Organizational Process Assets: What They Are and How to Use Them to Prevent Chaos in Your Company

Organizational Process Assets

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You’re a new manager.

You find yourself in a new company.

The culture is different. The processes and policies are unlike anything you’re used to.

To make things more complicated, you have a team that expects you to provide strong leadership and stakeholders who expect reports on your progress.

Where do you start?

How do you begin to familiarize yourself with the new organization and learn everything that will allow you to lead more effectively?

Well, maybe you’re not a new manager, but a frazzled one. New hires are in your hair all day, and you find yourself providing answers to the same questions over and over again.

Did you know that by creating knowledge bases—a type of organizational process asset—you can guide new employees more efficiently?

Find out what organizational process assets are, how you can use them to create smoother workflows, quickly acclimate employees to new work environments, and make your company more productive.

Organizational Process Assets – Chapter Index

Chapter 1: Definitions and Examples of OPAs

Chapter 2: Processes

Chapter 3: Procedures

Chapter 4: Policies

Chapter 5: Knowledge Bases

Chapter 6: EEFs vs. OPAs: Distinguishing OPAs From EEFs and Organizational Systems

Chapter 7: How SweetProcess Can Help You Develop Organizational Process Assets

Chapter 1: Definitions and Examples of OPAs

Organizational Process Assets Chapter 1: Definitions and Examples of OPAs

Organizational process assets are tangible resources used by an organization to guide the management of its projects and operations. They include things like templates, contracts, processes, reports, and financial statements.

According to The Standard for Project Management and A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK Guide), “Organizational Process Assets (OPAs) are the plans, processes, policies, procedures, and knowledge bases specific to and used by the performing organization. These assets influence the management of the project. Organizational process assets include any artifact, practice, or knowledge from any or all of the performing organizations involved in the project that can be used to execute or govern the project. The organizational process assets also include the organization’s lessons learned from previous projects and historical information. Organizational Process Assets may include completed schedules, risk data, and earned value data.”

—(PMBOK Guide, p39)

More Examples of OPAs

Some other examples of OPAs include:

  • Standardized guidelines
  • Proposal evaluation criteria
  • Work breakdown structure templates
  • Project schedule network diagram templates
  • Risk templates
  • Organizational standard processes
  • Project closure guidelines
  • Lessons learned and historical databases
  • Change control procedures
  • Financial control procedures
  • Project files
  • Historical records of projects like issue logs, risk registers, or schedule data
  • Recommended workflows or processes for change management, configuration management, or defect management
  • Process measurement databases

These assets are unique to each organization and are usually amassed over time. Because organizational process assets are a historical documentation of an organization’s successful operations or processes, OPAswill differ from company to company, as each business operates uniquely.

For instance, the policies of a full-scale digital marketing agency would be radically different from, say, that of a furniture manufacturing company.

Why?

Both businesses operate in different environments, the former in a physical ecosystem and the latter in an online ecosystem.

The protocols for holding team meetings would be different for both companies, keeping in mind that the agency team could be fully remote while the furniture company team would be fully on-site. The procedures for new hire onboarding or even customer onboarding will be different too.

In summary, although organizational process assets differ from company to company, they all fulfill the overarching goal of assisting managers in executing projects more smoothly.

Why Are Organizational Process Assets so Important?

They are important for the simple reason that reinventing the wheel, especially in a company that has been in operation for a while, isn’t the most productive use of time and resources. The most time-efficient approach for getting acclimated to a company is by going through existing documentation, including the schedules of previous projects, the lessons-learned documentation, and the various registers.

Doing this will help you understand not only the flow of work, but also those small but significant things like labor rates, attitude toward risk, and how decisions have typically been made. Knowing these can inform decision-making in the future.

Organizational process assets can also be used to plan future projects. If a company needs to initiate a new project similar to one they have executed and completed in the past, all that is necessary is to refer to their knowledge base for insight into how to successfully execute or improve the new project.

New-hire onboarding is another way that organizational process assets can come in handy. If roles and responsibilities are clearly laid out, new hires can be more productive relatively quickly since what is required of them is unambiguously laid out. This clarity of role and procedures helps them be self-sufficient.

Policies are a type of organizational process asset. With clear policies in place, employees know how they should be treated and how to behave. Conversely, policies guide management in decision-making, especially when making labor-related decisions.

