Join Haydn Thomas for an in-depth discussion in this video Creating procedure manuals and documentation, part of Business Analysis Foundations.
- Creating documentation is your chance to leave a legacy. Good documentation enables people to perform their job properly and efficiently. On the flip side, lack of documentation or poorly written documentation can create havoc within a business unit. Let's begin with the procedure manuals. The purpose of procedure manual is to explain how a process is intended to function. Who does what, when, in what sequence, and to what governing standard. It becomes the single source of truth on how the new processes will deliver the ongoing benefits and outcomes.
Keep in mind, the procedures manual could be used in many different locations and the manual enables processes to be used consistently across the company, maybe even worldwide. Procedure manuals should be easy to read, with plenty of white space, provide details, but not be complicated, use a combination of text and diagrams and provide complete end-to-end information for a given procedure. When writing or updating a procedure manual, refer to the original requirements to ensure consistency with the intent of the solution.
But keep in mind, there may be very important processes that occur offline which need to be identified and documented. Your future state process maps should contain some of this information but you'll need to expand on the level of detail to be included in your procedure manual. You will likely need to hold workshops with key stakeholders to obtain the necessary information to populate the procedure manual. A procedures manual will be more detailed compared to any other documentation.
With that being said, you need to write it generically, so that the manual is usable for all intended users. Expect to write several drafts prior to final management approval. Another key set of documentation to be produced is the training materials. The training materials typically focus on how the user will interact with the new prodcut. However, training materials will also be required for new business processes or supporting the introduction of a new project product. How the materials are organized is important as you want the user to be able to quickly absorb the information being presented.
The training materials should be based on the requirements. The training materials will need to be reviewed for content, accuracy and easy-to-follow instructions. Training materials should be easy to read with plenty of white space, be engaging maybe a few demonstrations or sample outputs, provide enough detail and context, use a combination of text and diagrams with specific examples, and finally, detail where additional support can be sourced.
So I guess you're wondering, "What's the difference between training materials and a procedure manual?" Training materials are designed to teach readers something new. They may be self-paced. Readers do the tutorial at their own rate. Or they may be designed for use with a training course. They seldom try to teach everything but provide a basic foundation upon which readers can build their knowledge. Once the products or procedures are learned, the procedure manual is typically used. The key to good training is providing a variety of different ways for the audience to learn.
For example, have them complete pop quizzes to see what information they have retained, create a role play situation, provide a combination of individual and group activities. Have them do something versus just read. Good training materials enable the trainer to engage actively with the audience and enable more information to be retained. As a business analyst, you provide a pivotal role in creating the transition material from the project team owning the product to the business. The documentation you produce enables the business to take ownership of the project products going forward.
You will know when you've done an awesome job when, one day, when they enhance what you have created, a fellow project professional walks up to you and says,"Thank you for the legacy documents you created." There is no better sense of satisfaction than that.
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- Understanding what business analysts do
- Defining business opportunities and objectives
- Identifying stakeholders
- Gathering requirements through observation and brainstorming
- Validating requirements
- Developing project acceptance criteria
- Implementing, testing, and closing your project<br><br>
- The PMI Registered Education Provider logo is a registered mark of the Project Management Institute, Inc.