How to quickly capture a business process/procedure/work instruction
Posted by Kirsten Gibbs Last updated 25th March 2020 reading time
With teams suddenly dispersed, all that tacit knowledge of ‘what it is we’re trying to do, and how to do it’, is much harder to access. You can’t simply shout across the office “How do I do X again?”
It will be very tempting to start automating everything. But you need to think about what you’re automating first, else you can get trapped in the software manufacturer’s model of how your business should work.
So here ‘s a quick guide to capturing ‘What we do round here’ that will work over Zoom, Skype etc.
The quicker you test it, the quicker you can improve it.
If it feels like you’re trying to fit too much in, you probably are.
It’s a prompt, not a novel.
Practice makes perfect.
It’s about the process not the people.
How to go about it:
Start with the most critical process.
Get someone else to help you.
Sketch the whole thing as a series of bubbles – 7 plus or minus one should cover it.
Start with the 80% case.
Start at the very beginning.
Carry on right to the end.
Think ‘Get Outcome’.
Follow the rapid improvement cycle:
You tell a colleague how it works, they write it down
They do it, following what you told them.
You observe, and where it goes wrong, between you, you modify the instructions to get the outcomes you want.
You clarify how it really works (not how you think it works).
They suggest ways to make it easy for them to do.
They write up the improved version.
Save the latest version where everyone can get at it.
Repeat until you have a work instruction/procedure/process that can be run reliably by anyone who needs to.
Automate the bits humans shouldn’t be doing. Then let the humans get on with the rest.