Everyone gets that you need systems and processes within your business so it can run more effectively and to allow you to delegate tasks. But did you know that having the wrong or incomplete processes can be just as bad as having nothing in place?
Here are 5 no-no’s that many business owners make, so you can avoid them.
No-No #1: No overall model, only procedures
It’s common for people to focus only on the details of how to perform specific tasks. Unfortunately, if you don’t have an overall model or end-to-end process, the details will be disconnected from the flow of work. This can make it difficult for team members to understand hand-offs or troubleshoot issues or gaps. Every business process should be part of a bigger business model or work flow.
No-No #2: Processes that are totally technology dependent
Technology drives much of our ability to do business these days. If your processes are completely reliant on technology to work, then you could be skating on thin ice. It’s important to understand how the technology does the work (inputs, outputs, interfaces) and to document this process. In addition, it’s very helpful to have a log of any special instructions about the application in case a new person has to use the technology. Included in this job aid should be a ‘back up plan’ or manual process steps in case the software ever fails or if you decide to migrate to a new system. This way, team members will know how the process actually works rather than just clicking the right buttons.
No-No #3: Not enough detail to go on
Business process documentation should be detailed enough that a person new to the role can execute the process with a little guidance.
When people who are very competent or familiar with a task write process documentation, they frequently overlook steps, make assumptions or take for granted things they ‘just know’. Instead, documentation should be written in a very clear step by step approach with a newcomer in mind, not for someone who’s more experienced.
No-No #4: Documenting untested processes
Not everything in your business should be documented … yet. In fact, you should only document a process once it’s been proven and refined to its most efficient form. If you spend time documenting processes that haven’t been proven to work yet, you’ll spend a lot of time documenting things that may never be used.
No-No #5: Forgetting about relationships
Finally, remember that most processes require people. Since work flow processes typically involve more than one person, it’s important to build or consider these relationships, interfaces and hand-offs into your processes.
If a process isn’t performing as expected, troubleshooting may reveal a gap between team members or groups, or an unexpected difficulty for a team member when they use the process. The human element in processes is a crucial – make sure you’re not neglecting it.
Put this little set of No-No’s to avoid in your management toolbox – they just might come in handy some day!