Perspectives

How To Document Your Current Processes In 10 Easy Steps

Written By: Denise O'Berry
October 21, 2020
3 min read

Most companies use repeatable business processes to get work done. Today, businesses are looking to move many of their processes onto platforms that allow for continual improvement and iteration.

As teams begin the process of migrating these essential processes and workflows into new tools like low-code business applications, the time it takes to document these businesses processes becomes essential to the success of the project.

Documentation can help you determine if the processes are efficient or if steps can be eliminated or changed. And if you’re getting ready to automate some of your work, documenting current processes is an absolute must to ensure that your automations run smoothly and reliably.

Using the following ten step process documentation template will help you get it done quickly, efficiently, and consistently across teams and departments.

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.

Putting It All Together

Here’s a process documentation example to demonstrate how it all comes together.

  • Process Name → Pay Employees
  • Process Boundaries → Employees work for one week and get a paycheck or stub if on automatic deposit
  • Process Outputs → Employee checks or stubs, payroll report, updated PTO records
  • Process Inputs → Employee timecards
  • Process Activities → Completed and verified employee time cards, time cards delivered to HR, PTO records updated, data entered in payroll processor, checks or stubs delivered to employees, completed payroll report generated
  • Process Roles → Employee, Supervisor, HR Manager, HR Assistant

Your Next Steps

Once you have the processes documented and approved, your next step will depend on what actions you plan to take in your company. Whether or not you are making changes, it’s a good idea to take a look at each process to determine where there are opportunities to make the process more efficient.

Ready to get started documenting your processes? Join the Quickbase Builder Program to learn how to build apps, develop advanced skills, and explore Quickbase at your own pace.

Written By: Denise O'Berry
Denise O’Berry gets a lot of joy from helping businesses improve day-to-day operations that impact the bottom line. Not only does her advice come from the heart, it comes from years of experience working as a team member, team leader, manager and owner of her own company. She has truly walked in your shoes. Find her at DeniseOBerry.com and on Twitter @deniseoberry.

Never miss a post — subscribe to the Quickbase Blog.

Sign up to receive the latest posts on everything from Operational Excellence to Digital Transformation.