Doing it Yourself (again)

Ministry of Information Photo Division Photographer [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Ministry of Information Photo Division Photographer [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Here’s a quick way to get some of your core Business Activities out of your head and documented so that other people can run them instead of you:

  • Get the person who is going to run the Business Activity to help you.

  • You talk through what happens, they write notes.

  • They have a go at actually doing it, following their notes.

  • You observe them doing it, and make notes. Remember, they are following your version of events. If it isn’t right, its because you haven’t captured it correctly yet.

  • Afterwards, between you, modify the written instructions to get the results you want:

    • You clarify how it really works (not how you think it works).

    • They suggest ways to make it easier for them to do, or better for your customers.

  • They write up the improved version.

  • Repeat until you have an Business Activity that can be reliably replicated by anyone who needs to.

Some key principles to keep in mind:

  • Assume competence. The aim is to communicate what needs to happen, not how to do it.

  • If it feels like you're trying to fit too much in, you probably are.

  • If your Business Activity is working on more than one thing, it’s more than one Business Activity.

  • It's not a novel, it’s a sketch. If you need to capture the how, put it somewhere else and refer to it. This keeps the Business Activity clear and uncluttered, making it easy to follow or learn from. Plus you won’t need to rewrite it when you find a better way to do it.

  • The quicker you test your new Business Activity, the quicker you can improve it.

  • Practice makes perfect.

It should only take 2 or 3 cycles to get something good enough.

Have a go, you’ll be surprised how much it helps to get this stuff out of your head. And how much it helps the people you work with to write down their own score.