Most projects get their business process documentation wrong. This has serious consequences for all downstream activities and overall project success.
With business process documentation, there are a few common issues that manifest again and again. This article will examine what's going wrong, why it matters, and how you can fix it.
Note: This article assumes you know the basics of business processes - if not, check out the Wikipedia page for more info.
Why business process documentation is so important
Your business process documentation should provide a solid and reliable reference point
If you don't have business process documentation, your development and test teams are flying blind. How can developers know what the business needs? How can a test know whether to pass or fail? Acknowledging a lack of process documentation will at least stimulate conversation and try to establish the business 'truth.’
However, if you have poor process documentation, there's a real risk that you'll develop and test the wrong solution. People are more likely to accept what they're given, less likely to question, and less likely to find the real 'truth.’
You've been doing Business Process Documentation Wrong
There are potentially a myriad of reasons why your business process documentation is letting you down. Most of these though, stem from one master issue - you're doing it wrong.
Here are some of the common issues. They're generally common sense, at least at first glance. While a lot of these issues might seem trivial, they are surprisingly difficult to circumvent - especially in the throes of a major project.
- You're Going Round in Circles
Business Process Documentation usually goes through iteration after iteration during a project. A lot of this comes from the back-and-forth between Business Analysts and the User Community. BAs initiate this exchange by attempting to get information and commitment while being frustrated by the lack of detail. Users make it more difficult by being unaccustomed to communicating the specifics of what, why, and how they do what they do.
This rigmarole prevents quality assurance and the documentation is just accepted, without being fit-for-purpose. Good enough to get a tick in the box, without being good enough to be useful to developers, users, or testers.
- Your Documents are Out-of-Date Before they're Even Published
That tick in the box usually marks the death of the document. From that point onwards, the document is completely static.
If your documentation doesn't evolve, it dies. The longer it remains static, the less your documentation will represent actual system usage.
Eventually, someone will dig this up and try to use it. Maybe for new development, to train up some new users, or as a scripting reference for a regression test.
- Duplicated and Wasted Effort
Your business processes need to be documented, but you're already documenting them for your test cases and your training materials.
You're building different documents covering the exact same functionality, albeit with different end goals. This creates so much duplication and wasted effort. It's not just the document creation, wasting BA time, but the knowledge transfer sessions, meetings, reviews, etc.
Your documentation should all stem from a single source of truth, with subtle variations in format and content. This both keeps your project efficient and ensures everyone is singing from the same hymn sheet.
- Your Documentation has Inconsistent Quality
It's generally true that no two people will create documentation to the same standard. It might not be any better, or any worse, but it will be different. This always creates problems down the line. When people try to use the documents, they want easy-to-access information. They don't want to be slowed down by changes, confused by variation, or completely stumped by something they've never seen.
How to Fix Your Business Process Documentation
Imagine if you could just click a button and your docs were ready. That would entail:
- Clear access to the truth - No need to go round in circles trying to find it
- Documentation is always up-to-date
- Efficient use of effort - no waste
- Rock-solid consistency throughout your entire Business Process Documentation library.
How would that impact your project? How much time and confusion would this cut through? You'd get rid of all that back-and-forth, you'd eliminate any doubt or uncertainty from the docs, and you'd shed days and days of effort from your project, and your budget.
What a solution that would be, if only it was realistic. Instead, it sounds more like magic. It's pie-in-the-sky stuff. Nothing can streamline business process documentation like that… can it?
Copado - Business Process Automation
Well yes, something can, and that something is Business Process Automation - Without doubt the easiest and most convenient way to generate business process documentation.
Copado (formerly Qualibrate) is the world's leading business process automation solution.
- Copado - Gives you a Single Source of Truth
With Copado you can generate business process documentation with the click of a button. Not only that but your test cases and training documentation can be generated in the same way… from a single source, with a single click.
- Copado - Gives you Up-to-Date Documentation
As your documentation is held in a single location, it only ever needs to be updated in one place. Then you can just generate your business process, training, and test documentation as you need it.
- Copado - Stops you from Wasting Time and Effort
How long does the test take to generate their test cases? How long does training take to generate their learning materials? How long do your BAs take to generate business process docs? It normally takes months and months of effort.
Copado does all of this from a single source. Ok, so you have to populate that single source once - but that's still a massive 66% reduction in asset creation effort and the same 66% saving in maintaining those assets.
Does this guarantee completely up-to-date documentation? Not entirely, but it does make it incredibly easy to keep it all up-to-date. It removes the barriers.
- Copado - Gives You High-Quality and Rock-Solid Consistency
All of your documentation is created to the highest standard. Consistent, uniform, and predictable. Your documentation is easy to understand and contains the correct level of
Find Out How Copado Can Help You
You’ve been doing business process documentation wrong - but Copado is here to help. We are the leading business process documentation solution because we save our customers time, effort, and stress.
If you already do process documentation, click here to find out how Copado can help.
If you don't, you really need to start, you should click here.
Remember, your business process documentation is critical, but it doesn't need to be so onerous.
With Copado you get world-leading business process automation and a single source for process docs, training, and testing.