Lastly, because organizational knowledge bases are filled with a variety of resources, they’re not only good for executing projects but also an effective tool for employee development.

OPAs are divided into two main categories. They are:

  • Processes, procedures, and policies
  • Organizational knowledge bases

Chapter 2: Processes

Organizational Process Assets Chapter 2: Processes

Processes overview the interrelated steps or activities needed to complete a task. Think of processes as the “what” to do to complete a certain task.

For example, if there were a budget to be made, the process of writing the budget would simply be:

  • Note your net income
  • Outline your goals
  • Create a spending plan
  • Deploy spending plan
  • Monitor spending plan

These don’t really take into account all the other details involved in creating the budget, like having to meet Adam from accounting or the procedures for getting approval.

Processes are simply overviews of workflows. Top-level management uses processes to quickly understand the flow of work in a company and how to direct and guide the flow. Employees can also benefit from using processes, as the steps to achieve tasks are clearly laid out. Examples of processes include checklists, process maps, forms, and tutorials.

Why is Process Documentation Important?

Increases efficiency

They increase efficiency. When all your processes are clearly laid out, it’s easy to identify the bottlenecks in your workflows, and you can take steps to make work more efficient at those points.

Simplifies the onboarding process

Process documentation lends to quicker and easier new hire onboarding. Clear and detailed processes can help new hires more quickly integrate into work and be more productive. If you show them where to go and how to get started, many new hires will put their best foot forward. Provide all they need to execute tasks quickly and effectively.

 

Preserves company knowledge

Processes help to preserve company knowledge. As companies grow, the dynamics of the workforce changes. As members of a workforce come and go, it’s important for outgoing employees to be able to pass on the knowledge they have to the incoming members of the workforce. Relying on the knowledge and expertise of a few employees is not feasible and is potentially costly.

Aids continuous improvement

Processes are an integral component of continuous improvement. Without clearly written processes, it’s impossible to understand the flow of work and see how to improve it in the first place. Well-written processes are important for continuous improvement to work.

 

Makes the company more agile

Processes help to make an organization more agile. Because teams understand how their processes work and why they work the way they do, course correction is easier because processes are clear. Agile companies can easily navigate the many changes that inevitably happen.

How to Document Processes

To document processes do the following:

  • Identify and name the process
  • Define the process scope
  • Explain the process boundaries
  • Identify the process inputs
  • Identify the process outputs
  • Organize the steps sequentially
  • Describe who is involved
  • Visualize the process with a tool such as a flowchart
  • Note exceptions to the normal process flow
  • Add control points and measurements
  • Review and test the process

Learn more about process documentation.

Process Documentation: Best Practices

Here are a few tips you can implement to make sure you write processes that are easy to read, use, and understand.

  • Keep it simple and straightforward. This keeps your content accessible.
  • To make sure that your processes remain relevant, create a plan to review them, at least once a year.
  • Document different processes separately to avoid confusion and chaos.
  • Store the documents in a place that is accessible, preferably online in a knowledge base.
  • Processes don’t have to be limited to text only. You can include things like graphics and screenshots to make them easier to assimilate.
  • Make use of existing documentation in your organization to make sure that your processes stay relevant and within scope. Use interviews, case studies, white pages, etc., to draft your processes.

A Practical Example of How You Can Use SweetProcess to Create a Simple Process

This is just a sneak peek at what is possible. Below are the simple steps to outline a business process—let’s say “customer profiling.”

Step 1

Log in to your account and navigate to the “Procedures” header.

Once there, click on the “Processes” sidebar.

Organizational Process Assets - Processes 1

Step 2

Type in the title of the process in the empty field.

This is a step you mustn’t overlook. This simple step can prevent you from being overwhelmed later as you begin to create more and more processes.

Organizational Process Assets - Processes 2

Step 3

After titling your process, you can then begin outlining the steps by clicking the “Add step” button.

Organizational Process Assets - Process 3

 

Step 4

Once you click the “Add step” button, three fields will immediately appear.

Click the “Procedure” button to continue creating the step.

Organizational Process Assets - Process 4

Step 5

As before, title the step to avoid confusion.

Organizational Process Assets - Process 5

 

Step 6

Now things become more straightforward.

Just repeat steps one to five to continue adding the steps you want from here.

