Business Process Technical Writer
Keep Knowledge in your Business with Process Documentation
If your organisation's processes are not documented, you are taking an unnecessary risk. Think about it. What would happen if:
- Key members of your staff leave or are unable to work, with no notice?
- You unexpectedly need to recreate your business, or part of your business, in another location?
- The quality of your products/services is affected because of staff doing activities in different ways?
Any of these situations could prove costly, especially if specialist knowledge was lost due to staff leaving. Yes, you can get a replacement in, but how long will it take and what will happen in the meantime? Why take the risk, when you can hire me to document your procedures so that there is a clear and accurate record?
As a technical writer, I document all types of processes in my work. While I spend most of my time documenting tasks and explaining concepts for customers, I can also use the same principles to document your processes, including design, assembly, installation, and health and safety. To work as your process technical writer, I will need to shadow your staff, so that I can see what they do, ask about what would happen in different circumstances, and create a record of the correct way of doing things. The end result is a manual or web content that gives clear instructions on the approved method to complete each process, and advice on how to handle unexpected situations.
Shadowing Staff to Document your Procedures
To document your business processes, I will need to shadow your engineers and other staff. I start by working out what tasks they perform in your organisation, and then shadow them for one task at a time, so that I can follow one specific process from start to finish. When I'm shadowing someone, I:
- Find out why each step of the process has to be done
- Watch the task being completed
- Ask about 'what if' scenarios that could happen - What if part A is overtightened? What if the operator doesn't wear safety goggles? What if they wire the terminals the wrong way around? etc., etc.
- Check that the way the task is completed is actually the approved and correct way.
So I'm not just standing back and watching what happens. I get involved and ask questions about situations that your employee knows how to handle (from experience), but someone new would struggle with. As I don't know your business processes when I start, I go in with a fresh perspective, which is exactly what is needed to draw that knowledge out of your staff and get it written down.
After shadowing your staff, I use my technical writing skills to create clear and accessible content that documents every part of the process, and provides information on best practices and what to do if things go wrong. The content I write can be used by anyone who needs to understand or perform a process, and it is also useful for auditing.
There is also another benefit to be gained from shadowing your staff and covering the processes in detail - it often highlights issues in your business.
Documenting your Business Processes can Highlight Issues
You might be surprised about what I discover when I'm shadowing your staff. As I go into detail with each part of the tasks they perform, I can often find problems that can affect your business, but you might not be aware of. Some of the common issues I have come across are:
- Assembly being delayed due to parts being unavailable, a result of bad timing with ordering and delivery
- Lack of cover for staff, such as only one person being qualified to do an essential part of the process
- Staff not following best practices because their deadlines are too tight to meet without cutting corners
- Staff being complacent with health and safety measures
- Insufficient staff to complete the task on time
- Problems being reported, but not being addressed
- Poor communication between departments.
Clearly, all of these problems will harm your business if left unchecked, either by reducing the quality of your service or product, by causing delays, or leading to injury (or worse). As I write up your process documentation, I will make sure these issues are reported, much in the same way that I report bugs when I'm documenting software.
Below, I've included some sample screenshots which are taken from a process manual I wrote for 4energy. The manual was aimed at their on-site engineers and covers the installation and commissioning process for fitting their cooling systems. The manual covers everything from what safety equipment to wear and what fixings to use to how to clean up after installing on a brick site. Please note that the pages are a sample and are not all from the same sub-procedure (I have been selective so that I only reveal things that are common to most cooling systems).
If you are ready to hire me as your process writer, or you would like to find out more, please click the button and get in touch. Let me know about your project, the timescales involved, and your location. I'm based in Chesterfield and can only do regular on-site work locally for the time being.