+44 203 287 0899 info@solvaa.co.uk

Learning how to document processes and procedures has a number of benefits.  It will save you time as you won’t need to think about what to do when carrying out regular business functions.  Your work will become more consistent as you will always be following the same steps every time you perform a task.  Quality will improve as you won’t miss out on any steps, and you’re less likely to make a mistake.

What are processes and procedures?

So, what’s the difference between a process and a procedure?  The two terms are often used interchangeably in business, but the definition of each is:

  • A process consists of the steps or actions required to complete a task.
  • A procedure describes who does each step and how it’s done.

So, in short, a process is the ‘what’ and a procedure is the ‘how’.

Depending on the size of the task at hand, you can choose to document processes and procedures separately or combine them into one diagram.

A process diagram usually consists of the inputs to a task, the outputs, and the steps to get from one to the other.

A procedure is often more descriptive, including who does each step and how they achieve it.

How to analyse your processes

Before documenting your processes and procedures you should analyse them.  This involves listing all your processes, including the purpose of each one, and then brainstorming the steps required to undertake each task.

The best way to do this is by using a flipchart, a whiteboard, or sticky notes.  You can get ‘magic’ paper that sticks to walls (available on Amazon here) which works really well when you don’t have a whiteboard or flipchart.  If you are working remotely then there are digital whiteboard apps such as Miro or Mural.

You should make a note of which department is responsible for each step, bearing in mind that some may cross over into more than one.  You should also list all the apps or tools you use to complete each task, and what their function is.  If you are considering replacing a tool then make a note of this.

How to document your processes and procedures

Once you have a list of processes then you can document them.  There are a number of tools you can use to do this, many of which are free.

The first tool for documenting processes and procedures is a simple spreadsheet.  This works for many businesses and you can create a different sheet for each process.  You can use separate columns to include the following information (using the 5W1H method):

  • Where does the task occur?
  • How is the task accomplished?
  • What steps are required? What data, or apps are needed?
  • Who is involved? Which team do they belong to, or is it a customer, or supplier?
  • When does this task occur? Is it time-critical?
  • Why is this step or task important?

If you’d rather create a more visual representation of the process then you could use a flowchart tool such as Visio or Draw.io.  Flowcharts provide clarity and understanding of the sequence of actions, and it is often an easier way to identify unnecessary steps.  You can colour-code steps based on which team does them, or other criteria. You can also use the standard symbols for data, forms and other media to give instant visual analysis of a process.

And when you’re ready to document the process in a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP), you can capture the finer details by asking the person responsible for the process to digitally document it. You could use an app like Scribe  that helps you to easily record a work-through of a process and then captures, videos, screenshots and transcibes the text automatically – it’s pretty clever. It makes the whole process documentation and SOP writing process much easier.

There are also checklist-style apps which have been developed specifically for documenting processes.  These include Process Street, which are a great way of creating SOPs.  They are cloud-based solutions which can also integrate with other apps including Zapier to automate tasks.

 Screen print from a Process St documented list of steps in a process.

Courtesy of Process Street

Or you could simply stick with Miro or Mural, which have flowcharting templates as well as sticky notes and customer journey maps.

What’s next?

Once you have documented your processes then you can think about automating them.   We have written a blog post about the benefits of automating processes which is a great starting point, and we also have some free resources:

Our founder, Kelly’s new book, Automate It with Zapier, is out now and is the most comprehensive Zapier guide on the market.  You can buy a copy from Amazon: here are links to Amazon (.co.uk) and Amazon (.com) to get yours now.

Check out our automation training programme

And finally, if you’re really keen to transform your business using automation, then visit the Solvaa Automation Academy. Our signature training programme, ‘Simple Automation Blueprint: Zero to Hero’ is aimed at anyone who wants to learn the fundamentals of business process automation from the experts – a sure-fire way to recession-proof your business.

It’s an 8-week blended learning course with on-demand videos, templates, resources and weekly group coaching sessions. And it’s more than just a Zapier course (although we do show you how to use Zapier like a pro) as you’ll learn about Process Mapping, Business Process Improvement and Business Process Management too – principles that can be applied to other areas of business too! 