Step 7

After adding all the steps required to outline your process, the next step is to approve the process.

You can either choose to request permission for approval or to approve the process yourself and notify the rest of your team members.

And voila! Your process is live!

Organizational Process Assets - Process 7

These are not the full capabilities of our software, however.

You can edit text, write concise descriptions, add images and videos, assign tasks, create links, and share processes with your team members.

Would you like to explore all that is possible with SweetProcess?

Sign up for a free 14-day trial here, no credit card required.

Chapter 3: Procedures

Organizational Process Assets Chapter 3: Procedures

Unlike processes, which are simply the steps required to complete tasks, procedures are more detailed steps that indicate how processes should be performed.

With the budget example earlier, rather than simple steps, procedures are more detailed and include details that show “how” a task should be executed rather than “what” steps are needed to complete the task.

When Do You Need Procedures?

Imagine being required to follow a complex procedure to sign a form.

If you created a procedure for every single task, chances are they’ll be ignored. The most important thing to consider is whether the procedure needs creating at all. Writing a procedure is only justifiable when there is a significant benefit from clarifying a process.

Perhaps people keep forgetting to take certain steps, or maybe the same mistakes are being made repeatedly. Heck, maybe the task is complicated and only a checklist can make things easier.

You will need a procedure when processes:

  • Are lengthy. (Example: Bi-annual inventory)
  • Are complex. (Example: Benefits administration according to level)
  • Are routine, but sensitive, where it is essential that everyone follows rules to the letter. (Example: Administering payroll benefits)
  • Demand consistency. (Example: Handling a customer service issue like a refund request)
  • Involves documentation. (Example: Implementing discipline policies)
  • Involves significant change. (Example: Installing a new computer software or OS)
  • Have serious consequences if done wrong. (Example: Safety guidelines)

How Do You Write a Procedure?

Procedures are more detailed than processes, and it’s important that they contain the right level of detail. Include extra information only when the user may need to perform a task precisely, quickly, and efficiently.

In some cases, you may need to explain why a certain task is done the way it is to provide context or include people the user can go to for help if something goes wrong.


To determine whether your procedure is detailed enough, ask yourself the following questions.

  • Do users have enough information to complete the task?
  • Is the level of detail appropriate for the subject?
  • Is the level of detail appropriate for the readers?

Depending on your situation, you may need to ask more questions.

Benefits of Writing Procedures

Writing procedures is something that any business can benefit from.

Procedures can ensure consistent results. When the steps to executing a task are consistent, the resulting output, whether service or product, will be consistent too.

This keeps customers satisfied. Procedures will also set you up for success by minimizing errors and helping you deliver the best results for your clients or customers.

Plug holes in your workflows

Procedures can help you find holes in your workflows and plug them.

Because all the steps are laid out, and you can more easily see the steps required to complete a task, you can clearly see the deficient areas and where you can improve.

Meet legal requirements

It’s important in some verticals to be legally correct and procedures are a great way to ensure this.

With the steps to execute tasks properly documented, there are fewer chances of a new employee doing something that could land a business in a legal tug of war.

Aid company-wide improvement

As with all the other OPAs, procedures help contribute to continuous improvement in the company.

This is because they provide two things: a bird’s eye view of workflows, and guidelines that make work easier and more efficient.

Keeping everyone on the same page makes it very easy to see what can be improved and what wheels don’t need to be reinvented.

Drive growth

Procedures can help a company to grow as it helped Toyota, helping the Japanese brand outperform its Western competitors.

When a task can be executed to a predictable level of success, only then is it possible to scale and grow. Compare this to when output is unreliable and full of errors. Procedures can help to create reliable systems that can help leaders shift their focus to output optimizing strategies.

How to Document Procedures

The steps for writing procedures is really an expanded version of writing processes because, as we’ve established, procedures are similar to processes, only more comprehensive.

The following are the steps to writing procedures.

  • Connect with your team members.
  • Write a short introduction.
  • Outline all the required resources.
  • Document the current procedure.
  • Add supporting media.
  • Include any relevant resources.
  • Check that the procedure is correct.
  • Conduct a procedure test in a controlled environment.
  • Make improvements if necessary.
  • Deploy.

