We all know the importance of documenting business processes and procedures. We can see at least 5 concrete benefits:
- Helps new employees get on board much faster.
- Makes easier to really understand the part everyone plays in the organization.
- Clearly states who is responsible for what and what should be done at each stage of the process.
- Points out critical paths, helps to identify bottlenecks and improvement opportunities.
- Allows highlighting tasks where people add more value.
So it basically provides a formal explanation and a guide on how your business works and how to complete tasks.
But let’s face it, documenting a business process is hard. It’s even harder to keep them up to date. And people may don’t use them at all.
Not only documentation…
We at Flokzu came up with the solution: documenting Business Processes automatically upon execution.
Processes need to be executed. That’s the only way you can get things done in your organization. Documentation, on the other hand… not so much. Unless your business is legally required to document processes and procedures, it’s quite likely that it won’t get done.
On the other hand, if you formally model your process for execution, you’re also documenting your business processes. And don’t forget that documenting business processes is a key Knowledge Management instrument. For new employees, it speeds up enrollment. And for existing employees, it lets them take the most out of past decisions and information.
A relevant corollary: any audit initiative will require to properly document your process. Not only to improve your business, but also in mergers & acquisitions initiatives or in strongly regulated markets.
Documenting business processes graphically
Most business process documents start by doing a rough sketch of the process steps. Sometimes they also identify roles responsible for each task. In Flokzu, you model the process workflow right from the start using BPMN (an OMG Standard). The task of modeling a process itself has many advantages, like fostering collaborative teams.
The graphical representation of the process allows you to discuss and improve it. The workflow diagram also provides a visual description of what the process looks like when successfully completed. Here is an example of a Recruitment Process:
Besides documentation purpose, modeling the process in a formal notation is the first step of the BPM Discipline. Furthermore, it is key for process analysis and improvement (Read more about BPM and Key Performance Indicators – KPI).
Relevant information for the business process
The process configuration includes the workflow model and the definition of a process form. It collects all the relevant information throughout the process. Making explicit the relevant information is key when documenting a business process.
Continuing with the previous example, the Recruitment Process form would be this one:
After setting up the process in Flokzu, employees will immediately see the tasks assigned to them in their Inbox. They can even initiate new process instances. For example, HR Department would be responsible for initiating the Recruitment Process. Assignees can complete tasks by filling in the form fields with relevant information. They can also add attachments and comments for the other team members. You have not only documented your business process, you also automated it.
Specific documentation for each task
Moreover, you can specify specific documentation for each user task in the workflow. This way, you can also include specific instructions for users to complete each task. You can do it in a specific tab of the user-task, in the workflow:
When a user opens the process instance to complete a task, the information button appears (). It displays relevant information to complete this particular task:
Retrieving information and attachments
As part of each process instance, Flokzu will store:
- information entered in form fields
- attached files of any type
- comments of process participants
- decisions made.
This is stored securely in just one place and can be found within seconds using Flokzu’s advanced search. That way, you are also managing your organization’s knowledge. You can prove that your processes run exactly as they were documented.
If you add new fields to the form or tasks to the workflow, Flokzu will update the process. And by doing this, it will update the process documentation too. There’s no need to manually keep the documentation updated.
And voilà, you will have a process diagram with assignees and tasks. A form with relevant information. Instructions to complete each task. You have documented your business process and you also made it executable.
In sum, Flokzu allows documenting business processes as part of your automation efforts. You avoid the need to manually updating your documentation (what, in fact, rarely happens 😉 )
You can also schedule a work session here to model a real-life process in your organization together