Have you ever trained a new colleague or been tasked to teach them something new? Chances are that when someone joins your organization and isn't familiar with a task, you’ve shared your knowledge with them at some point.
On a scale of 1-10, there’s a high probability that most of us rank between 8 to10 for not having a well-documented process in place. It’s more likely that we explain an unfamiliar task to a new employee and then, they “wing it” from there.
That’s why we need process documentation!
Business processes and work operations occur daily in organizations. The word, “organization” itself carries the verb “organize;” it’s important for every organization to create detailed steps on how to conduct each business process.
Business processes documentation is standard protocol for all of these operations to be written and arranged in a detailed write-up. Consequently, this process involves the use of process documentation templates.
This brings me to my next question…
What does a process documentation template mean?
What is a process documentation template?
Process documentation templates are pre-defined templates with brief outlines of step-by-step processes. Taking it a step further, a process documentation template could support Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) — incorporating both the instructions and procedure itself for operational efficiency.
What should a standard process documentation template include?
1. The header includes the following information
- Process Name.
- Creation Date.
- Process Owner.
- Procedure No.
- Version No.
- Created by.
- Date of last update.
- Last updated by.
2. Project Description
Choose a descriptive title for your project. Explain why the process matters, what it looks like and how the organization would benefit from the documentation.
Describing the “why” is one of the more important process documentation best practices. What does it aim to serve? Why is it important to document that specific process?
- To share critical concepts, plans and information as they are developed to ensure that the necessary stakeholders can share?
- To keep the project moving forward to eliminate revisiting old discussions?
- To create systematic information to articulate intervention strategies and develop the flow chart of a program?
- OR to record programs as they occur and feed the information back to managers, policy makers and researchers to better understand the nuances of a program?
Who would be involved in the project? Typically, participants involved include:
- Process owner— Is usually someone in management, and is responsible for creating, sustaining and improving a particular process documentation, as well as the outcomes of the process. A DevOps Manager heading a team of engineers would fit the role of a process owner in this scenario.
- Documentation specialist — Is responsible for the maintenance of company documents. Their job is to develop and maintain systems for document storage, and are responsible for document security and access.
- Technical writer and editor — Depending on the budget and the consultant, a technical writer might also serve as the editor Their job involves transforming the ideas into simple language and preparing easy-to-understand visual aids, such as charts, diagrams and graphs.
5. Project Scope
Consider each process document you want to create as its own project. Defining the scope of the process document before writing allows you to include important variables such as due dates, success metrics, stakeholders, etc. — they're needed to keep your process documentation solely focused on its specific goal.
If you were documenting the process for onboarding new hires in your organization, the atypical project scope for this type of activity would include the following details:
- Duration of documentation: The duration needed to document this process could range from weeks to even months, depending on the scope of the project and the size of your organization/recruiting efforts. To document an onboarding process for new hires, you might consider three months for your documentation team to collate information from the Human Resources (HR) team and the Learning and Development (L&D) teams, partake (observation, really) in new hire onboarding sessions before preparing the final document.
- Key stakeholders: These are the people involved in documenting the process, those in charge of the process (such as the L&D and HR teams), and internal and external reviewers who would provide feedback on the usefulness and relevance of the process document.
- Success metrics: Think of success metrics as key performance indicators (KPIs). Your success metrics here will help you measure the benefits of the documentation. For example, metrics for a new hire onboarding process document could include increased employer brand ratings, shorter time-to-ramp for new hires, high training completion rate, improved eNPS score, increased productivity for your HR department and better employee engagement.
Scribe top tip: Having a defined scope for tracking your process documentation project reduces the time spent by your team on the project and eliminates focusing on irrelevant activities.
6. Process Boundaries
Outline the areas where the process fits into various teams by analyzing the different tasks everyone must complete. Also state where the process starts and ends, and who's affected by it.
7. Input & Output
Identify the resources needed to complete the process (process inputs) and mention what you aim to achieve at the end of the documentation (process outputs). Knowing your inputs and outputs helps you to break down your success metrics (explained above) into smaller goals as the project progresses. You can use progress tracking software to manage this process.
