A business system, or standard operating procedure, is a guide that outlines the exact steps that need to be followed to complete a task. While seasoned team members already know how to complete the tasks, and think that documenting business systems are unnecessary, when new employees are hired, having the business systems documented will help them complete their job and achieve proficiency.
1. Be the Expert
It helps if you are intimately familiar with the task that you are documenting. Your personal experience completing the job can help but don’t be convinced that your way is the best way. Talk with your staff and take notes.
2. Make it Clear and Concise
When writing down the steps of a procedure, you want to be sure to use simple, direct language. Your business systems need to be understandable to anyone who has a basic, working knowledge of the industry.
3. Remember the Details
Be sure to include helpful hints to the steps involved. When it comes to the position of valves and switches, consider making labels that you can refer to in the system documentation.
4. Link Related Procedures
Whenever possible, you want to cross-reference related procedures. Most business systems require users to perform multiple associated tasks for them to complete their goals. A process for using the Print Preview function in your software should be linked to procedures for the Print function.
5. Combine Small Steps
Usually, when documenting business systems, it is best to only write one instruction per numbered step. You can often combine smaller steps to keep the document from becoming too lengthy.
Well written business systems and standard operating procedures should leave the users feeling comfortable with the experience and confidence in their ability to complete the task without having to ask questions.