What happens next?

Jason SayensmartPRENEUR Blog Series

Your employee may be a 20-year veteran in their role however do they know what happens after their part of the job is finished?  What about what happens upstream before they start?

Most business documentation is created because an employee made a mistake! 

For example, 50% of the time we install an outdoor audio system, we forget to cover up the wires so we need a checklist for the techs to follow.  Someone creates a checklist, emails it to the techs, and then sticks the file into a google drive folder never to be seen again.  

This happens over and over until there are siloed SOP’s and checklists stored digitally.  Many of them don’t tie into each other so you end up with duplicate information.

When companies attempt to document their processes to show employees what’s happening within the company, they start off by trying to create a complete Ops manual.  As they dive into it, they keep going deeper and deeper and end up getting paralysis by analysis, and the project gets stalled.

Before starting any documentation, ask yourself, do you have the right tools?

  1. Org Chart
  2. Defined job titles and or responsibilities
  3. Process map (visual workflow)
  4. Documented processes (written documents)

If you have none of these, then start with the Org Chart and follow them in order.  Each tool builds on the previous tool which makes them easier to create and also helps tie them all together for consistency.

The visual workflow serves as a map for your entire business.

Something I develop for my clients is what I call The Client Journey Workflow.  This gives you a 30,000 foot view of your company and shows how a project flows from milestone to milestone through the various departments from start to finish. It identifies a major process, who’s responsible, what the handoff looks like between employees or departments, and how software ties in.

The benefits of doing this are huge. 

Here are just a few…

  • Keeps operational consistency
  • Preserves company knowledge
  • Shows what is happening
  • Becomes a Training Tool
  • Makes the invisible…visible

Creating a Client Journey Workflow for your company can be a daunting task so I’m going to break it down into 4 simple steps.

  1. Identify your project phases

When you create a Client Journey Workflow, it’s impossible to capture time.  But you can capture the phases of a project which closely represent time.  In a project phase, a series of events happen that end with a Milestone.

  1. Identify Milestones

Milestones are something that moves the project forward, captures a moment in time, and marks the completion of tasks.  When your team completes a Milestone, it moves the project forward and serves as a project checkpoint that requires approval before proceeding.  An example would be Pre-wire Complete.  Make sure to decide in which phase the milestones happen.

  1. Tasks

Tasks are the steps that are needed to be completed to achieve the Milestone.  If a client contacts you to get a proposal and the milestone is to get a signed contract, what are the tasks that have to happen in order to get that contract signed?  List them sequentially.

  1. Deliverables

Deliverables are the output of the work done for the tasks to progress and the Milestone to be complete.  These could be checklists, sing-offs, or internal approvals.

A visual workflow helps show your team how the process happens.  Once you have this completed, it’s easier to identify where you need the individual documents like tasks, standard operating procedures, or written instructions that show them what is happening. 

About the Author

Jason Sayen

Jason Sayen is the Founder of I am Sayen and brings over 25 years to the custom installation channel.  I am Sayen, helps business owners understand their process through workflow documentation which aligns teams and removes bottlenecks.

Website:   http://iamsayen.com