How To Write A Process Document Process Documentation

How to write a process document process documentation

File Name: ?print=pdf

File Size: 401.53 KB

File Type: Application/pdf

Last Modified: 7 months

Status: Available

Last checked: 20 hours ago!

This Document Has Been Certified by a Professional

100% customizable

Language: English

We recommend downloading this file onto your computer


How To Write A Process
Document: Process
Documentation Guide
At its most basic, doing business is as simple as exchanging goods and services
for compensation. Competing in the modern global marketplace, however, is a
much more complex endeavor, requiring a strategic yet agile approach

Companies that develop and implement process documentation—i.e., a formal
record describing how business processes should be executed—can better
navigate today’s interconnected and data-driven economy

Understanding how to write process documentation effectively begins with
mastering its components, recognizing its benefits, and following some simple
best practices. With time and care, documenting your business processes will
help your company operate more efficiently, eliminate confusion and bottlenecks
1 / 12
in your workflows, and set the stage for more ambitious business process
management (BPM) initiatives

Why Knowing How to Write Process
Documentation Matters
Properly developed and implemented process documents provide a reliable and
audit-friendly record of how a company performs its different processes—thereby
establishing what is known as standard operating procedure, or SOP. These
documents become reliable tools anyone in your organization can use to follow
procedure properly, whether they work in the C-suite, management, or general

When documenting how to execute business processes, team members use a
variety of different document and file types, including but not limited to:
Linked applications
Linked Web content
Business policies
Process maps
Combining these different documents allows the team to properly record current
processes in an efficient way while allowing for sufficient flexibility to customize
new documents for new processes

Process documentation helps companies identify what works in a given process,
2 / 12
as well as potential bottlenecks and other issues. Over time, the documents can
be refined to reflect adjustments made to the process to improve efficiency,
speed, accuracy, etc

Benefits of Effective Process
Taking the time to properly document your business processes provides a range
of benefits to your organization beyond simple peace of mind, including:
Improved risk mitigation and business continuity planning. Clear
and complete process documents reduce the risk of costly errors and
support accountability. They also limit risk by reducing the potential for
fraud or other malfeasance, and in the event of a major disaster or
disruption, can provide a ready-made archive for resuming operations as
quickly and safely as possible

Process improvement at all levels. Process documentation helps
companies identify what works in a given process, as well as potential
bottlenecks and other issues. Over time, the documents can be refined to
reflect adjustments made to the process to improve efficiency, speed,
accuracy, etc

More effective employee training and education. New hires can
quickly get up to speed following process documents. Existing team
members can use the same documents for reference when taking on new
responsibilities, refreshing their understanding of their current roles, or
making sure they’ve followed all the necessary steps in a given process

Having everyone on the same page improves consistency in overall
performance, reduces the amount of time necessary to develop and
implement new processes, and improves collaboration and
communication, too
3 / 12
Clear documentation of processes required for filing patents and
protecting intellectual property. Trade secrets and proprietary
materials are better protected with a transparent and complete record of
their creation, components, and uses

Better outsourcing. With clear and concise process documentation, your
organization can readily outsource appropriate processes to lower
overhead, improve efficiency, and strengthen the bottom line

Preservation of organizational knowledge. Documented processes
ensure essential information isn’t tied to a single person or department

Anyone with the skills and the process document can accomplish a given

Cost savings. More efficient and accurate processes save your company
money in the short-term through fewer errors and greater speed. Over
time, as processes are further refined, the savings increase through
reduced waste, lower resource consumption, and soft value created by
greater employee satisfaction and productivity

Support for advanced business management strategies. Readily
accessible and well-developed process documentation is essential for any
organization interested in leveraging more complex business processes
such as cross-functional collaboration

A firm foundation for business process automation. From
onboarding new employees to learning how to use documentation tools
themselves, process mapping is the essential starting point for more
advanced business process management. Well-documented processes can
be readily transferred to automated systems, allowing for companies to
see significant gains in cost savings, efficiency, and value right away
instead of having to start from scratch
4 / 12
Who’s Responsible for Creating Process
In general, process documentation requires three different roles: Process Owner,
Documentation Custodian, and Technical Writer. While these three roles are often
performed by different team members, it’s possible that a single individual will fill
all three for a given process, or perform any one role for the company’s entire
library of business processes

