The Ultimate Process Documentation Software Guide
Imagine being able to get a full grasp of all the systems and processes in your organization without the hassle. Onboarding shouldn’t require new employees to jump through hoops to complete their daily tasks. Meanwhile, your organization needs employees to do things the right way.
You hired a new staff member to join your company. You’ve trained them and assigned them a new task. About halfway into the task, you find that they aren’t doing their work correctly. Your employee needs better training, but you can’t afford to waste time.
Process documentation solves both sides of this problem.
A standard operation process (SOP) can be compiled by you and your team to help your workers carry out routine operations. This process was first created by Scottish economist Adam Smith in 1776. He described the idea of documenting processes as using a method called the pin production process where tasks are carried out in production and documented for team members to follow.
So, what exactly is process documentation, and how can it help you and your company?
We’ll cover the following:
Chapter 1: What is Process Documentation?
When your staff struggles with achieving consistency at work, process documentation can bring more efficiency so that employees understand what they need to do.
Process documentation internally captures all the information necessary to properly execute a business process within your organization. It is a continuous activity that must be carried out as processes are built in order to ensure the delivery of the desired outcome.
Process documentation finally puts an end to your team running around in circles while you try to make things work. It helps managers and supervisors keep tabs on each and every task. It also helps to analyze, get feedback, and suggest changes to improve tasks.
Furthermore, process documentation is a no-holds-barred analysis and description of how to execute a process. The process document describes the steps needed to complete a task or process from start to finish. This procedure makes room for consistency and allows your team to learn from both their successes and their mistakes.
A process document includes a list of actions that supports any type of repeat or routine tasks like the following:
- Links to other applications
- Process maps
The chief purpose of process documentation is to help team members at all levels, including decision-makers and stakeholders, swiftly and easily understand and undertake company processes. This is because it makes room for those who call the shots to be involved in the core matters, and they’ll have the luxury of making their views and opinions known.
The whole process gives everyone a voice and allows for sharing, dissemination, and encouragement of debate about different development issues in the organization. This way, the decision-makers can be at the top of their games and keep abreast with issues and developments that make for an upward trajectory movement in business.
Why is process documentation relevant for modern-day business productivity?
Modern process documentation has moved beyond manual documentation into the digital realm, which brings even more benefits with it. The more up-to-date and tech-savvy your business gets, the more relevant your business remains.
Here are some of the benefits that process documentation can bring to the table in your company:
More often than not, people often rely on their memory or “guesswork” to perform tasks. This is often a recipe for disaster. You are highly unlikely to make improvements to the process if you are unaware of it. Process documentation provides you with a bird’s eye view to figure out new strategies and tactics to create efficiencies in the workplace.
Saves time and money
We know you’d like to cut costs to prevent waste. A standardized way of creating processes can stop simple tasks from becoming more expensive and complicated. Process documentation also makes it quicker for you to set up new processes, thereby maximizing time, money, and resources.
It’s better to be safe than sorry. Preventing errors is more effective and less expensive than spending time fixing problems after they occur. Documenting repetitive tasks makes room for you to document standards and provide guidelines for work.
Creates standardization and consistency
Businesses that survive continue to survive and can even thrive. Consistency in operations makes a difference for your organization’s survival and growth. Differences in styles can cause variations in output when it comes to employees. However, documentation eliminates this problem and makes room for quality to be achieved and sustained in business.
Improves employee onboarding
Onboarding a new staff can sometimes be a challenging task. The more your new staff are in tune with the company’s culture, the better they are able to adapt and learn. How you onboard new hires matters a great deal. In fact, it could make a huge difference in how productive, engaging, hardworking, and profitable their efforts are.
Creating workplace efficiencies
Never before has a high rate of efficiency been recorded in the workplace as it has been in the digital age. With the process documentation, people have become more productive with tasks and deadlines. What’s more, the more productive things are, the more profit and success are recorded. Process documentation allows your company to learn from its success and repeat it.
Finding additional ways to further improve processes
In business, there are times when a one-size-fits-all approach might not work for you, and this is where process documentation makes all the difference. It can open up new and refined ways of doing things. When documentation is done properly, employees have room to innovate, test, retest, and show how outstanding results can get.
