Tips On Documenting Processes

Sections of this topic

    Numerous types of processes (i.e., business processes) exist in many organizations. Processes specifically involve defining and outlining a sequence of events or systematic movements that are to be followed. These processes need to be documented and identified by the Technical Writer.

    Documenting processes
    • ensures that everyone understands the overall picture of what the processes entail,
    • notes who are involved to accomplish an important task or to reach a goal,
    • helps by providing a summary and a guideline describing the flow of a process from the beginning stage to the end.

    There are many examples of processes, such as how to select a vendor, how to handle an insurance claim, how to get a product tested, or simply how to move a department into another area of a building.
    • For a new product creation process, the criterion involved might include approval, development, financial, or testing processes, etc.
    • For an insurance claim process the main instance might be broken down into, e.g., review, administrative, or adjustment processes, etc.

    A process (business) document can include:
    • Purpose, description, and scope.
    • Those that are involved as well as those that are affected by the process, especially if the business process is replacing another one.
    • Who will be using it.
    • Where it will be used.
    • How it will be used.
    • Why it will be used.
    Documenting business processes help to maintain communication, order, and lessen confusion and questions.

    For illustrating a process, the Technical Writer has a variety of methods to use. The following techniques can be applied:
    • Mapping – mapping helps by seeing how things are connected and organized.
    • Wire frames – wire frames help by allowing the whole picture to b displayed.
    • Flowchart – flowcharts help by seeing how one step will flow into another.
    • Workflow – work flow diagrams help by allowing the audiences see a model or prototype of the process.
    • Colors, graphics, pointers, etc.
    There are a variety of methods that can be used to depict a, e.g., business process.

    For the documentation to be successful, the Technical Writer has to seek out the knowledge management people, the SMEs – Subject Matter Experts and gather necessary information to answer the questions of ‘Who What Where When How’. Also, as always, know the audience and create what is needed to ensure understanding and the transfer of knowledge.
    Note: Once a process is defined then sub-procedural steps can be gathered. Hence, the overall business process would be the top echelon and the core detailed steps would be the procedures that underly the process.

    If you have previously documented various processes, I.e., business processes and can add more information please leave a comment.