Process Owners:
Define the parameters of the process, including:
Overall mission supported by the process

Process goals

Tactics used in executing the process

Metrics (including key performance indicators (KPIs))
Enforce process standards and SOP

Monitor the process as documented and report on performance

Develop process improvement plans

Documentation Custodians:
Establish, organize, and maintain the filing system used to store

Maintain complete and accurate records for the entire process

Ensure documentation is available in real time for review

Archive or destroy obsolete documents as required by company policy

Technical Writers:
Collect, organize, and use source materials to write process documents

Use simple, but clear, language to effectively convey all ideas within a
5 / 12

Standardize and revise documents as required

Create all supplementary materials related to the process, including any
flowcharts, diagrams, forms, or graphs

Writing a Process Document
The best way to document any business process is to take things step by step

1. Identify the Process
Choose a process. Determine and describe what the process is, why it is
necessary, and how it will benefit your company

2. Define Process Scope
Briefly describe what is and what isn’t included as part of the process, i.e. the
process scope

3. Establish Process Boundaries
Define the criteria that trigger the process. Establish a timeline from the
beginning of the process to its completion. Define the results that confirm the
process is completed successfully. Clear boundaries make it much easier to
properly document, evaluate, and fine-tune all of your business processes

4. Define Process Outputs
Briefly and clearly describe the desired results that come from completing the
process successfully
6 / 12
5. Define Process Inputs
Record the resources required to execute all steps of the process

6. Brainstorm
Working with the process owner(s), documentation custodians, and technical
writer, review all process-relevant information to organize the process into clear
and intuitive steps. Work from the timeline established within Step 3 while
brainstorming to ensure all areas of the process are addressed

7. Establish Process Sequence
Organize the steps created in Step 6 into a process workflow. Remember to
prioritize clarity and conciseness while being as thorough as necessary to ensure
all stakeholders can successfully execute the process as documented

8. Define Responsible Parties
Define those responsible for all tasks within the process. Identify all parties by job
title to ensure the process is evergreen and not dependent on any single
individual or group

9. Visualize Process Workflows
Process mapping using flowcharts greatly improves the readability and
accessibility of process documentation. Start with a simple process flowchart to
provide a visual reference of how the process should flow from beginning to end
via the steps you’ve created

Note: For consistency’s sake and to improve overall process efficiency, your team
may want to create a range of flowchart templates that can be used when
7 / 12
documenting both existing and new processes. These templates will also prove
useful later for stakeholders tasked with creating their own process

10. Identify Exceptions and Develop
Context is essential for successfully executing many business processes. Your
process documentation may require additional content to describe possible
variations based on different business needs and goals. Identify the conditions
that would require changes in the workflows of the process, the resources and
modified actions required to address such a need, and any additional information
8 / 12
the average reader might require to successfully complete the process

An updated flowchart including exceptions and contingencies will provide further
context for readers and help minimize confusion and errors

11. Establish Metrics and Control Points
Perform a simple risk assessment to uncover potential risks inherent to the
process. Develop control points the process owner can use to evaluate risk
exposure and take action as needed while they monitor the process

Working as a team, decide which KPIs will be used to evaluate and improve the
process. Document what these KPIs are, what they do, and any information
necessary for both process owners and users to ensure they’re used effectively

12. Review and Evaluate
Review your process flowchart for errors, omissions, and clarity. Perform a “dry
run” following the process as documented, review the results, and make any
adjustments as necessary

Best Practices for Process Documentation
Every business will have unique aspects to its workflows and documented
processes, but following some basic best practices can help any organization gain
greater benefits from their process documentation efforts

Prioritize clarity, simplicity, and accuracy as well as user-friendliness

Standardize and organize. All documentation should conform to company
standards, use brand-appropriate colors, typefaces, formatting, etc., and
have a real-time backup available to mitigate disaster. Consider
developing a process documentation template so users can hit the ground
running when creating their own process documents
9 / 12
Ensure process documentation is readily accessible for all stakeholders