Communicate with your team

The logical place to start writing the procedure is, of course, by talking to the people who already do the procedure. Talk with team members, technical staff, long-time staff, or maybe even people who have worked in that department before, so you can gather enough information to help you write the procedure.

With the information that you gather, you can do one of two things: you can either decide to condense the information on your own or include your team members in the process of writing the procedures.

Including them will make them feel relevant, and this, in turn, can make them more open with suggestions about how to make the procedure more refined.

Regardless of how you choose to condense the information, just make sure to discuss the following with your team before you get started.

  • Identify the purpose of the procedure (inputs, outputs, and goals).
  • Define a set start and end point.
  • Agree on the level of detail required to make sure the procedure is clear enough.
  • Walk through the basic steps with your team.
  • Confirm that you (and they) know how the procedure should be done, and how it is actually done currently.

Write a short introduction

Organizational Process Assets - write a short introduction

You can’t just dive headfirst into writing the procedure. Just like with any other type of content, ease the reader into the content and prime them into readiness.

Because a procedure is more detailed than a process, include some of the following in the introduction: what the procedure aims to achieve, who is expected to follow the procedure, and why the procedure is important to the company.

Remember, the goal of the introduction is simply to provide context for the reader.

Outline the resources required to execute the procedure

Again, procedures are more detailed than just basic steps required to complete tasks.

This is why you should include a list of resources such as tools, passwords, software tools, and even physical items or tools that are germane to the procedure and will enable the reader to accurately execute the task.

Add supporting media

In line with the above, you can also add supporting media to the procedure list to help the user more easily understand how to execute the procedure.

Imagine presenting a new employee at your company with a wall of text without any introduction or supporting media?

They will likely be overwhelmed.

Instead of writing only lengthy text, include things like screencasts and screenshots. Screencasts are a superior way to provide additional information without using a multitude of words and dozens of screenshots.

Add other documents and links to forms to help your team members execute tasks easily.

Document the existing procedure

After meeting with your team and finding the information and resources the procedure involves, you can go ahead and document the procedure.

At first, don’t worry about adding any fancy steps or supporting media. Instead, focus on getting the barebones steps of the procedure in order. Later, you can focus on adding supporting content, but think of the basic steps as a solid foundation on which you can build the entire procedure.

A tip to make sure the procedure is clear: make each step only one sentence, a single easy-to-understand instruction.

Check that the procedure is correct

This step is simple and an extension of the first step.

Collaborate with the team to gather information for writing the procedure, write the procedure, and then check with them (again) to see if the procedure is accurate.

Remember that only those who are practiced with the task in question can determine whether or not the procedure is accurate.

So make sure to consult with them before writing the procedure and before finalizing it.

Test in a controlled environment

To further ensure that the procedure is fail proof, test it within a controlled environment so you can spot any performance or accuracy gaps.

Compare all the inputs and outputs with the goals of the procedure and then evaluate the performance of the procedure.

Some procedures are complicated, however, and require more than a “completed” status to indicate success. For those kinds of procedures, you can implement key performance indicators.

For instance, say you were onboarding a new client. Instead of just focusing on whether or not the task was completed successfully, you can decide to instead check how quickly or smoothly the client was onboarded.

Tweak the procedure

After testing the procedure, check for improvements and see if any tweaks need to be made that can improve the end result.

You can also take advantage of your team members’ input and ask for their feedback.

Deploy procedure

Once you’ve tested and tweaked, it’s time to deploy your procedure.

Ensure that the relevant teams that need to work with the content have access to it.

You can do this with tools like SweetProcess that allow you to easily give access to whomever you want to and control their level of access by creating roles.

Chapter 4: Policies

Organizational Process Assets Chapter 4: Policies

What are policies?

Unlike procedures and processes, which are mainly concerned with showing how to complete tasks, policies are situated higher up in a company’s information hierarchy. They tie directly into culture, strategy, and decision-making.

In short, policies guide how decisions are made.

Why Are Policies Important?

Policies help to provide guidance. Following are some of the benefits of writing clear and effective policies.

Ensure compliance

Projects are not executed in a vacuum.

As such, companies plan and execute projects in environments that have laws, standards, regulations, and best practices that they must abide by, not only industry-specific laws but also local, federal, and international regulations.

Policies help to ensure compliance with the laws of external bodies. They help employees and management understand what is expected of them.

