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Process Documentation… Why do I need that?

WritingAs association IT staff, we are involved in a number of un-ideal tasks: running the graveyard shift, adopting last-minute design and functional changes to applications, dealing with what we view as unreasonable requests from members and other staff, to name a few. However these annoyances pale in comparison, to process documentation, a task the mention of which we all cringe.

“What??? We just spent a year evaluating, planning, testing, and implementing this process. Now we have to document it as well?”

This reluctance is understandable. You understand the technology and how to use it but you don’t have time to write it all down. Writing is just not your strong suit. This is not part of your job function. You do not understand the value of documentation.

So why is it important?
The most important reason for process documentation is to eliminate confusion and ambiguity. The next time there is a meeting or question regarding who is supposed to do what or what are the best practices, the answer will be right at your fingertips. The documentation also serves as a historical document that tracks the evolution of your association along with the change in processes (provided you move forward with version control of your documentation).

Use it!
How many times have been faced with a situation where there has been a new hire and you have an important event right around the corner? I personally have been in this situation more than a couple of times. I wished I had more time… but alas! Some documentation will help new resources learn faster by acting as a training manual.

When changes in your organization’s processes are documented in a detail, they are available for analysis to sales and marketing. These teams can better understand the association capabilities and leverage the information to target their audience. Management can also use this to develop best practices and standards for your association. If the documentation is comprehensive, it also eliminates the need for costly requirements gathering by consultants when you embark on a new project.

So the question is… Does your organization have your business processes documented? Take the first steps …

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Gayathri Kher

Gayathri Kher

Gayathri is co-founder and President of fusionSpan, a technology consulting firm focused on serving the comprehensive needs of small staff Non-Profit associations. She has extensive experience in evaluating current IT infrastructure for small-staff associations and assisting them in implementing solutions that are scalable based on future needs. Prior to co-founding fusionSpan, Gayathri headed up the Information Technology department at the National Genealogical Society and also worked at the Association of American Geographers.

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