Improving workflows analytically
In business, new people are brought into the organization that does not have a founder’s vision, lack of defined brand and culture. This can leave you with many different options to pursue, thereby making achieving a straight path to success very daunting. Many times this causes you to achieve the same results. The truth is that balance is needed. Improved process documentation leads to improved results and aids staff to meet the customer’s needs effectively. In fact, it’s crucial to long-term survival and growth.
What Solutions and Balance Do Process Documentation Create?
The complexity of your business grows as your business grows. You find that as the days go by, more steps, more people, and more things become more involved. For there to be a true success these things have to take the right order.
When the right balance is struck in business, the solutions and gains that come from process documentation can’t be diluted. With these in mind, take time to check out some of the balances that process documentation can create in your business below:
Decreases operational costs
Every organization wants to reduce costs and increase profit. The reduction in operational costs comes about with process documentation. The digital process eliminates paper-based systems, storage, and maintenance, which in turn subtracts cost. You too can taste this when you switch to process documentation.
When documentation was handled manually, quality assurance suffered from a bottleneck, but with the modern-day process, the documentation tide has changed, making the system seamless.
Consistency is the bedrock of standard work. It doesn’t matter if the result stays the same—with consistency in your standard work, you are likely to experience low variation in your output. This creates a sense of trust and loyalty with your customers that helps drive more profitability.
Process documentation eliminates flaws
Making wrong decisions in business could lead to a major setback in growth. This is why you’ve got to be meticulous with taking only calculated steps. When flaws are eliminated in business, success becomes inevitable. Furthermore, the entire business process gets mapped out, and everyone sees in black and white what they ought to do. With this, it is safe to say that knowledge reduces the number of erroneous decisions.
Makes room for process improvement
Consistency will improve your profit any day, any time. When repetitive tasks are automated, bottlenecks and inefficiencies are spotted while documenting the exact processes can make a lot of positive difference in your business.
Improves employee engagement
If creating a strong work bond between your employees is one of your priorities, then process documentation is the way to go. With process documentation, there is more engagement as team members can now interface with one another for a common goal to be achieved.
Chapter 2: Types of Process Documentation Tools
In times past, a process documentation tool was your notepad and pen. Now that things have taken a modern turn, they’ve become obsolete. There’s a whole new set of tools out there that makes the process of documenting a process fun and worthwhile.
Variety is the spice of life. With process documentation, there are a variety of tools and apps to fall back on as stress is eased and the workload becomes more efficient. These tools help prepare your company to compete with your competitors with your head high up.
Check out several gains process documentation bring to the table:
- It records processes, such as interviews, group discussions, videos, photographs, observations of users, field diaries, etc.
- It aids the interview process. Human resource experts are assured that the whole process and information gets covered.
- It’s a tool for organizing information. You can summarize knowledge in articles, case studies, and more.
- It is a tool for visualizing processes as they are planned and executed.
- Process documentation means it is a tool for distributing information, such as email, newspapers, the internet, etc.
Now, let us take a sneak peek at some of the best tools that you can use to help you start documenting your processes:
This new-age process documentation tool empowers your team with all the resources they need to do their job right. It is a visual process management tool that offers a complete business management solution to you. This is achieved by documenting repetitive tasks in one place, thereby also causing there to be fewer complications and no more guesswork.
With this tool, you can create tasks and processes, share documents, and ensure the correct adoption of your business tradition. What’s more, every team member has access to documents.
Its hassle-free user interface allows users to define processes seamlessly, set up forms and deadlines, and standardize business operations. When processes are mapped out and tasks are assigned, progress can be viewed, and informed decisions can be made using visual reports and data.
How to Create a Process on SweetProcess
- Click on the Process tab
- Once the page opens, click on the Create Process button in the top right-hand corner of the page.
- Enter the title of the process.
- Add the process to a team or multiple teams.
- Click on the Continue button.
- Click on the title of the process to add a description.
StepShot brings about one of the easiest ways to get your process documentation done fast while making it look professional. With custom templates, free training, and dedicated support, writing a user manual or creating process documentation is no longer a pain.