Ensure consistency in internal processes

Policies help to maintain consistency in internal processes as a company expands.

This consistency is important in things like customer service. By following policies that guide actions, sales representatives can very easily deliver a consistent experience to customers every time. Consistency in quality can, in turn, lead to a good reputation.

And if an employee leaves for greener pastures, policies make sure that the work can go on even without them, and that decision-making is still done at a high level. By extension, new members of a company know what is expected of them and how they’re supposed to make decisions.

Help navigate crises

Policies provide guidelines that help to prevent workplace mishaps by implementing guidelines that ensure good work conduct.

Companies sometimes have to deal with external crises, which are difficult to anticipate and even more difficult to control. Some examples of nasty things that could happen include natural disasters, lawsuits, large-scale faulty products, malware attacks, etc.

Because these types of problems cannot be anticipated, it’s important to have policies in place so that your business can more easily navigate crises.

What do you do if you’re in Facebook’s shoes and some malware attack causes your servers to shut down? Or you’re in Nike’s shoes (pun intended) and some journalist writes an article that throws bad PR your way? What do you do?

Policies can help make crises easier. Not non-existent, just easier.

Supercharges efficiency

Because everyone is on the same page, there is less room for inconsistencies in efficiency.

Since policies indicate who should do what and how they should do it, processes can go more smoothly all the time.

Accountability

Policies help clarify and reinforce the standards required of employees professionally by defining what is acceptable and what is not.

Policies can help address workplace grievances when they do occur. Employees always know where to go or how to go about seeking redress if they feel cheated or unjustly treated.

How to Prepare for Policy Writing

Policy writing involves a fair bit of work. It involves research and planning. And since it’s a document that will affect how work is done at a company, it has to be done well.

But some things need to be put in place before writing the policy.

First, top-level management has to be brought on board since these policies will shape the way work in the company is done.

It’s also important to sell everyone involved in the policy-making process on the “why.” Keeping the end goal in mind will provide a solid foundation on which effective policies can be written. Keeping the why in mind will help set the tone of the content and even guide how policies are structured.

In addition to keeping the end goals in mind, it’s important to think long term. One way to do this is to create a policy template. A template will make sure that each policy is clear and organized, save time, and ensure that even in the future, new policies can be written in a way consistent with the old ones.

This will streamline the policy writing process and save lots of time.

To make the process of writing policies easier, choose policy management software. This way, you can collaborate more easily with your policy management team and share those policies with the rest of your team members when you’re finished.

Speaking of policy management, it is important to make sure that you assemble a team that will make salient contributions to make the policy-making process easier. Bring in team members from many departments since these policies will affect everyone in your organization. This also ties in to creating a bigger buy-in and involving all the leaders at your company.

Now let’s get into the actual policy-writing process.

How to Write a Policy

You can write a policy by following these steps.

Do your research

Get input from all the roles and departments that will be affected by the policy, examine the current documentation, as well as any compliance issues that necessitated developing a new policy or revising a current policy.

More steps you can take to gather data for your policy writing include:

  • Shadow your coworkers to understand the policies and procedures already in place.
  • Interview internal and external subject matter experts.
  • Gather all the relevant, up-to-date laws, regulations, and accreditation standards.
  • Look for overlapping policies to ensure uniformity of language and requirements.

Write the first draft

Once you’ve gathered all the relevant data, you can proceed to actually writing the first draft.

Your data is important, but how you write the policy itself is so important. Here are a few things to keep in mind.

To make sure that the policies are accessible and easily understood by teams in the present and teams in the future. It’s crucial that you write in a way that is easy to understand. Write text devoid of jargon and buzz speak.

If you have to use industry-specific terms, make sure that you don’t use too many and that you define your terms because your company may cross various functions and industries, and one acronym could mean different things across the spectrum.

Validate your policy draft

After writing the first draft of your policy, and revising and reviewing it for clarity, the next step is to validate all you’ve written.

Check with all the concerned (internal and external) legal and regulatory bodies to ensure that the policies conform to their guidelines.

Apart from that, send copies of the policy to representatives of various departments, including end users and managers, to review.

Lastly, get topmost management to sign off.

Publish and implement

As soon as your policy is ready, make it accessible via policy management software such as SweetProcess. Create a short training plan that will bring everyone to the same page to understand the policy and how to use it.

