While improving business processes, it is essential that one document the process as well as any improvements made to it. Most consultants will document both the â€œAs-Is Processâ€ as well as the â€œTo-Be Processâ€. While many think about it as customary and do it for the same reasons, there are other important reasons to document the process. Documenting helps the organization gain long term primary and secondary benefits which have been listed below:
Why Is It Important?
The following are the primary benefits that any organization seeks to gain by explicitly documenting their processes:
No Operational Ambiguity: The first and foremost reason for documenting any process is the fact that it reduces operational ambiguity. The next time there is a confusion regarding who is supposed to do what or what are the best practises following which a task needs to be performed, one can look at the detailer documentation and the dispute can be resolved. These documents act as the store of collective organizational knowledge regarding the processes and can be accessed by anyone in times of need.
Training Material: The documentation also acts as training material to help new resources move up the learning curve faster. Instead of making resources join on the job and learn tacitly, the documentation can be used to give new resources classroom lessons about the tasks that need to be performed. The documentation acts as the training manual and covers the syllabus as well as provides notes to educate the resources. This can be supplemented with on the job hands on floor visits for better and faster creation of efficient resources.
Marketing Use: Documentation can also be used by the marketing and sales department to truly understand what the capabilities of the organization are. This knowledge helps them to truly determine what they can promise the customer and what can be fulfilled. With the process knowledge, the marketing department will be able to make promises that the organization can deliver. There will be no need for over and/or under promising which causes heartburn and turmoil amongst the customers at a later stage.
Apart from the apparent primary benefits which directly aid in the day to day operations of the firm, there are certain secondary benefits which help the firm analyse and improve its process continuously. Here is how documentation aids in this:
Available For Analysis:When process changes are documented in a detailed manner, they are available for analysis as and when required. This helps the management in understanding the knowledge that was used in designing the best practises that are currently followed. This also helps the management decide whether the best practises followed are indeed relevant in the environment they are operating in and saves them from expensive requirement gathering by consultants where they are billed for by the hour.
Can Be Compared Version To Version:With detailed documentation in place, process improvements can be tracked version to version. This means that the management will have the previous 3 to 4 processes and their performance along with the current process and performance. They can thus see them together and see what changes are producing what results. This will tell them what they are successful at and they can continue doing so.