This documentation tool can be used to train employees, share knowledge, delegate tasks, create knowledge-base articles, deliver documentation for clients, and much more. Your content can be stored on the cloud, giving you the ability to share your guides online and embed your content directly into your support knowledge base.
How StepShot Works
StepShot users can automatically generate training documents, web pages, presentations, videos, and images. They can also easily modify the outputs with professional editing and branding toolkits and customizable templates.
This super tool helps you to assign and distribute tasks, track each project with full visibility, and get real-time reports to improve your process efficiency. Bring smart process management into the core of your business, and give your team the power to continuously improve the processes they use every day. With the process management suite app for Confluence, you can prolong quality management, process descriptions, clear workflows, capture feedback, and coordinate the implementation of tasks.
Lucidchart is a collaborative diagramming solution for your entire organization. If your team loves visual representation of processes rather than written text, Lucidchart might just be the tool for you. It allows you to create simple flowcharts, complex technical diagrams, and everything in between to communicate with clarity.
This tool works best with teams as it allows users to collaborate with their peers on any device across the platforms they already use, chat with teammates, or leave a comment or feedback directly inside a document.
How Lucidchart Works
With this software, diagramming is quick and easy because you can start with a process map or flowchart that describes the flow of materials and information, and displays the tasks associated with the task at hand. Creating a process map helps organize processes and makes information visible to everyone. By creating a process map or flowchart, you are producing a visual example of the process to better understand it and see areas for improvement.
Here are steps to creating a process map:
Step 1: Identify the problem
What is the process that needs to be visualized? Type its title at the top of the document.
Step 2: Brainstorm all the tasks that will be involved
At this point, sequencing the steps isn’t important, but it may help you to remember the steps needed for your process. Decide what level of detail to include. Determine who does what and when it is done.
Step 3: Determine the boundaries
Where or when does the process start? Where or when does the process stop?
Step 4: Determine and set up the flow
It’s helpful to have a verb begin the description. You can show either the general flow or every detailed action or decision.
Step 5: Draw basic flowchart symbols
Each element in a process map is represented by a specific flowchart symbol, which together represents process mapping symbols, so determine which symbol will flow with which.
Step 6: Finalize the process flowchart
Review the flowchart with other stakeholders (team members, workers, supervisors, suppliers, customers, etc.) to make sure everyone is in agreement. Make sure you’ve included important chart information like a title and date, which will make it easy to reference.
How to Use Process Documentation Software
The complete essence of process documentation will be defeated without a full grasp of proper use. Appropriate usage is overly important to the success of your organization. By documenting how a given process is executed, you can improve the overall efficiency of your organization.
Knowing what to do in process documentation is the very first step to achieving success in your quest for modern business practices. Process documentation apps let you easily include text, images, videos, emails, and more.
- You can use text formatting to get things done. This works well for any kind of task.
- Process documentation tools are smart and require an internet connection.
- There are multiple overviews and easy-tracking features to help ease the processes.
- They can be shared with just a link (the recipient doesn’t even need an account).
- You have the luxury of exporting PDF documents for offline access if desired.
- There’s room for you to export spreadsheet overviews of your processes.
- You are at liberty to print your templates so that offline tracking can be seamless.
- Your documents can be fully accessed from any device that has an internet browser.
Chapter 3: 8 Steps to Implement Process Documentation Software
Process documents should reflect the specific needs of your company and be as short or long as your company needs. It would be an effort in futility to have a monotonous process that is capable of stressing out members of your team. Be sure to make your document with a loose structure. Making sure you have the right people delegated to each task is important for good results from execution.
As it is with other automation tools, there are steps in getting the whole work done. However, it is important that the steps are strictly adhered to. Here are the steps involved in the documentation:
Step 1: Identify and name the process
Factoring what you want to set out to achieve with process documentation is the first step in the right direction for you. Identify the process you want to document and give it a title. Be sure that the title is well recognized by the users so that you do not waste time with them trying to identify and carry out tasks.
Step 2: Define the process scope
There is no time to dilly dally—you’ve got to have the end in mind at the very beginning. So determine and define what is to be achieved from the word go. This would mean that you define the aim, importance, and why all hands must be on deck to achieve the end goal that is the main focus.
