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What is Process Documentation?

What is process documentation?

Process documentation is the method of internally capturing all the information necessary to properly execute a business process within your organization. It is a continuous activity that must be carried out as processes are built in order to ensure delivery of the desired outcome.

Process documentation creates a process document: a detailed description of every requirement needed to properly execute a process. You should include all relevant information to make the document easy to understand and carry out. 

 

If I already have a process model, why do I need process documentation as well?

Put simply, a process model is about the ‘what’, whereas process documentation explains ‘how’ and ‘why’. 

A process model is a graphical representation of the business process and its execution. It does not include precise details such as ownership or responsibility of steps in the process, or how long each step in the process is expected to take. This level of detail can be added in process documentation.  

For example, a step in a process model is ‘Create Purchase Request’, a simple description of the task. In the process document, there is a more detailed description, such as defining the delivery date, delivery information and product specifications. 
 

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Why do I need to document processes?

A process document acts as a roadmap for your business. When you are creating new processes or want to improve existing processes, process documentation acts as a best practice guide for how to build and execute them.

The details within a process document can help users to understand nuances such as intent, or why a process was previously modified. This can be particularly helpful when proving that your organization meets specific regulatory requirements. 

Reasons for process documentation include:

  • Enhance consistency – Repeatable process doesn’t have to be redesigned each time and are always created using the same logic
  • Provide clarity – Reduce operational ambiguity by specifying the exact tasks required to complete a process, who is responsible and how to perform the task
  • Repository of knowledge – If an employee leaves, they often take their process knowledge with them. Process documentation means everyone has access to this important information 
  • Training – Process documentation can act as a best practice guide, so is a great educational tool for new employees  
  • Enable process improvement – Examining the details within process documents can highlight bottlenecks and areas that could be made more efficient 

 

What are the benefits of process documentation?

Process documentation provides several benefits, which in turn can help to improve both employee satisfaction and customer satisfaction. 

  • Improve process efficiency – Examine processes to ensure they are being carried out in the most efficient way
  • Improve overall quality – Documenting each step can bring areas of improvement to light 
  • Decrease costs – Improved processes will save money, thanks to less build time and overall process improvement 
  • Save development time – A standardized way of creating processes makes it quicker to set up new processes
  • Eliminate flaws – Documenting the process allows you to locate flaws and rectify them 
  • Single point of reference – Eliminate any doubt internally with one point of truth  
  • Ensure compliance – Specifying precisely how to execute tasks helps to meet regulations

 

How do I ensure good quality process documentation?

When documenting processes, it is important to strike a balance between being thorough and detailed, but also being clear and concise. This means that you should make sure that you do not leave out any information that is important but do not include information that is unnecessary or off-topic.

Remember who you are writing the process documentation for, and imagine you are completing the task yourself and consider what information you would find helpful. This could include screenshots of more complex aspects that are difficult to explain with words alone.

It is also beneficial to include the purpose or motivation for the task, as this explains why the task is being carried out. This way, when process improvement is being carried out, users can see why the process was modeled in this way in the first instance. Also bear in mind that process documentation is not a one-off activity. Whenever processes are updated, the documentation should be updated too.

Process documentation tools often provide a template or easy-to-follow steps which will make your documents consistent, ensure good quality and keep formatting simple and easy to read. 

 

Do I need a tool for process documentation?

Process documentation software provides an effective way to digitally capture all the additional details needed to properly execute business process. Using software means you can take advantage of intuitive features and ensure that every step has the appropriate documentation. 

Bizagi allows you to document your processes directly within the process models. When you’re finished, you can publish the documentation to the secure Bizagi process library alongside all your business processes for a single point of operational truth, or in a range of formats. 

 

How can I document a process model I’ve already built?

It’s a good idea to document your processes as you build them. In Bizagi, during the process modeling, you can document your processes and include information at process level as well as detailed information at an element level in your diagram. 

Once your process diagram and documentation have been complete, you can publish the documentation in your preferred format.

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Download Bizagi Modeler for free now to get started.