And in line with thinking long term, create a policy review cycle so that your policies don’t become stale. As far as the frequency of review goes, this depends on the policies and the stability of your company.

Some policies need review bi-annually, while other policies need annual review, and still others need only be reviewed every few years.

Chapter 5: Knowledge Bases

Organizational Process Assets Chapter 5: Knowledge Bases

On the other end of the spectrum of OPAs are knowledge bases.

Knowledge bases, or repositories, are self-serve digital libraries of information about topics, products, services, and other assets like policies or procedures.

Think about this type of OPA as the storage tank for all the other assets. They can contain anything from frequently asked questions to standard operating procedures.

And just for reference, knowledge bases aren’t just for internal use only by employees. There are also knowledge bases that are customer-facing.

The “help” section of a company’s website is one example of a customer-serving knowledge base. External-facing knowledge bases are usually easily accessible and can be found anywhere online. This is different from internal knowledge bases that are only accessible to employees.

But for this article, the focus will only be on internal knowledge bases. However, some of the tips can be translated into creating external knowledge bases.

Why You Need a Knowledge Base in the First Place

Now that you know what a knowledge base is and some types of knowledge bases, here are five reasons you need a knowledge base.

Easy access to information

For one, information stored in well-structured knowledge bases is super easy to access, and people at your company can easily access the information they need without jumping through multiple hoops. Besides, people would rather get solutions through self-service before contacting superiors or more knowledgeable team members. The average person doesn’t want to appear incompetent after all.

For HR teams, knowledge bases can make offboarding, onboarding, and policy distribution or revision really easy.

Lower training costs

Onboarding can be time-consuming.

New hires go through many stages of getting used to the company and its operations. Even though this process is automated with workflows, many new employees will forget most of the deluge of information they are hit with and will usually resort to asking their superiors for advice.

Knowledge bases can keep that from happening by keeping all the information in a central location that is accessible and can easily be retrieved when needed.

Supports various learning styles

Some people learn best by looking at charts and visually-oriented material. Others learn best by consuming audio material.

Knowledge bases can present the same information in multiple formats, including text, audio, video, and other visual media, like charts, graphs and infographics.

If you’re trying to create a culture that prioritizes your employees, this is one more benefit to having knowledge bases.

Improved communication and cooperation

Organizational Process Assets - improved communication and cooperation

Because information is central to your company and important information will cut across multiple teams, having a centralized point of reference that everyone in your company can always refer to will improve communication, as everyone can be on the same page.

Employees can share relevant information without the need for constant supervision. This will reduce management overhead and improve how teams work with one another.

Helps to preserve company knowledge

When employees leave your company, they take with them valuable information that you likely invested through their training.

If you founded a SaaS startup and then decided to sell your company or get additional investment, having a robust knowledge base will make your business a more valuable transferable asset.

How to Create a Knowledge Base

Moving beyond the benefits of knowledge bases, the following are steps you can take to build your knowledge base and save time.

  • Gather all relevant content.
  • Establish the structure and style of the content.
  • Create a style guide.
  • Decide on the knowledge base management software you’re going to use.
  • Write the knowledge resources.
  • Upload the content.
  • Develop a plan to keep content fresh.

Gather all the relevant content

Just like with all the other organizational process assets, it’s important to do research.

Ask questions that can help you create a truly useful resource.

  • What questions do team members or new employees frequently ask?
  • If certain key employees left, would chaos ensue?
  • Which departments are flooded with requests for information all the time?

Asking questions like these and trying to understand your company’s needs is important. The answers to these questions will help you create a knowledge base that will truly help you improve your productivity.

Establish the structure, or outline, of your knowledge base

To avoid confusion when your knowledge base is created, organize your content in such a way that users can quickly and easily find what they need. This involves grouping all relevant subject matter together.

Being organized won’t help just your users; it will also help you and your team. By creating an intuitive, well-thought-out structure, you can easily expand your knowledge base as it grows and evolves.

Structure will also make navigation design easier—three benefits with one move.

Write your resources

After you have consulted subject matter experts at your company, gathered all the relevant data, and have created a knowledge-base roadmap, you’re ready to write.

And no, you don’t have to do back-breaking work to write—just get the basics right.

Make sure the content is clear. Your readers shouldn’t have to grapple with the text to understand what you mean. Make sure to explain all the jargon.

