Everyone knows the manuals sit on the shelf.
They’re in three-ring binders and spiral-comb booklets, standing upright like a library or lying flat under stacks of other unused manuals. They were out-of-date before they were printed. They didn’t include the workarounds. The screen shots show old data. Opening them makes people sneeze. So, people don’t open them. Like forgotten toys, they sit on the shelf.
Who wants to invest in a new round of documentation when we all know it’s just going to hold down a bookshelf?
Popular Documentation Myth: No One Will Use It
While building out the process and training documentation for a customer information and work management system in a utility space, I discovered no fewer than six ways to add a new account.
We knew the utility preferred to build accounts only after a credit application had been approved, so we had been instructing the customer services representatives to begin there. But there were so many other times an account could be used like creating a service ticket, getting a new line dropped to new construction, and adding an outlet to a garage or an RV. Bypassing the credit application was an imperative.
Once your company has defined its processes, it can answer questions about exceptions and critical needs. Those answers will drive software adoption and should be part of a corporate policy governing decision-making.
Having knowledgeable, veteran employees executing daily tasks provides a certain amount of security to your operation. These team members know what to do, when to do it, and how to do it. They don’t need documentation.
Except, what if they are ready to retire? What if they have to go on medical leave?
Where is their knowledge when they are not in the building?
Usable documentation is dynamic. It is threaded through your most frequently-used systems and part of your business’s core processes. Usable documentation evolves and grows with the changes your users make as they adopt best practices and adapt to new systems.
Clemson Road Consulting’s documentation service is a two-part approach to capturing and sharing your company’s proprietary knowledge. Part one is a low-impact investigation into how the operations are completed with critical processes mapped and documented. Part two is a custom-designed deployment event that uses the systems your team is most frequently in to display quick and easy demonstrations, instructions, and examples.
We make your company’s knowledge accessible and usable.
These aren’t your manager’s spiral-comb handbooks. This is knowledge where your people need it, when they need it.
We even design an upkeep plan to help your team maintain the documentation long after the original knowledge capture.
Are you ready to take on comprehensive process reform?
Call Clemson Road Consulting (803-569-8200) to get started.