Documenting procedures hardly ranks as a high priority. Meeting deadlines and client needs are always on the top of the “To Do List”, pushing written procedures down to the bottom.
That is, until a key team member leaves, such as a project manager or accounting director. When that person’s knowledge walks out the door, the mad scramble to figure out what that person did, when and how they did it is on!
And what happens when a new person starts? Training and supervising new team members are time consuming and often inconsistent. It doesn’t have to be that way.
Four good arguments that documenting procedures should be higher on the “To Do List” are:
- Getting Agreement
All stakeholders who are involved in a process should have a role in documenting that process. Adopting an inclusive approach ensures that each person’s role is accurately reflected. Working together also promotes discussion about improving the process.
- Eliminating Misunderstanding
Documenting a process provides opportunities to clarify it for all stakeholders. Processes that are only communicated verbally are subject to misinterpretation. Think about that old game, Telephone. The message at the start is never the same at the end!
- Providing a Consistent Reference
Documented procedures can be used for training new team members, or for periodic refresher training with the existing team. Errors could be due to missing a step. Referring to a written procedure helps team performance.
- Supporting Intended Results
A procedure document is the perfect place to state the purpose and expected result from the process. Stating the purpose and expected results keeps all stakeholders focused on a common objective.
Tired of repeating the same instructions over and over again? Too many errors? Stop figuring it out from scratch every time…document those procedures!