Step 3: Determine the process boundaries
You want to be sure that you have a start and endpoint by determining where a task should begin as well as the endpoint. This is to help members of your team carry out the task they are given efficiently.
Step 4: Spell out the process outputs
When everyone on your team knows what is expected of them they drive results easily. So let the handlers and members know the various spots to visit to track the project. A place like a project tracking website and email boxes for updates must be easily accessible.
Step 5: Identify the process inputs
Having an eye to detect what process outputs are involved is so necessary. This initiates the process and where it comes from. Again, the inputs may not be a specific part of the process, but they are a critical part of the documentation of the process.
Step 6: Brainstorm the process steps
Sit down and take time to brainstorm, and go over the process all over again. This is important to eliminate errors and uphold consistency. Mastery of all processes helps to fine-tune the rough edges with time. In all rehashing, the whole process will make things pan out successfully.
Step 7: Categorize the steps sequentially
Order is one of the things that bring about success, so be sure to categorize the steps in a sequential order that flows into others. When there is order, clumsiness gets eliminated, and you can be sure that you’re headed for the right outcome.
Step 8: Describe who is involved in the project
You plan to fail in the whole process documentation game when you do not identify the players involved. Spell out who is involved in the task. This is so that everyone is given a sense of responsibility. When everyone knows what is expected of them, they run with the vision and strive for the result.
How effective is process documentation software in carrying out automated tasks?
Ever since process documentation hit the scene, more has been built while more and more businesses are gaining traction.
So just how effective is process documentation?
Find out below:
- Process documentation improves process efficiency and makes everything seamless.
- If you are after upgrading the overall quality of your business, documenting each step can bring areas of improvement to light.
- Improved processes save money and improve the overall process.
- Process documentation saves development time. A standardized way of creating processes makes setting up new processes seamless.
- It eliminates flaws. Documenting the process allows you to locate flaws and rectify them.
- Automating processes ensures compliance. Being specific with how to execute tasks helps to meet regulations.
- Promotes inventory and collects your business process. The most important processes are saved for the sake of newer team members.
- The process automation helps to document and optimize your process in a structured template.
- If you want to have a robust communication system, then process documentation is always the way to go. It aids the development of messages and a communications plan.
- Promotes the collection of processes in a manner that brings about nothing but success.
- Validation of processes is also part of the bright side of process documentation.
Common Challenges of Process Documentation Software
Nearly everything has its downsides. This is also the case with process documentation as with other automation tools. As you tinker with process documentation it’s important that you are acquainted with some common challenges that might pose a bit of threat.
Here are some of the challenges that might be waiting for you as you delve into automating your processes.
- Process documentation may seem cost-friendly at the beginning but prove otherwise later.
As you and your team get more conversant with the usage, and as you sign on more members, you may find that maintaining any of these automation tools might be expensive. Put simply, process documentation tools are not priced against cost, they are priced against the value they can deliver.
- The steps to perfecting process documentation may pose a time-consumption challenge.
Perfection takes practice and constant tweaking. Nothing good comes easy, which is why the journey to being perfect might not be smooth and easy at first.
However, with time and experience, things can get a bit softened up.
- The tasks involved can be prepared by people who can’t write or who don’t know the material.
You probably know by now that anyone can write processes, but care must be taken so that a total novice with no initiative doesn’t prepare tasks that might wreck the organization.
- The various tasks at hand can be hard to read and comprehend.
When there are errors caused by the author of the documentation process, it might automatically displace those who have a hard time with reading and comprehending the instructions and structures that have been laid.
- The process might be misleading if not well structured.
If there has not been thorough research and study before processes were created and structured, you risk the structure challenge becoming lean. This is because there must be a set of rules to guide you.
- Process documentation could get outdated easily, except when updated from time to time.
If success must be achieved, then updating the processes might be one of your best bets. However, many times there is a lapse in sticking to this routine because of want of time.
- Process documentation may throw your team off balance.
People can get stuck on how to leave out the old ways of doing things. Because process documentation is a modern and up-to-date system, it might make your team lose at first. However, with time and much sensitization, adapting becomes so easy.
