Managing business systems is a constant and challenging task. Your business will have all kinds of obstacles thrown at it, meaning that even normally standard tasks can change. Learning how to systemise non-standard work could be the key to keeping your business successful and growing.
Getting your processes right is sometimes as simple as making up a quick checklist for a simple task. But often tasks will vary from their normal process, or become quite complex in unexpected ways. It can be tricky to figure out how to create a system that allows work to keep flowing, regardless of changing circumstances.
“It’s not what we do once in a while that shapes our lives, but what we do consistently.” Tony Robbins
This is especially true if you’ve got a team working remotely. They must be really clear on how to do the work they need to do, even when things vary. Especially if the task is more complex or creative. Communication is super important. 44% of remote workers say that problems in communication affect their employee/manager relationships, and thus affect their work.
Managing business systems should be core to your business, even with non-standard tasks. So let’s look at ways to help with Physical, Complex, Creative, and Expert tasks.
The first area of business you need to be clear on is the physical tasks not done on a computer. Managing business systems that are not directly tied to the network throws up a whole different area of challenge. So what can you do?
Buy a GoPro!
Now standardising these tasks can be made a whole lot easier behind your GoPro camera. If you’re physically out about doing the work, use a GoPro camera to record yourself doing the work. Then you’ll be able to go back and write up the steps or the guidelines, literally by watching through it.
Another thing you can do here is work with a buddy to write up what you do. Simply, sometimes you can’t see the forest for the trees. Have someone observe and help you break down each of the steps needed to complete the task. This will be helpful when it comes to communicating your expectations to people who aren’t working under your direct supervision.
It can be hard to document and systemise complex tasks well. These are tasks that are not as simply stepped as one, two, or three. Even so, you can manage them, you just have to take a larger view.
Map the Process
You will need to map the entire process with your team. Pull the team together to ask what each person does in the target task. How do they do what they do? Map it out, and see where there are variations that may create pathways in a different map. Seeing the start and the goal and mapping between them is the first step before digging down into individual tasks.
Break into Sections
Processes, no matter how complicated, are always easier to understand by breaking them into sections. They may be tricky and intricate. So use the map you have made to see how you can break it down into sections. Maybe into a series of smaller, connected tasks. This way you’ve got a subset of instructions for each component of that main task.
Creative tasks can be done in various ways. These sorts of tasks can hold a lot of people up, but you can still systemise these tasks with clear guidelines and communication processes.
Manage the Work Itself
The important thing to remember with creative work, you don’t need to standardise the creative product, instead, you should standardise the process. What are the milestones that need to be completed? How will people communicate how they’re going with achieving those milestones?
Rules for Project Management and Tools
Writing up the rules for the project and its tools will help you understand the progress of creative tasks. Again, you won’t be standardising the product. But the tools required to complete the outcome can be documented. This way the tools can be used efficiently and effectively by the person doing that creative work.
Now, these are the ones you don’t know how to do yourself. So you have to bring in an expert, such as a website developer, or a graphic designer.
Document the steps
You should get the expert’s help to document the key steps required to do the work. Ask them once they’ve finished the job, how they did it. Get them to show you how they’ve gone ahead and achieved that goal so you’ve got those records in future. You can standardise that process and use it for future comparison.
Write up the instructions
You can write up the instructions and give those steps to the people working on these tasks in the future. Ask them for improvements or corrections. This way you’ve got a set of really clear instructions able to be followed by someone else. This simply allows you to manage your business a little bit more carefully. So you can speak the same language and guide projects through to completion.
There are a lot of routine tasks that can’t simply be recorded in a stock standard video or operating procedure. So many things that we do in business every day are out of the box and need to be customised. Documenting your expectations can help with managing your business systems, and literally, make the difference between success and failure.