Process Documentation Examples (+ How-to Guide & Template)

Lauren Funaro
May 16, 2022
min read
October 1, 2023
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Use these process documentation examples to effectively support your growing team's workflows.
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Structured processes can save teams up to 270 hours a year. And as your business grows, so do your:

  • Team and department sizes.
  • Tech-stack and software needs.
  • Workflow and task lists.

... and bottom line. Every single hour counts.

Process documentation outlines how to do a job or task—documenting your standards of practice—in a format that’s easy for other teams and employees to follow.

Let's learn more about process documentation and why it matters, then check out successful process documentation examples to help you get started.

What is process documentation?

examples of process documentation

"Process documentation" is an umbrella term for the materials that explain the steps, procedures and details of a workflow. Businesses create process documentation to maintain organizational knowledge. It's especially useful for:

  • Employee onboarding and training.
  • Customer success and ongoing support.
  • Troubleshooting issues.
  • Software adoption.

Here are process documentation examples for every workflow.

Process documentation examples

We use different types of process documentation depending on our workflow, compliance requirements, process complexity and goals. The most common examples of process documentation are:

  • Standard operating procedures (SOPs)
  • Step-by-step (or how-to) guides.
  • Checklists
  • Flowcharts.

Process documentation example #1: Standard operating procedures

process documentation examples

Standard operating procedures (or SOPs) are a classic example of process documentation.

These formal, sequential instructions tell users exactly what to do, when to do it, its company policy examples and what outcome to expect. Typically, if you follow an SOP to the letter, you can pretty much predict the results.

Standard operating procedures typically include a(n):

  • Title Page: This usually includes a title, unique identification number, creation or revision date, department/employees/team the SOP applies to.
  • Purpose: Describe the goals and objectives of the SOP document and explain how it will benefit the user and organization.
  • Scope: Define the limits of the document and provide an overview of what it covers to help the reader understand its boundaries and what it aims to achieve.
  • Roles and Responsibilities: Identify key stakeholders (think: employees, managers) who need to follow the SOP and what responsibilities they have to avoid confusion and create accountability.
  • Procedures: This section will be the bulk of your SOP, comprising step-by-step instructions and any additional information needed to complete tasks.
  • Policies and regulations: Since most compliance-heavy industries rely on SOPs to follow company policies and industry regulations, include a section that references the regulation, where to find it and when the section was last updated.
🎓 Related resource: The difference between policies and procedures.

When to use this process documentation example

We usually write SOPs in formal and regulated environments — such as healthcare, manufacturing or financial industries.

They ensure a consistent and standardized approach to performing tasks or processes. Regular step-by-step guides may not have the same level of formality or adherence to specific standards.

The biggest benefits of this process documentation example

SOPs are designed to minimize errors and risks, which is especially useful in fields where mistakes can have serious consequences. While there are several standard operating procedure benefits, this is the most crucial.

SOPs often include safety precautions, quality control measures, and specific protocols to follow in case of emergencies.

How to create an SOP

  • Identify your tasks and desired results.
  • Know your end user.
  • Outline your process steps.
  • Get additional input.
  • Determine the scope.
  • Write the SOP.
  • Review, edit and repeat. 
🎓 Related resource: How to write an SOP.

Process documentation example #2: Step-by-step guides

process documentation examples: step-by-step guides

Like SOPs, step-by-step guides work in sequential order. However, they're typically less formal and don't rely on as much additional context. In fact, you might include a step-by-step guide inside your SOP to help you outline task steps.

Step-by-step guides are perfect for showing others what to do and when.

To use a real-life example, you might use a step-by-step guide to put together a piece of furniture. A step-by-step guide template typically includes:

  • A brief process overview.
  • A list of the parts or features you're working with.
  • Each step written in order.
  • Accompanying visuals like screenshots or illustrations.

When to use this process documentation example

Step-by-step guides are critical for sharing internal and external process flows in order. They're especially useful in education, technical support and training.

Let’s say you’re demonstrating how you do payroll. You'll want to outline what to do and when; if someone cuts the check before deducting taxes, things will get messy for the company and the employee.

The biggest benefits of this process documentation example

Step-by-step guides are a consistent and reliable way to show someone how to do something. We use step-by-step guides to break tasks into bite-sized parts.

This is especially great for answering questions throughout the workday. If you're training another employee or simply supporting a colleague, a step-by-step guide is a great way to quickly share a process.

💡 Scribe tip: Use a process documentation tool to generate step-by-step guides with visuals and annotated screenshots.

How to create an effective step-by-step guide

  • Use a free tool like Scribe to auto-generate a visual guide.
  • If you want to build your guide manually, list each step.
  • List out any tools or additional resources.
  • Write detailed descriptions of what to do.
  • Take and add screenshots or illustrations for each step.
  • Outline the expected results.


Process documentation example #3: Checklists

process documentation examples: checklist

Checklists (or to-do lists) are a simple, straightforward way to ensure a job is completed, and they’re easy to make — which is why they’re as common at home as in business. Think about your grocery list or your kids’ list of chores.

