Quality business processes are always the result of diligence not only creating those processes, but recording them, and testing that those records work. Have you thought much about the best ways to test your business processes?
You must develop quality business processes. When you’re working remotely, your team relies on you to develop concrete documented instructions. This helps to bridge the remote communication gap in the workplace. 59% of workers agree that having communication written down is the most important part of success when working remotely.
“Manage the cause, not the result.” W.E Deming
What this tells you as the business owner, is having remote staff documenting steps to work is an absolute priority. It’s not something you can put off. This is something that you need to do to elevate the performance of your team.
If you’ve found yourself feeling frustrated and saying, “I’ve got processes in place, but people still keep making mistakes, they are still coming to me for help!” Then this one’s for you.
What Do I Do?
To begin write up the steps yourself. You could create an instruction video, as long as the steps are recorded in some way. Then get a friend or a work colleague to see if those steps work. Preferably ask someone in your team you trust to push the edges. Someone who knows enough about the workplace to stress test your process. To see if your steps make sense.
Testing, Testing, Testing!
Creating quality business processes is all about testing the steps you’ve created. Testing is important, as your instructions are unlikely to work perfectly the first time around. It’s one thing to write up the steps you do, but entirely another to get them working for someone else. You need to run your steps in the day to day stress of your business. Honestly, your instructions are unlikely to work perfectly the first time around. Your first draft is not going to be your final draft.
Mind the Gap
You also need to test to find the gaps. This is the whole point of the testing phase. When you know the process back to front some things may seem quite obvious to you. The truth is though when you are crafting a set of instructions you will make assumptions. This assumed knowledge may not be universal. Filling those gaps is likely to be essential for someone else to be able to follow the process at all.
No Offence Intended
Remember, you’ve not set up your process tester to fail. You are testing it with someone you trust to see what is missing. Your intention was never to make them look bad. Likewise, they don’t want to make you look bad. The whole point of your testing is to find what’s missing. This is how you learn and build quality business processes. So make sure you don’t let offence creep in when you’re doing the testing. Just remember how important the testing is.
Ask some Questions
Once the tester has completed the process on their own, without help, regroup. You should ask several questions. You could write these questions down, or you could just have a quick meeting:
“Were the steps clear and easy to follow?”
“Were there any parts you needed to work out yourself because the steps weren’t written down”
“Do you think you completed the task properly?”
“How could the instructions have been made better?”
These questions clarify exactly what you need to make quality business processes consistently. Genuinely listen to the feedback here. This will allow you to step outside yourself, and you’ll see what the user experience was like.
So go ahead and write up your steps, and keep testing them! This is the most important step for this part of your business and will allow your team to keep growing your business.