A Quick, Ten Step Method for Documenting Business Processes
This method works best when all participants can see what’s being created by using a flip chart or white board. Make sure you have the right people in the room who know what’s involved in accomplishing the process.
Step 1 – Process Name
To get started, write the name and a description of the process on the flip chart.
Step 2 – Process Boundaries
Identify the start and end points of the process. What triggers the process to start? How do you know when it’s done?
Step 3 – Process Outputs
Identify what’s produced by the process.
Step 4 – Process Inputs
Identify what’s needed to perform the process and where it comes from. Sources may include paper, excel, web.
Step 5 – Process Activities
Brainstorm the activities (what) that need to be done to get the process from start to finish. State these in a verb / object format (e.g., approve request, sign paperwork, distribute form, etc.). Don’t worry about sequencing the activities at this time, just brainstorm freely. Sticky notes can be very effective for this step. Just write one activity on each note.
Step 6 – Process Organization
Take all the brainstorm items you identified and sequence them into the process flow. Make sure you identify key decision points as you build the visual of your process.
Step 7 – Process Review
Take a look at the sequence as a first quality check. Does it look complete based on the boundaries you defined in Step 2?
Step 8 – Process Roles
Identify the roles (whom) that will be completing the activities for the process. Assign a role to each activity step.
Step 9 – Transcribe Process
Place the steps into a flowcharting software program in a swim lane format.
Step 10 – Final Process Review
Get the participants together and review the process flow. Secure approval by all team members.