Once, I had to create process documentation to explain to my co-worker how to use a tool we utilized practically every day in our department – it was a part of her onboarding as a new employee. Just imagine, I spent two days creating a long IT process document – step-by-step guide with thorough instructions – and she couldn’t get it right! She ended up asking repetitive questions that drove me crazy since I was sure I had provided her with all the necessary info. However, there was one detail I didn’t count on in my process documentation template – a screenshot of each action to demonstrate it visually.
This is how I’ve found that effective communication within the team needs visual representation – similar to communication with the customers (users) or partners. Our eyes help us understand the world through visual input – people process this data much better than any other channels of information. The statistics show that the human brain processes visuals 60,000 times faster than text, and 90% of the data transferred to the brain is visual. Being aware of this fact, we can use it in our everyday IT process documentation related to data processing and employee effectiveness – be it employee onboarding, task delegation, user documentation, help center creation, project presentation, and so on.
Why do you need process documentation?
Some small business owners still do not consider how to create effective process documentation to benefit their business. At best, once they need to discover how to document a website project, they turn to special-purpose tools like StepShot Guides and after successful implementation, they start considering the application of this software in other tasks. Otherwise, they can lose a superb opportunity for their business to grow: effective communication through process documentation – with teammates, customers, and partners.
According to The Holmes Report, failures in communication and documentation of business processes, company policies, or job roles and responsibilities result in the loss of $37 billion per year in the U. S. and U. K. This means that those who create a process documentation template should be aware of the related practices playing into the hands of business owners and saving their time, money, and efforts. Likewise, a process document template created with specific software will not only reduce a company’s paperwork but will also significantly improve communication between business owners, employees, and customers. Just think of the numerous advantages it can bring to business & learn how to attain success in process documentation.
How to write an IT process document: 10 Steps
Denise O’Berry, an experienced team leader, founder, and manager of her own firm suggests 10 steps to make an effective IT process document. These include the following:
1. Give a name to the process being described.
A name can either engage a reader and give them an accurate notion of what your process documentation is about, or disorient a reader if not distract them totally.
2. Define process boundaries, that is when it should begin and end.
It will give you and your audience a clear understanding of the process and its stages.
3. Indicate expected process deliverables.
In your IT process document, state which deliverables you’re expecting to obtain after the process accomplishment – this will let your user know what it takes and how to know they have succeeded.
4. State process resources needed for its accomplishment.
Define people and their roles, software, hardware, financial costs, and other possible resources needed to follow your IT process document.
5. Determine a set of activities (steps) within process boundaries.
The best way to map an IT process document is to create a step-by-step guide with screenshots for each step. Apparently, these should engage all mentioned resources and result in expected deliverables.
Tip: At this step, concentrate on two key factors: efficiency and effectiveness. First, think about how to document a website project, software or any other process in an efficient way, saving your time, money, and effort. We strongly recommend you use StepShot Guides or other tools for creating user documentation. Next, think of every possible activity to capture it – either automatically with a tool like StepShot Guides (captures screenshots & records your actions) or manually. Also, check if you have not forgotten to mention any process deliverables or necessary resources in corresponding steps. This will make your process document template effective and, simultaneously, efficient.
6. Look through the defined activities and arrange them in correct succession.
Make sure every step is preceded and followed by the corresponding steps.
Tip: If you do choose to use an automation tool for creating your process documentation template, you don’t have to do this. Later, all steps will be captured and recorded automatically.
7. Review the activities from the very beginning to end and check whether all resources and deliverables are processed.
A final check before the actual creation of a process documentation template – make sure you cover everything you need.
8. Assign a role to each step in the list of activities.
Take your time at this point to consider the details of process documentation implementation. Who will be engaged in this process? Mention everybody including those who make a single action or can accomplish some actions to substitute another role.
Tip: You can use a RACI matrix to create process documentation more efficiently. The matrix is quite simple to complete and is demonstrative at the same time, as it illustrates all the roles of responsible, accountable, consulted, and informed persons involved in the business process.
9. Reproduce all steps with special-purpose software.
Obviously, all documentation can be created manually but, to be honest, this will take a lot of time, money, and efforts, and there is always the possibility of human error which can entail undesirable consequences. In turn, special-purpose software shows how to write an IT process document in a simpler and quicker way. Download tools like StepShot Guides for creating step-by-step process documentation and SmartDraw for designing charts and diagrams which have proved to be helpful in creating process documentation. Moreover, the former offers built-in customizable process document templates in various formats and StepShot Cloud for exporting and sharing your files.
10. Review and discuss the created process document with the other team members to approve it.
Ask for feedback from your colleagues including both those who’re engaged in this process and those who have never completed it. Change your process documentation template should they have valuable comments or suggestions.
IT process document template
If you’d like to take a look at an IT process document template created with StepShot Guides, press the button below!
DOWNLOAD a PDF Template
DOWNLOAD a Word template
Like it? Did you know you can create the same in about 10 minutes? Just download StepShot Guides and a PDF process document template presented below or make use of an in-built customizable Word template named “Guide”. Then launch StepShot Guides, capture your procedure, edit and annotate it if needed, and export the file using the chosen process documentation template.
Other tips & tricks on process documentation
– Include visuals in a document to make it more illustrative, informative, and easier to comprehend.
– Define roles and responsibilities with reference to titles rather than actual names, if possible, to create universal process documentation.
– Make references to other points in the document or other process documentation to make its reading more convenient.
– Arrange boxes and notes in a flowchart in a user-friendly order: from top to bottom, from left to right.
– Keep a flowchart consistent using the elements of the same size and color for similar or interconnected items in your process document template.
– Ask someone competent for a quality overview and regularly review the process in accordance with emerging needs.
– To know how to write an IT process document using the latest features of the process documentation software you have chosen, check online guidelines from time to time.
Are you on board?
Process documentation is needed in any business, be it a small start-up or a large enterprise to standardize business processes, enhance employee and user training, share knowledge, define job roles, or delegate responsibilities. In any case, consider using StepShot Guides to create process documentation template in a time-efficient and cost-conscious manner. Also, don’t forget to make use of our IT process document template. It never hurts to try – just register, download, and try the tool, no credit card required. So, are you on board?