Take care of the presentation too. Don’t just push a great wall of text in their faces and expect them to figure it out. Instead, break up chunks of text into manageable paragraphs and short blocks of text. Use a generous helping of headings and subheadings, bulleted and numbered lists.

In one word, format the content in such a way that it’s easy to take in.

And since we’re looking to create an immersive experience, include visuals like infographics and videos in-between steps. Link to other articles within your knowledge base and make sure that every word serves a purpose.

Users want solutions, not an unbridled display of your prosaic powers.

Upload the content onto a platform

After writing and revising and making sure all the information you have prepared is accurate, the next step is to upload the content onto a software platform.

The platform you choose should extend the functionality of your knowledge base. It could include search tools, analytics and reporting, and file sharing. It should also be able to scale and grow with your business.

Create a plan to keep content fresh

This ties in to the above step.

Using the built-in analytics tool, you can use the data you’ll gather to understand:

  • The type of information that gets the most attention.
  • How search volume or traffic to articles change.
  • Which articles are the least read.

Information like this helps you update your knowledge base and makes it better in the future.

A Practical Example of How Knowledge Bases Helped pLink Leadership

Established in 2013, pLink Leadership, an entirely virtual team, had its members spread all across the United States.

Although the leadership had a clear vision of where they wanted to be and the things they wanted to achieve, there were many moving parts, and they were soon overwhelmed.

Jennifer Schneider, chief design officer at pLink Leadership, enthusiastically took it upon herself to create assets that would improve how work was done in their company.

Her enthusiasm would soon wane.

Why?

She wrote an 85-page document only for the procedures she had written to soon become obsolete.

In desperation, she did a Google search for software she could use to create assets that could handle her team’s fast-paced culture. She stumbled on SweetProcess, signed up for a free trial, and just like that, she was able to transform her team’s efficiency.

Right away, she said SweetProcess’s user-friendly interface stood out for her.

The benefits, apart from an intuitive user interface?

The team was able to drastically cut down onboarding time. Rather than waiting until new employees “caught on,” leadership could simply point them in the direction of the instruction they needed to complete their tasks more confidently and more quickly.

The knowledge base that was created helped to save time and keep everyone on the same page.

Jennifer readily admits that SweetProcess will help their business become scalable.

Chapter 6: EEFs vs. OPAs: Distinguishing OPAs From EEFs and Organizational Systems

Organizational Process Assets Chapter 6: EEFs vs. OPAs: Distinguishing OPAs From EEFs and Organizational Systems

PMBOK Guide classifies project environments into three main types:

  • Enterprise environmental factors (EEFs)
  • Organizational systems
  • Organizational process assets (OPAs)

Although this article won’t cover the remaining two categories of project environments in detail, it’s important to see the tripartite elements of project environments, as knowledge about the other two can help you understand and create OPAs that could change how you work.

EEFS vs. OPAs

Enterprise environmental factors are another factor that can influence projects. Unlike OPAs that are only internal and unique to the organization, EEFs can be both internal and external. EEFs describe the circumstances in which teams will work, internal or external conditions not within the team’s control but which exert an influence on a project.

They consist of things like internal and external infrastructure, computer systems, networks and software, naturally occurring phenomena (like climate and natural disasters), and legislation (including internal and external).

Understanding the physical, political, and cultural environments of an organization will definitely help make things run more smoothly.

There are internal EEFS and external EEFS.

Internal EEFsare environmental factors within an organization and unique to it. Some examples include:

  • Organizational culture, such as vision, mission, and values
  • Existing project management software
  • Product standards
  • Quality standards
  • Resource availability, including physical infrastructure and the location of resources
  • Risk tolerance
  • Project stakeholders
  • Organizational stakeholders
  • Internal political conditions

On the other hand, external EEFsare those factors that are more general and may affect businesses in a region. They are factors external to a business.

Some examples of this include:

  • Consumer trends
  • Market conditions
  • Industry regulations
  • Government regulations
  • Financial considerations such as trade, taxation and inflation
  • External political conditions
  • Infrastructure

There is a framework for classifying external EEFs, and the acronym for that framework is PESTEL. This framework is based on six environmental factors, namely:

  • Political: Trade, taxation and stability
  • Economic: Interest rates, customer demands, inflation, tarifs, exchange rates, and customer trends
  • Social: Customer demographics and expectations
  • Technological: New services, products, or even advancements like automation
  • Environmental: Corporate responsibility and environmental restrictions
  • Legal: Occupational health and safety, employee and consumer rights, and regional laws

Since OPAs and EEFs are both factors that can impact projects, how are they different from one another?

