Documenting Processes…For Better or Worse

I recently had dinner with a colleague, and she commented on how she has made a living by documenting processes within companies. She is a training and computer interface designer yet she can’t do her job without documented processes. How do you create a training program without content? How can you configure a system to help automate a process if it’s not documented?

First step…always document. People don’t like to document. I don’t know if it conjures images of third grade grammar class where they had to stay after school to bang erasers if they couldn’t remember the difference between they’re, their and there. But, people don’t like to document. If it’s in their heads, they think they’re golden and don’t have to type anything on their PC over there. Mrs. Gorski would be so proud!

I think this is a key contribution a Knowledge Management professional can play if she chooses. Think about it…how can you improve what you don’t know how it operates today? How can you automate what is manual if you can’t see it? How can you share what is not known? It all starts with processes and the documentation of those processes.

Process documentation is a form knowledge management. Processes are artifacts and assets of a company. They don’t have to be complicated; they just have to be known to share, improve, automate and re-engineer. It is our baseline…our beginning.

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