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15 Comments

Why bother documenting your processes?

A cartoon flowchart, notated with question marks, exclamation points and a heart at the end

In case it's not obvious, hi I'm Meri and I'm a process nerd.

My clients often ask why I'm so vocal about documenting all the repeat processes a team uses, so I decided to write a blog post about it. Part one of two is out now and I'd love your thoughts!

Do you notate your processes? Do you find it helpful, and more importantly does your team?
If you're a sole founder, do you think this is helpful or a waste of time?

Let's chat :)

  1. 2

    i meticulously document my personal recurring processes (of which i have dozens). but i've largely moved away from documenting team processes.

    the benefits of team documentation are highly context-dependent:

    • with a team of low-skill workers (for lack of a better term), documentation can be extremely useful
    • but with high-skill workers, documentation can be a burden. instead, they are the most motivated and productive when we grant them autonomy and the freedom to innovate on their methods (so long as they deliver on our shared goals)

    caveats to the above:

    • we only have about ten total people on our team, most of whom are contractors
    • over time, we've written lots of code that automates away the need for a lot of the low-skill workers we originally employed (and provided documentation for). without this automation, we'd still be big on team documentation
    1. 1

      Thank you Channing! It's so interesting to see how everyone documents different things. And I agree regarding the type of worker, but I'd say also it's specific to the type of process. Things like inputting financial information or HR things that can't be entirely automated are where I've found most teams fall down and errors or confusion can occur.
      I have also found however that remote teams are by definition better at this because they're running almost entirely asynchronously.
      Thank you so much for reading :)

  2. 2

    I always advocate for the same, especially around critical infra things. You want to be able to follow a process without a mistake with your eyes half closed.

  3. 2

    Love this! Creating a repeatable/structured process around the project makes it so much easier to digest. Big supporter of documenting the process!

    1. 1

      Thank you Hugh! So glad people are finding it useful

  4. 2

    Great article! It seems like creating a process is sort of like a macro 😀

  5. 2

    Hi Meri, great article about the simplicity of using repeatable processes.

    Cannot agree more about the power in making a checklist to create a step-by-step list to achieve a specific task that can be repeated again and again.

    FYI, checklists are our thing. As an Indie Hacker you have so many things to do remembering each and every part of any process is difficult, so, that's why we love the simplicity of just having each step defined with some notes to guide you and then just check off each when complete. Job done 🎉

    Watching out for part two👍

    1. 2

      Thank you so much! And sounds like your tool is perfect for these repeat tasks - will check it out :)

  6. 1

    Thanks for sharing Meri.

    I'm a solo founder and after reading your article, I'm definitely a process person but just didn't realize it.

    I always thought of process as:

    1. Establish and write out process
    2. Follow process
    3. Review/tweak as needed

    But in your article, you say:

    "If you're struggling to do this all at once, just dedicate some brain space for a week or two noting the processes you use down as you use them."

    That's kind of what I do, but just in a continuous fashion. Process for me is:

    1. Do some stuff
    2. Ask: should I write this down for the future?
    3. If yes, write the process to use for next time.

    This way, I create processes only when I actually need them, not when I think I might need them.

    1. 1

      This is perfect Steven and I think the best way to put your processes down - great that you're already doing this. If you can put things down as you need them and before anyone else might need to know them, you're setting yourself up super well for the future!
      Thank you for reading !

  7. 1

    I don't do it enough on my journey and i think i should have, it would be amazing to see it unfold over the years and also would save me time.

    In my agency we document more and that has helped us be very efficient to the point where we can actually use a process and save employees, use less team members. it's been huge during Covid and key in our business survival and even great growth during the last 12 months

    1. 2

      Great to see that processes have been helping, never too late to start incorporating them into your workflow. I'd love to know a bit more about your agency and the journey you're on! Thank you for reading!

      1. 1

        Hey, thanks for that.
        my agency is streetwisagency.com and we help startups and bigger tech companies with their brand, strategy and mainly we offer outsourced marketing services as i believe we can offer an amazing solution for them.

        my journey has been to improve the way we teach the next generation. I have just left college after teaching for over 7 years, about 20+ classes and launched a media house for young entrepreneurs in Israel.
        I give free content about marketing, freelance, sales, business and how to start and scale.
        so much more, would love to share but one last thing, i'm writing my 3rd book and it's working title is: F**k the slides - i teach why a good pitch deck is much more than just slides and how to create a 3-5 min amazing pitch deck.
        Happy to help anyone who might be reading this (love this community) so feel free to mail me: [email protected]

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