8. Exceptions to Routine Flow
Identify what might stop you from meeting your deadline. Unanticipated backstops might lead to increased costs, longer delays, unautomated resolution and even customer dissatisfaction if it affects products or customer service. Knowing these factors beforehand warns all stakeholders, and ensures that all hands are on deck to avoid or mitigate them effectively.
9. Points of Control & Measurement Conventions
Mention the experts responsible for checking the process to ascertain if it is compliance-worthy and meets project requirements. This stage is crucial as it helps correct any deviations and improves processes continuously.
Process Documentation Templates
It’s important to keep the style and format consistent when creating process documentation. Below are some examples of process documentation to help you get started:
General Process Documentation Template
Here's a general process documentation template to guide you for every workflow that you document:
General Process Documentation Template
Process name [Name of process]
Purpose [Describe the “why” of your process documentation in one sentence].
Scope [Explain what the process includes and what isn’t].
Process boundaries and measurements [Highlight the timeline for your project and the metrics for the project completion].
Process inputs [Explain the resources needed to perform your project.]
Process outputs [Share the outcome or product produced from the project.]
[Step 1]: [Individual involved]
[Step 2]: [Individual involved]
[Step 3]: [Individual involved]
[Step 4]: [Individual involved]
[Step 5]: [Individual involved]
Potential risks or exceptions [Describe any potential risks your organization might experience during the project].
Related resources [Include links to relevant materials that support the process].
Standard Operating Procedure Template
An SOP template can include a lot of different information, depending on the size, industry and scope of your organization. The example below is a basic standard operating procedure template that can be customized to suit your company’s needs:
[Company name], [Company street address] and [Company or department phone number]
[Version # (insert number) of document]
Written by: [Name of SOP writer]
Approved by: [Name of approver]
Purpose [Briefly explain the reason for writing the SOP and include any relevant information about the procedure subject matter].
Application [Describe who this document applies to and under what circumstances].
Definitions [Define any industry jargon, acronyms or unknown words that can help the reader understand the SOP].
Procedure steps [Describe each step of the procedure and mention any known difficulties o hazards. Let the reader know which ones can be mitigated, where applicable].
Resources [Include resources that can execute the procedure safely and effectively.]
New Hire Training Process Documentation Template
Below is an example of a new hire training plan template:
Date and time:
Topic: [Summary of company history, vision, mission and values. Include company organizational chart and roles. Completed paperwork and valid ID required.]
Date and time:
Topic: [Explanation of workplace policies, rules and regulations. Business work model (in-office, hybrid or remote). Common area usage, breaks, work hours and more. Completed non-disclosure and confidentiality agreements required.]
Date and time:
Topic: [Explanation of workplace perks and benefits for full-time and part-time employees. Explain when benefits begin, how to enroll and which options are available].
Date and time:
Topic: [Introduction to the IT department and workstation setup. Description of company accounts and software and how to access information. Show new employees to their workstations (for physical roles) and coordinate setup. Completed data privacy agreements required].
Date and time:
Topic: [Insert role-specific information here, including objectives, responsibilities and requirements].
How To Create Process Documentation Template With Scribe
A quick Google search about process documentation templates would produce an array of results.
But have you stopped to consider their usefulness to your organization’s:
✅ Document security.
✅ Collaboration and communication features.
✅ Other intuitive elements needed to enhance your operational workflow? 🤔
If you’ve been having the same thoughts; then, you’re in luck. With Scribe, it’s easy to create process documentation in a few, simple steps.
Step 1: Sign up to create your next process document. It’s free!
Scribe is an SOP generator that cuts your process documentation time in half. Create detailed outlines by simply recording your Screen. Scribe will capture your workflow, then create a guide with text and screenshots.
Step 2: Create your first Scribe!
Step 3: Go to your dashboard and create your first Page 💃🥳.
Think of a Page as a folder where you can keep your files (Scribes) organized and separated.
Here's a Page in action!
Once your Page is saved, add Scribes and other media by following the instruction in the highlighted text below.