How To Document Your Current Processes In 10 Easy Steps

Oct 21, 2020
< 1 Min Read
Woman arranges sticky notes on wall to visualize plans.

Most companies use repeatable business processes to get work done. Today, businesses are looking to move many of their processes ontoplatformsthat 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.  

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Using the following ten step process documentation template will help you get it done quicklyefficiently, 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 check stub if on automatic deposit
Process Outputs Employee checks or stubs, payroll report, updated PTO records
Process Inputs Employee time cards
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 Quick Base Builder Program to learn how to build apps, develop advanced skills, and explore Quick Base at your own pace.

Watch the Quick Base University training "How to Think Like a Quick Base Problem Solver" to start improving your processes – and your business – today.
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