Chapter 4: What Can the Process Documentation Software Help You Achieve?
No business can succeed without having an increase in the number of customers. If you want your business to attract the very best of clients who are willing to pay you a premium, then process automation will help you achieve that.
It’s pivotal to note that it’s super important to create systems and processes that you are satisfied with. Processes that fuel the zeal for members of your team to work make all the difference. Thomas Parker of Stone & Wood wanted more out of automation, and indeed his expectations were met and even surpassed. He maintained quality assurance and smooth operations by using the SweetProcess tool, something he had struggled with for a while.
Here are the things you can achieve with the process documentation tool without the hassle:
Success in running your business
Every business wants to hit success come what may, and these are the very things that the process documentation achieves. When routine tasks are documented, prospects are reached, and repeat customers are recorded because of the way efficiency and quality are recorded.
Makes room for scaling up
Structure comes with its gains, and scaling up is the reward for structure. Documenting all your processes will make room for things to move in an upward trajectory.
Fosters modern-day best business practices
Clients are intently looking out for businesses that can meet their very core needs with new and tested trends. No business operating with an archaic approach attracts the best. If you want to stay relevant in the business world then documenting your processes is the way to go.
Challenges that affect choosing the right process documentation software
There are things that could pose a stumbling block when looking to choose the best process documentation software. This means that you might hit a brick wall when trying to choose the right process documentation software.
However, you needn’t be worked up as these are common challenges that can be surmounted. Here are the challenges to look out for:
- Fear of effective usage
This sort of fear is normal especially if you have not toed the process documentation route in the past. Nonetheless, with a proper study of the manuals involved, plus some research, you can cross the bridge.
Some documentation tools cost an arm and a leg. This doesn’t mean that you can’t find a cost-friendly one. However, this all depends on the type of tool you decide to settle for and the outcomes that you want to achieve.
- Compatibility with your team
For some people, one of the most difficult parts of documenting processes is finding a tool that can be adaptable to team members. However, with proper study of how these tools work, you will find that there is a specific tool for your team—and the SweetProcess tool is one of them.
Questions to ask before buying a process documentation software plan
When looking to test the waters with process documentation, it’s not out of place to ask questions to bring yourself up to speed with what you want to achieve. However, asking the right questions that will help you make a very informed decision before opting for a tool makes all the difference.
So what sort of questions should you be asking?
Here they are:
Can I set things up without being an expert?
Before jumping at a process documentation tool, be sure to get the hang of what using one will entail. The last thing you want to happen is to be in the dark, not knowing how to pull things off. There’s little or no expertise needed in using your tool.
What is most important is knowing the purpose of processing documents and sticking with the flow. Each tool comes with its FAQs and these resources help even novices get an idea of how things work.
Will the tool suit my business?
Every business is unique. This also applies to the process automation tools. So you want to be sure that whatever tool you settle for will meet your needs. Read and re-read the FAQs and find out what kind of business succeeds with the tool you are reading about. Process documentation tools come tailor-fit to all types of businesses: small, medium, and large.
How easily adaptable is it?
Another thing you want to be sure about is how well your employees will be able to jump on the new trend. Avoid complex tools when looking to be consistent in business automation. It is better for you to start a simple tool and later on move to a complicated one.
Chapter 5: Why SweetProcess Is the Right Process Documentation Tool for Your Team
There are rants out there about process documentation tools.
Whether it’s product development, accounting management, new employee onboarding, or customer support, SweetProcess is all you need to document processes that will bring about great success in your business. The testimonials of organizations who have used the solution are strong proof of its efficiency.
Giorgio Piccol of Americanflat fixed the inefficiency in his organization by documenting each procedure in SweetProcess and made it accessible to all team members. Everyone in his team built a rich experience and had access to all the information they needed. As days went they began to see results as they noticed the systematic progress that followed suit at their organization.
Kevin Trapp of Forensic Analytical Consulting Services Inc. also brought balance to the scheme of things in his organization, as he needed something less complex and workable for his team as they tried to expand the location. In the long run, this was the exact results he got with SweetProcess. He achieved consistency across the organization as they tried to expand locations. They did away with their existing SOPs and embraced the SweetProcess app.