Checklists really only need:

  • A title.
  • A brief description.
  • The list of tasks to complete.
  • A checkbox to mark off when you've finished the tasks.

It's great for documenting process steps that don’t need to be done in any particular order, but checklists help the user break down their workload into smaller, more manageable tasks.

Checklists can be hand-written or created easily using word-processing software like Google Docs or Microsoft Word.

When to use this process documentation example:

Checklists are best used for uncomplicated processes because they tell the user what tasks to do rather than how to do them.

For example, you might use a checklist to clean the office. All of the tasks need to be checked off for the job to be complete, but if you empty the trash bins before vacuuming, no one will get upset.

Checklists are helpful, useful reminders for common daily tasks.

The biggest benefits of this process documentation example

Checklists are really easy to create, update and socialize with your team. Usually a checklist is ready available in your team's internal knowledge base or posted somewhere that anyone can find.

💡 Scribe tip: Pair your checklists with step-by-step guides for more in-depth task breakdowns.

How to create an effective checklist

  • Put the most important tasks at the top.
  • Split up large projects into smaller lists. For example, you wouldn’t want to try to complete a checklist of budget items for an entire school system. You’d break the lists down by school or departments within each school.
  • Group process tasks logically. If three out of 12 tasks require working in a specialized software program, list them together.

Process documentation example #4: Flowcharts

Flowcharts (sometimes called process flowcharts or process maps) visualize the flow of process activities and decisions with symbols, shapes and arrows.

Flowcharts demonstrate the different courses of action you might take. This example of process documentation is especially useful in decision-making processes.  

Flowcharts usually include:

  • Start/End Symbols—Rounded or oval-shaped start and end points that often contain the words "Start" and "End."
  • Process Symbols—Rectangular boxes that represent specific tasks or activities. Each box typically contains a brief description of the action.
  • Decision Symbols—Diamond-shaped symbols are used to indicate decision points within the process. These decision points represent binary choices based on a "yes" or "no" answer.
  • Connector Lines and Arrows—Arrows connecting the various symbols indicate the flow or sequence of activities. They show the direction in which the process moves from one step to the next.
  • Flow Direction—Typically, flowcharts are read from top to bottom and left to right. The arrows and lines should follow this direction to ensure the process flow is clear and easy to follow.

When to use this process documentation example:

Flowcharts are especially effective for of business process documentation for explaining complex processes such as algorithms, user experience and large-scale operations. You might use this agile process documentation example to map out user journeys or troubleshoot issues.

Let's say you’re the IT manager at your office, and a colleague puts in a ticket because their computer won’t turn on. A flowchart will help you get to the bottom of the issue and show you what steps to take based on what results you find.

How to create an effective flowchart

  • Design the flow from left to right and/or top to bottom.
  • Keep it to one page.
  • Make sure the text is readable.
  • Keep symbols consistent (e.g., rectangles for processes, diamonds for decisions, start and end shapes should be the same).
  • Use different colors — but no more than three or four.

You certainly could draw a flowchart by hand, but you probably wouldn’t want to. Virtual whiteboarding software like MURAL or Lucidchart or a design program like Adobe Illustrator will help you (or a friendly graphic designer) create attractive, user-friendly flowcharts.

How to create process documentation

Let's learn how to write process documentation for your team.

1. Define your goal and audience

Why are you writing process documentation, and who is it for? Once you've identified why you're building your documentation, you can choose the best format.

Ask yourself:

  • Who am I talking to.
  • What do they need to know (and what do they know already).
  • Where will this documentation live?
  • How complicated is the process?
  • Are there any policies or compliance requirements?
  • Are there several ways to do this process?

2. Choose a process documentation tool or template

Process documentation software to help you quickly create, share and update your process documentation.

Here are the best tools based on process documentation type:

  • Standard operating procedures: Scribe and Scribe Pages help you build visual SOPs that you can combine into larger manuals.
  • Step-by-step guides: Scribe auto-generates visual guides for any process, with screenshots and text.
  • Checklists: If you want to create and check off your process steps quickly, Notion and Asana are great user-friendly options.
  • Flowcharts: Figma and Miro are user-friendly options that offer several templates to help you diagram your processes.

3. Outline the process steps

Write down exactly what needs to be done and when. We recommend observing people who do this procedure already or assigning it to a subject matter expert. Document or record the steps as needed. Then ask yourself:

  • Do these steps need to go in order?
  • Is there any additional context the user needs?
  • Do I need to break this out into smaller steps?

4. Write, review and publish your documentation

Once you've identified your goals and structure, use your chosen process documentation tool to build your process guide.

Make sure to share your documentation and store it in an internal or external knowledge base for easy access and use.

Free process documentation template

Ready to start building your own business process documentation? Try out this free process documentation template today.

design process documentation

Check out our template gallery to see more process documentation examples made with Scribe.

Use these business process documentation examples to build your own

When done right, process documentation can help company efficiency, productivity and satisfaction—with fewer distractions for your go-to people.

Once you've identified the process documentation example that works best for you, find a tool that fits your needs. Then, it's time to start building!

Use Scribe to generate visual process documentation for free.

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