How to Document a Business Process

If you have never documented a process before, it can be quite daunting. However, it really isn’t (or shouldn’t!) be too challenging.

Firstly, be clear on the level of process that you wish to define. A process might be top-level, or it could be operational.

Then, just follow my simple steps below.

  1. Describe the purpose of the process. Why does it exist? What is it supposed to achieve?
  2. What are the triggers? What has to happen for the process to begin?
  3. What are the outputs? What is the end-point? (you have now created the boundaries for the process you are documenting)
  4. Who are the ‘actors’? Process actors are the people who are involved in the execution of the process. Don’t forget that actors can be both internal and external (such as suppliers, subcontractors, etc.)
  5. Responsibilities and authority. Who makes the decisions and who performs the key tasks?
  6. The process. Create a diagram that represents the process flow and key tasks and decisions involved. There are 2 ways to do this – (1) the standard flowchart approach or (2) using ‘swimlanes’ to depict the actors and their contribution.
  7. Measures. How would you know if the process was (a) a success, or (b) a failure? What indicators can you monitor?
  8. Known Issues. What are the problems associated with this process, that you are currently aware of?
  9. Risks. What can potentially cause an issue and compromise the success of process but hasn’t happened yet?

That’s it!

But, it’s what you do with a process document that makes it so powerful. I’ll cover that in another post…

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