Whether you are a complete novice or have been using Zapier for a while, our programme is for you. It’s perfect for individuals and teams in micro, small and medium-sized businesses, including solopreneurs, consultants and freelancers. You’ll have access to our experts and can participate in live calls where you can ask all your burning questions, as well as hands-on workshops to keep you on track with implementing your new skills. We run regular cohorts so there will be an opportunity for everyone to participate.

Our head trainer, Kelly Goss, is a specialist in business systems, process improvement and automation, and one of less than 100 Zapier Certified Experts in the world. Kelly has many years’ experience in optimising systems and processes, and implementing automations for clients and is now passing on her knowledge to students through our trademarked ‘4-Step Solvaa Automation Methodology®‘. 

Find out more via our dedicated Solvaa Automation Academy website.

 Read more about how our certified experts use Zapier workflow automations to simplify processes and increase efficiency.

Solvaa is a process and automation consultancy specialising in improving sales, operations and financial administration workflows. We help you to simplify and streamline existing processes, integrate your business tools to make data transfer more efficient and automate manual tasks to increase productivity. We are Zapier Certified Experts, Pipedrive Certified Experts and Xero Certified Advisors. 

Contact us today to discuss how Solvaa can help you simplify, improve and automate all aspects of your business with Zapier to save you time, reduce costs and keep you agile as you grow.

 

 

Related Posts

Tools for small businesses: do you need a spreadsheet or a database?

Choosing the right tools for your small business is crucial for both cost and efficiency. As with many areas in life, it's important to choose the right tool for the right job. When it comes to storing and organising data, many people default to using a spreadsheet...
An image showing spring cleaning for your technology stack.

Spring clean your tech stack: how to review your apps to save money and boost efficiency

As the flowers bloom and the birds chirp, it's time for that annual ritual: spring cleaning. While you're tidying up your physical space, don't forget about your digital domain. Yes, we're talking about your tech stack. The term 'tech stack' refers to the suite of...
Decorative feature image for Solvaa blog post " Boost Your LinkedIn Sales: Streamline your sales process with Surfe and Pipedrive"

Boost Your LinkedIn Sales: Streamline your sales process with Surfe and Pipedrive

LinkedIn sales thrive on effective communication and relationship management. LinkedIn serves as a powerful tool for sales pros to engage with leads and nurture valuable connections, however, it's challenging to get your LinkedIn leads into your CRM in an automated...
Decorative image - The featured image for the Solvaa blog post "AI-tomation: How Zapier is using AI to make automation easy Part 5 - Wrapping up and looking forward"

AI-tomation: How Zapier is using AI to make automation easy – Wrapping up and looking forward

In this series about AI automation, we've been exploring how Zapier is weaving AI throughout it's product to enhance user experience and power up automation.   If you missed our previous posts, you can find them here:  Part 1: An overview of AI in Zapier Part 2:...
Image of the Pipedrive mobile app for Solvaa blog post "Optimise Your Sales Journey On-the-Go with Pipedrive’s CRM Mobile App"

Optimise Your Sales Journey On-the-Go with Pipedrive’s CRM Mobile App

In the dynamic world of sales, maintaining connectivity and organisation is paramount for success. Pipedrive's CRM mobile app presents a comprehensive solution, acting as a versatile sales pipeline and lead tracker that empowers businesses of all sizes to effortlessly...
Decorative image - a header for the Solvaa blog post "Mastering Meeting Efficiency: How Automation Can Make Meetings Better"

Mastering Meeting Efficiency: How Automation Can Make Meetings Better

Meetings. A vital yet often frustrating feature in the landscape of business. Not many people look forward to meetings (there's a reason that "This could have been an email" is now a phrase so viral you can find it on mugs, t-shirts and more), and even fewer enjoy...
Blog featured image for Solvaa blog post Using business automation software and excited to automate something new? Do these things first!

Using business automation software and excited to automate something new? Do these things first!

In the ever-evolving landscape of business processes, automation has become the cornerstone of efficiency and productivity. In this post, we'll delve into the art of enhancing your existing automation infrastructure by seamlessly integrating new automations into the...
Blog featured image: How to seamlessly weave automations into your process mapping

How to seamlessly weave automations into your process mapping

A process map is a visual representation of a workflow; they're useful for helping you identify issues and areas of improvement in your procedures. Process mapping also allows you to share and teach procedures across an organisation. Our previous post goes into more...
Solvaa blog post title image for post "New low-code features from Zapier bring automaton power to the people."

