Whether you run a traditional bricks and mortar business or an outsource focused web-based business, one of the biggest challenges we face is documenting the process and procedures needed to run the business.
So much intellectual property inevitably gets stored in the individual teams heads…. which not only results in you keeping an ineffective employee on the payroll because they ‘know too much’… but what happens when a new member joins the team and needs to learn the processes and procedures? Someone inevitably has to take time away from ‘bottom line value’ tasks to walk the newbie through typically ‘basic’ processes.
No matter how big or small your business is you will be faced with this problem on some level.
David Jenyns (The other guy who sold the MCG) gave me one of the most impactful pieces of advice I’ve received this year. See Dave runs some very successful internet-based info-marketing businesses and has implemented an office wiki of sorts to combat this problem. We’ve since implemented these in all my offices/teams and the results have been beyond my expectations.
Unlike a ‘traditional wiki’ where everyone chips in and contributes to the entire documentation, we’ve encouraged every team member to create short ‘screen capture videos’ covering each of the individual tasks/processes/procedures that make up a persons role.
These videos cover everything from ‘how to create a new proposal’ to ‘how to set up an email account for a new team member’ and even ‘how to change a products price in our various online stores’
So not only does this mean that all the ‘procedural IP’ is now stored, backed up and out of the teams heads… but as the team grows people can learn from (and always refer back to) the office wiki. People learn so much better by simply watching what needs to be done, as opposed to reading and interpreting from a dry procedures manual. And as we grow our interstate offices (or outsource more), we can simply send links to the videos stored on our intranet to those team-members.
Plus this style of office-wiki is cheaper, faster and easier to create then traditional procedure manual – we simply got each person to list all the ‘tasks’ they go through on a given week, and then ‘the next time’ they preformed one of those tasks they put on their headphones, hit record and captured a video of them performing. It was that simple.
We might even throw a little Infiniti-Emmy party.
And just for kicks, here is the Wikipedia definition of a Corporate Wiki:
“A corporate wiki is a wiki used in a corporate (or organisational) context, especially to enhance internal knowledge sharing. Wikis are increasingly used internally by companies and public sector organizations, some as prominent as Adobe Systems, Intel, Microsoft and the FBI. Depending on the size of a corporation, they may add to or replace centrally-managed content management systems. Their decentralised nature allows them, in theory, to disseminate needed information across an organization faster and cheaper than a centrally controlled knowledge repository”