There are a few differences between OPAs and EEFs.

For one, EEFsare always in action and always out of the control of the project team. OPAs are simply guidelines for project execution. They may be followed, fully, to some extent, or not at all.

Another key difference is that EEFs limit a manager’s options, choices, and decisions. And because the manager and his team have no control over those factors, they have to work within the constraints that EEFs set for them. OPAs,on the other hand, give managers many options, providing guidelines and best solutions that can improve project execution.

Lastly, EEFsare near impossible to change. A poignant example was narrated by Phil Knight in his memoir Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike. He recounts that attempting to raise the wages of factory workers in a third-world country was met with resistance as a government official mentioned that raising the wages of factory workers was “disrupting the nation’s entire economic system…” Unbelievably, factory worker wages and doctor salaries would have evened up if they had increased salaries.

EEFs are nearly impossible to change. But OPAscan and will be changed as they evolve within a company in response to successfully completed projects.

Organizational Systems

Organizational systems are the last factor that influences projects. Organizational structures are important to understand because they can help when drafting processes and policies.

Projects are not self-sufficient. They operate within organization-imposed constraints related to the structure of their governance framework. These frameworks are called organizational systems.

PMBOK Guide defines a system as “a collection of various components that together can produce results not obtainable by the individual components alone.”

To be able to create OPAs, you need to know what questions to ask and who to ask. Understanding a company’s organizational systems can help you understand where responsibility, authority, and accountability reside within an organization.

This will help the manager use their influence and competence to create OPAs that will shape and guide how work is done in an organization.

The main organizational system factors include:

  • Governance frameworks: These frameworks describe how an organization exercises its authority through rules, policies, procedures, norms, and systems. This aspect influences how organizational objectives are set and achieved, how risk is monitored and assessed, and how performance is optimized.
  • Management elements: These define how hierarchies are distributed throughout a company. Authority and responsibility are assigned based on people’s availability and capability to execute tasks. Management elements in place ensure that there’s unity of command, unity of direction, and that organizational goals are reached.
  • Organizational structure types: This usually refers to how management is dispensed.

Chapter 7: How SweetProcess Can Help You Develop Organizational Process Assets

Organizational Process Assets Chapter 7: How SweetProcess Can Help You Develop Organizational Process Assets

SweetProcess is a powerful tool that can help you be more productive and hence more profitable. You can do much more than create policies and processes. You can assign tasks and create robust knowledge bases that are accessible and easy to use.

Just ask Jacob Syrytsia, chief executive officer at AEJuice.

Based in Florida and worth over $2 million, his company specializes in video production for their clients. They provide a drag-and-drop feature for their clients that simplifies the video creation process.

The problem?

They weren’t getting enough buy-ins from customers because of knotty unstreamlined business processes.

Because theirs is self-service, customer service is a big part of the business. In the absence of a knowledge base that his team could refer to, Jacob was always explaining things to his team. His explanations, however, only sprouted more questions.

Jacob said, “We had the support team and it was growing. We didn’t have any documented procedures for internal processes and it was pretty painful when somebody joins and you have to explain it all over again.”

Luckily for him, a tutor in his online course recommended SweetProcess. By creating assets using SweetProcess, he was able to go on a vacation for the first time without the roof caving in.

And onboarding time was reduced drastically too.

Whenever someone new joined their team, he would just point them in the direction of the content they needed, and this made onboarding much easier for him.

Jacob said, because of SweetProcess, he “can now spend more time on bigger problems.”

You too can become more efficient!

Organizational process assets will make things easier for you and make work go much more smoothly.

If you create everything from processes to policies to procedures, and host them on a knowledge base, your productivity and efficiency will skyrocket!

What’s more?

You get to save costs and use your savings elsewhere.

If you’re looking for an easy way to get started creating organizational process assets that allow you to be more fulfilled in your work, check out SweetProcess.

We know you may be hesitant. That’s why we’re offering a free 14-day trial.

No need to input your credit card details.

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