New low-code features from Zapier bring automation power to the people

Have you ever been frustrated when a Zapier app integration doesn't have the action you need? Or perhaps you have Zaps filled with webhook steps, and only the most technical people in your team know how to update or edit them? Zapier has built low-code features App...
Solvaa blog header image: Automate sales and marketing to make your holidays more jolly

Marketing and Sales Automations to Make Your Holidays More Jolly

Between Black Friday, Thanksgiving, and the holidays, November and December are busy times for businesses. Your busiest days may be yet to come, but if you want to get ahead, you need to start preparing as soon as possible. This post offers tips for automating and...
Blog title image "There's an app for that, but do you need it?"

There’s an app for that, but do you need it?

From lead management to turning on the office coffee machine, there's an app for everything these days. When a task or process is time-consuming or difficult, it can be easy to jump straight to looking for something to do it for you. It's worth taking time to pause...
The head image for the blog post showing a photo of a calendar on a yellow background. Next to the calendar is the Solvaa Automation academy & consultancy logo. Under that are the logos for the Calendly and Zapier apps.

Create a Zap for rescheduled Calendly events by adding one simple step

When you're using Zapier, it can be frustrating if the trigger or action you need doesn't exist. If you're technically minded, you may be able to build your own, but sometimes there's a simpler solution. If you're using Calendly with Zapier, you'll know that there...
A man typing on the laptop with floating email icons

Client Success Story : How Summerley Recruitment automated their email chasers and saved hours of manual work every week

We love sharing customer automation success stories with you because it shows how other businesses are using Zapier, and how a sprinkle of Kelly’s wisdom can be a total game-changer. Summerley Recruitment is a busy recruitment agency which spends the winter months...
A laptop with screen showing software app icons which are flying out of the screen.

How to review your apps and choose the best software for your business

These days, businesses use a wide range of software tools to perform their everyday tasks. Some of them may be very old, desktop or local network legacy systems which are creaking at the seams. Businesses may also use spreadsheets and word processing software to do...
Everyday man dressed as a superhero with the text Citizen Developer on his chest.

What is a citizen developer and how can they help deliver automation success?

You may have heard the expression "citizen developer" being thrown around a lot recently so we wanted to get some more insight into what one is and whether they should be an integral part of every business. At Solvaa we talk about the concept of "systems and...
Diary open on a page with hourly sections and a pen poised over the 9am slot.

Why planning your day in advance will help you be more productive

If your to-do list is overflowing and work seems chaotic, then it might be time to take a more organised approach. We strongly believe that planning your day (and week!) in advance will help you be more productive. You'll get more done, with fewer interruptions, if...
Close-up of a woman using a portable credit card reader, holding a receipt which is being printed.

How to automate your sales funnel and win more business

Your sales cycle is one of the most important functions in your business so it's vital that it is efficient so that you can convert more sales and win more business. We have already covered how to automate your marketing tasks so this article concentrates on pushing...
Confused businessman standing at a crossroads with options to go left for Robotic Process Automation or right for Business Process Automation.

Which type of automation tools suit a small to medium sized business?

Automation is nothing new, with the first robot invented over 100 years ago (credited to Leonardo Torres y Quevedo for inventing a machine for playing chess if you're interested!), and manufacturing businesses first adopting the use of robots in their physical...
A group of young business people raising their hands in a business meeting.

Who would benefit from the Solvaa Automation Academy training programmes?

If you'd love to jump on the automation bandwagon but struggle to navigate the myriad of information you find online, then we can help. Even if you have dabbled with Zapier you might be worried that you're doing it wrong or are not 100% sure that you're using the...
A man's hand hovering over a laptop keyboard with the screen showing available appointment slots for a meeting.

How calendar apps can help you be more productive when booking meetings

 One of the biggest time sucks in business can be all the to-ing and fro-ing that you get when you're trying to organise a meeting with someone. You start by saying you're available on Mondays and Tuesdays, they then suggest a Tuesday, but you have a dentist...
Automate ebook

Get our free ebook

Learn about how business process automation with Zapier can help you to run your business on autopilot. The ebook is packed with real-life examples, use cases, and success stories. Whatever kind of business you have, you can use automation to help you work smarter, not harder.

Thanks! Your ebook is on the way.

Pin It on Pinterest

Shares