve:

  • Track effectiveness, timeliness and execution of tasks.
  • Identify the impact of changes in your process.
  • Furthermore, recognise bottlenecks and other flaws in your process.
  • Decrease resources and costs on tasks.
  • Finally, improve the efficiency and quality of your work, leading to better customer satisfaction.

If your organisation isn’t using any form of documentation for how you complete your work it’s probably time to fix that. After all, it’s the execution that decides whether a concept becomes a success.

Resources on Process Documentation:

Review of the top 5 business process documentation tools