Throwing away the old to embrace the new is one of the hardest things to achieve in business, no doubt. However, the ease with which the SweetProcess navigates these solutions makes it easy to adapt to.
SweetProcess guarantees an effective workflow system that will change the general landscape of what it means to run a modern business in this 21st century, thereby causing you to attract clients who will be willing to pay a premium for your products.
If you are looking to make that all-important adjustment in business, then the SweetProcess process documentation tool should do the trick.
A Few SweetProcess Process Documentation Points
The SweetProcess process documentation tool lives up to its name as it causes its user to experience a sweet process while using the tools so that the things others struggle to attain now become a mountain to climb successfully.
Here are some high points to hold on to as you look to use it as a process documentation tool.
It’s So Easy To Use Organizational Process Software
SweetProcess has almost no learning curve. You can jump right in and start creating procedures and processes. You can easily drag and drop items to rearrange them and add more steps later after you’ve put in the basics. It works well for team members who have little or no experience with using technology.
This means they can learn on the job even as they are put through the whole process. What’s more, there will always be room to learn, unlearn and relearn the procedures involved.
The Best New Hire and Existing Employee Training Tool
One of the highlights of this tool is the ability to create easy-to-navigate and visually appealing training documents and procedures and organize them into a customizable knowledge base. After all, what is efficiency in business if there is no customer base?
Furthermore, creating documents directly in the interface with useful and easy-to-use tools to make the training documents as information-packed and visually appealing, and as easy to navigate, as possible.
Chapter 6: How to Maximize Process Documentation Software
To maximize process documentation you’ve got to be ready to act by the rules and dictates of the automation system. If you aren’t already having a hard time with a chaotic operation in business, it’s only a matter of time before process complexity increases and disorder sets in. This is why documenting your processes accurately is vital to maintaining a healthy, productive business.
In process documentation lies the ability to be productive. With the no stereotypical way of doing things around the office, and with each worker knowing what to do to attract traction, you set yourself up for nothing short of the best outcome that guarantees an upward movement.
Providing measures to get a grasp of what your core processes entail can facilitate explosive growth while sustaining excellent service delivery.
With a workflow system, you maximize process documentation by:
- Delegating tasks to employees, and tracking the status of all assignments.
- Being abreast with updates when materials have been edited or modified.
- Ascertaining that important documentation has been reviewed and approved by the appropriate individuals before it goes live to avoid glitches.
The best thing to keep in mind when buying a process documentation software plan
The last thing you want to happen with a process documentation tool is to be stuck with the wrong tool that isn’t suitable for your needs. When this happens you not only lose money and time, you might also lose the enthusiasm and zeal to work. So when shopping for a process documentation tool, bear in mind that process documentation could either make or mar the general outcome of your business.
However, when nicely selected, it can bring about an upward trajectory and cause there to be a unifying factor among your team members, so never handle the idea of automating your procedures with levity.
Here are some things to keep in mind:
Make sure processes can be built and tracked in one
The beauty of a process documentation tool is its ability to be tracked and updated on the go so that everyone has a task in the project. Do not be tempted to isolate some processes from others, as this could cause a failure in the overall goal you are striving to achieve in your business.
Does it have a visual guide and an easy map?
A visual guide and a mapping system will boost the results that can be achieved from the whole automation process. So be sure that the tool that you settle for provides for this. It’s a good thing that the SweetProcess documentation tool has this in place for its users.
Does it connect your team with the information they need anytime, any day?
What use would it be to lean on a process automation tool that will not connect team members? Not only does this kind of connection encourage performance, but it also drives healthy competition that can overall help to shape the trajectory of the business.
The competition in business will continue to get tougher, but you can rise to the occasion by operating your business with standard operating processes that will make for consistency and success. Keep in mind that the best process documentation tools are the ones that have their users testifying to its goodness.
And the SweetProcess process documentation tool has a ton of testimonials to help you make a quick and informed decision.
So, are you ready to scale your business?
Start by downloading our checklist for creating processes and systems that protect the lifeline of your business.