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How To Document Work In Your Organization

Evaluating organizational opportunities involves workflow assessment and how it contributes to the organization’s value proposition. Over many years of working with clients, we have developed a standard method to document work in any organization. We find this approach can be used to define any environment and provide a good foundation for assessing how the organization fulfills its mission, vision, and value proposition. Summarized following is a systematic and efficient method to document work in your organization.


Define the Scope of the Enterprise.

The Enterprise contains all of the work activities necessary to deliver its mission, vision and value proposition. In a larger organization such as a public company, the Enterprise is typically a division profit center. In a smaller organization, it is typically the only (or at least primary) profit center.

The Enterprise Diagram identifies the Business Systems contained in the Enterprise and the primary inputs, outputs and purpose of each Business System.



Determine the Business Systems that Deliver the Business Model.

Business Systems are the primary functions that make up the Business Model. They are typically known by names such as Procurement, Human Resources and Finance. We have found that twelve standard business systems can be used to define any organization regardless of size, shape, or industry. The breadth and depth of each business system may vary by situation, but the fundamental purpose remains largely the same. The twelve standard Enterprise Business Systems include Sales and Marketing, Product Development, Operations, Procurement, Customer Service, Finance, Equipment, Facilities, Human Resources, Information Technology, Enterprise and Improvement.

The Business System Diagram identifies Business Processes, Process Owners, Process Purpose, Primary Suppliers and Inputs, Primary Customer and Outputs, and Process Connectivity.  Because the BSD connects interrelated processes, it provides a useful visual model for workflow connectivity that identifies cause-and-effect relationships impacting Business System performance.



Identify the Business Processes that Power each Business System.

A Business Process is a series of activities that receives a product or service (the input) from a supplier, adds value to that product or service through a transformation (the process), and then delivers a different product or service of more value (the output) to a customer. A collection of Business Processes connects to deliver the value proposition of a Business System.

A Business Process is documented through a Process Map, which creates a visual model of the activities taking place within a process.



Document the Tasks that Form each Business Process.

Tasks represent a series of actions, events, and decisions that combine to transform a supplied input into a delivered output the customer values. Tasks access organization knowledge, which includes a wide variety of content, such as work instructions, records, data, policies, standards, training, metrics, bills of materials, specifications, regulatory requirements and patents. By correctly locating knowledge sources and uses, an organization can better manage its knowledge and place it where it adds the most value.

Tasks (and their utilization of knowledge) are traditionally documented through Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) in the form of work instructions, operational definitions and other valuable explanatory narrative.



Document Work in Your Organization.

By defining responsibilities through documented work that must be efficiently and effectively delivered, instead of the hierarchical reporting relationships typically found on organization charts, the organization is in a far stronger position to improve performance and better meet customer expectations. While improving a task is generally good, improving a business process will yield more benefit, and improving an overall business system will give even far greater value and benefit to the organization. Sustainable improvement requires documenting workflow and then addressing the many improvement opportunities that surface during the documentation effort.


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