Continuing with the list of the six questions you need crystal clear answers to in order to have a good business:
- Why and for whom do you exist?
- What does this “who” need and want?
- What do you need to do to meet these needs and desires?
- How will you do this work?
- What tools do we need to do this work?
- What skills are needed to do this work?
If you have the answers to questions one to three, then you know why and who you exist for, what the person you exist for both needs and wants, and also what it is you need to do in your business to satisfy those needs and wants.
Then comes the next part; HOW.
How will you do this work?
If the answer to WHAT is to show the value-creating flow, then HOW is the description of each activity in that flow.
We often do this by providing descriptions in the form of work instructions, templates and checklists. It can also be in the form of links to other sources of support for those who will be carrying out the tasks.
We often refer to this as guiding and supporting documentation, or information.
Not just documents
Unfortunately, I see many people still thinking that things that need to be described need to be described in writing. That’s not really the way the world is now. Sure, 25 years ago, but not in 2022. There’s a reason YouTube and podcasts have become so big.
Why not record a screencast, i.e. a video showing the computer screen, and then talk to it? It is often easier to access than a document, especially if it is a long document.
Or a short audio recording, explaining how to carry out the activity?
If you want to be very serious, you’ve gone to great lengths to satisfy those who prefer to receive messages via image, via text or via hearing. We are different, and like to absorb knowledge in different ways. Thus, you can use both video with audio, audio only or text documents.
It is also possible to use the three forms in a combination, where some information is first given in one form, and then continues to be given in another form.
The right information in the right place
The most important thing is that the person who has to perform the tasks has access to the right information at the right time.
In the ancient world, there are large and heavy documents that span a large area. Our strategy, our policies, our operating rules, or similar. The information you really need at a given moment can be difficult to find. It can also often be difficult to filter out what concerns me here and now, and what concerns someone else elsewhere.
In the world where we are focused on the value-creating flows, instead of large and heavy documents, we have smaller and more focused documents. The number may be more, even after a clean-up of the document flora, but the important thing is that each document is linked to the process and a specific activity. This means more of the right information in the right place at the right time.
No more big general and generic documents. Start focusing on exactly what you need to know, when you need to know it.
For this to work, the governing and supporting documents/information need to be properly structured. Unfortunately, it is all too common for organisations to start at the wrong end; they create a structure for their governing and supporting documents based on some “standard” that is somewhat inaccurately called a process structure. But it is by no means certain, if not highly unlikely, that this “standard” will fit your value creation flow.
Even within Swedish municipalities, which in themselves have the same basic mission, there are differences in how they choose to structure their value-creating flows, i.e. their processes.
What you need to do is to always start by clearly and well identifying your value creation flows. Then, once you have done that, down to the activity level, you can start to identify what the needs are for guiding and supporting documents/information.
Each activity has its own requirements for its governing and supporting documents/information. Hence, you get many more governing and supporting documents than you had before. But each of them is far more adapted to tell the role that will perform the activity HOW to perform it.
So, in a way, you have the answer to HOW you do your WHAT. And so also the answer to the fourth question.
If you want to know more about how to work on designing your processes, check out our training courses at www.cleanstream.se/utbildningar. May I suggest the Basic Process Theory course, which takes you through just the basics necessary for you to reset your mindset. A way of thinking that is necessary to develop.
If you want to know more about document management, I recommend the webinar we are holding on 16 January; Five mistakes in document management.
I wish you a nice week.