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Documenting processes

When it comes to documenting your processes there is no one solution that fits all organizations but there is a set of principles that all should meet. The things that need to be documented will include:

  • The process objectives
  • The measures of success and methods of measurement
  • The activities required to deliver the objectives
  • The resources, information and competences required to deliver the required outputs
  • The risks and the provisions that will eliminate, reduce or control these risks
  • The review and improvement mechanisms

One solution is to use procedures and while these might prescribe the objectives and measures and the actions to be carried out by people in performing a task, they won't describe what the machines do, the resources, behavioural traits and competences required to perform the task.

Another solution is to produce flowcharts and thus communicate the sequence and interrelationship between activities but flow charts often don't define objective and measures or give guidance and are not effective in showing time dependent activities without cluttering the chart with decision shapes and feedback loops. Flow charts also omit resources and competences. Flow charts can also develop into the complexity of machine instructions unless the producer resists the temptation to chart every input, action, decision, feedback loop and output.

Whilst procedures and flow charts will form a part of any solution they are not a total solution on their own. In addition to the popular books, e-books and training courses on ISO 9000, ISO/TS 16949 and process management, Transition Support has now developed a number of templates that use one or more of the following packages: MS Powerpoint, MS FrontPage, MS Word 2000 and MS Visio 2000. They have chosen the build solutions around commonly available platforms thereby avoiding the need for expensive software that reduces flexibility and mobility. The templates are not "plug and play" and so additional support may be needed for users to gain maximum benefit.


Many thanks to David Hoyle of Transition Support for submitting this article.


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