Ensure team members responsible for updating processes can readily
access process documentation, and have the means to distribute new
versions (or notify users of a new version stored on a shared system)

Centralized document storage, especially as part of a larger automation
solution, can simplify document management. Cloud-based, role-
appropriate access across platforms and devices makes it easier for team
members to access, utilize, and revise process documents as needed

Start small. Process documentation is a complex and substantial
undertaking, so beginning with a single process in an important
department or a process shared by the entire organization can help get
the ball rolling without causing too much disruption

Develop and document processes for updating processes, and review
them frequently

Ensure every process has its own distinct documentation

Develop and distribute a process documentation guide as a reference tool
and template for anyone documenting a new process or revising an
existing one

Take advantage of diverse media sources and documentation tools to
ensure processes are as clear, accurate, and complete as possible

Flowcharts, graphics, screenshots, and color coding provide excellent
visual accompaniment to text. Multimedia content such as how-to videos,
interviews, and simulations can provide even richer context without
needlessly bloating a process’ documentation

Process Documentation Aids
Standardization and Organization
Not everything in life is as simple as following directions. But when it comes to
business, documentation tools help you map, optimize, and record your processes
10 / 12
to ensure they’re being executed consistently, accurately, and as efficiently as
possible. Give your entire organization a clear and intuitive guide for getting the
job done right the first time—and set the stage for even greater improvements
through business process automation down the line

What’s your goal today?
1. Use PLANERGY to manage purchasing and accounts
We’ve helped save billions of dollars for our clients through better spend
management, process automation in purchasing and finance, and reducing
financial risks. To discover how we can help grow your business:
Read our case studies, client success stories, and testimonials

Visit our “Solutions” page to see the areas of your business we can help
improve to see if we’re a good fit for each other

Learn about us, and our long history of helping companies just like yours

Book a Live Demo
2. Download our guide “Preparing Your AP Department For
The Future”
Download a free copy of our guide to future proofing your accounts payable
department. You’ll also be subscribed to our email newsletter and notified about
new articles or if have something interesting to share

download a free copy of our guide
11 / 12
3. Learn best practices for purchasing, finance, and more
Browse hundreds of articles, containing an amazing number of useful tools,
techniques, and best practices. Many readers tell us they would have paid
consultants for the advice in these articles

Related Posts
12 / 12

Best Practices for Process Documentation Every business will have unique aspects to its workflows and documented processes, but following some basic best practices can help any …

Download Now

Documemt Updated

Popular Download

Frequently Asked Questions

How to start the writing process?

Part 1 of 4: Generating Ideas and Text Download Article

  1. Take time for invention exercises. Writing is a process and the first part of the writing process is the invention stage.
  2. Freewrite for 15 minutes. Get out a pen and a piece of paper or open a new document on your computer.
  3. Make a list. ...
  4. Create a cluster web. ...
  5. Ask questions. ...
  6. Talk to someone about your ideas. ...
  7. Outline your ideas. ...

How to learn to write good documentation?

In my eyes, there are eight rules that we can follow to produce good documentation:

  • Write documentation that is inviting and clear
  • Write documentation that is comprehensive, detailing all aspects of the project
  • Write documentation that is skimmable
  • Write documentation that offers examples of how to use the software
  • Write documentation that has repetition, when useful
  • Write documentation that is up-to-date

More items...

How to document processes and procedures?

  • Communicate why you are collecting and validating processes and how it will benefit the business, department, and individual. ...
  • Explain that it’s ok if the process is done differently than how it’s now documented. ...
  • Reassure teams that this is not intended to reorganize or cut positions.
  • Use the “ Why is Process Documentation Important? ...

What are the steps of the writing process?

Writing Process Steps

  • Prewriting: the First Step in the Writing Process. Prewriting is the first step in the writing process and includes any work a writer does before producing a formatted document.
  • Drafting: the Second Step in the Writing Process. ...
  • Revising: the Third Step in the Writing Process. ...
  • Editing: the Fourth Step in the Writing Process. ...