In this video, I talk about how you can document processes and SOPs in Use our ClickUp affiliate link!, in a way that’s flexible enough for a small team…while actually lightening the load on the managers or owners.
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Note: While I’ll be using ClickUp as an example here, this lesson could be applied to various software tools.
4:54 Here’s how I build this out in ClickUp.
5:57 What your wiki (library) might look like in ClickUp Docs versus a dedicated Knowledge Base software.
7:30 Yes, you can search ClickUp Docs.
7:57 Daily Tools are the second category…but might be an even easier place to start. I’ll give an example here of how you can use ClickUp task templates to define your process.
10:55 Load a template on an existing ClickUp task to “train” your employees with clear work instructions that you can recycle.
Hi everybody, Layla here back with another video, this time talking about standard operating procedures, I just recently posted a question out in my Facebook group, which, by the way, if you haven’t joined, join, and we were talking about kind of what people want to work on in their business. And the number one thing was I want to document things. I want to document the way my business runs. So that way I can delegate it or hire more people or just feel less stressed on a day to day basis.
So the way to do that is to put that documentation, that knowledge, that process somewhere that is not your brain. So the next logical question is where do you document? And so I want to make this video because I anticipate I’m going to get a lot of that question as we start talking more about this in the group. And, you know, the default assumption, which I blame on the old policy and procedures binder’s the days of old.
Blame it on that. The default assumption is that SOPs, documentation, should be in a document. It should be in Google Docs, it should be in Microsoft Word, it should be in Dropbox paper. You should be writing long form content with your instructions of one two three, all of the steps involved in every single thing. And it should be this big binder, this printed thing that needs to sit somewhere on your desk like a trophy to say, yes, you’ve documented.
Here’s the problem with that.
Well, actually, let me start with the positives. The nice thing about this idea is it does centralize everything. It gets all the information out of your head. It checks so many of the boxes for what I believe is best practice for documentation. My issue with it is not that it’s fundamentally bad, that’s why so many people recommend writing things down. It is at its core a good idea and gurus are recommending it widely for that reason. However, I think it falls short on usability because as someone who’s been in business, you’ve probably worked jobs before where you’ve had a policy binder.
Have you read it? Have you really read it? And if you have. Have you remembered it and retained that information for all the days to come? Yeah, probably not. It’s like when you get instructions manual with a new something new widget you just bought online, you got the instructions manual, you open it. You skim it really quickly and then you just do your thing. If you get stuck, if you can’t find which screw goes into which hole, then maybe you open the owner’s manual again. But otherwise, that manual was a one time reference and then it goes sits on the shelf or in the filing cabinet.
The same thing is true for binders or policy binders or SOP packets. The problem with having policies and procedures grouped together is that they’re very easy for you to produce because it’s all in one place. But it’s not easy for people to use because the information is not where the people are. It’s the information is here. People are working here. You know, people aren’t generally incentivized to look for policies. No one’s excited like, oh, let me check the procedure on that.
No. So we need to make it easier. If you want to have a library, a place where people go when they have a question that is fantastic, but that’s not the same as being proactive and having those daily tools that guide daily behaviors. If you want something that people are referencing and using as a rule book or as a as a shortcut on day to day use, your information needs to be where they are on a day to day.
So let me take a second here and break down what I mean by those two. I’ve talked about daily tools and libraries. I’ve been talking about this concept for a while, but I don’t think I have on this channel. So let’s dive in.
Library information. Reference information is like that owner’s manual, that really thick textbook, that policy and procedures manual perhaps, where it’s something where people can go when they really need answers. It’s the Wikipedia of your business.
It’s really deep. It’s really broad. And it’s not maybe super easy to just read through in one sitting. It’s something that they search when they have a question. Things that might be more of a library piece of content for a small business is things like our brand values. It’s probably not going to be everywhere, although it probably could be. You might want to have that centralized in that library. Style guide might be something that should be in the library.
FAQs are great to have in the library. Things like these are what clients frequently ask us or brand personas in the library, things that people don’t really need to use on a day to day. But they need to have fresh and accessible when they need them – library.
Then there’s this other area, you know, in the library we might have our theoretical maybe you sell sell flooring, explaining what flooring is, would go in the library. Stuff that you would have on the first week of training, lives in the library because you can kind of force people through that at the beginning. But once someone’s in your world and once they’re working for you, once they’re part of your team, they need this whole other class of tools, which is called the quick reference stuff.
So I’m here in ClickUp right now, and I want to give you a demonstration of what the difference between these two spaces are. What I love about ClickUp, and if you’re not familiar with it, ClickUp right here is ClickUp.com ClickUp is a task management tool. And basically it helps you keep track of all your to dos both personally and professionally and for your team and for your organization. It’s a really sophisticated tool built in with dashboards, help you make those kind of data driven decisions on who should be doing what and how it’s workload and capacity really ideal for small to medium sized teams. And I’m talking, you know, zero to fifty people teams when you get larger might be a little too simple for you. But nonetheless, I’m inside ClickUp right now. And why I like it for small teams is it has two essential components that make it very valuable for both a library and those daily tools.
So right now I am in something called their docs view. I get to it by creating a docs view, not going to give you a ClickUp tutorial here, but just to give you the basics, and I might call this my team wiki.
If I can spell. In this team wiki, I am able to create pages which might be different sections of my library, what is what, a flooring company.
What is flooring? So I don’t know much about flooring, so let’s hope you have to be too many examples in there, culture, values. I mean, we can have a lot of other sections, admin and H.R. basics, how to get time off.
I can’t spell today, product. You know, there’s so much stuff that we might want to have in our library that people aren’t going to be referencing a lot, but, we want to have in here, so that’s accessible.
This wiki is something that you can build out in here. It’s a very Google Docs like interface and it basically allows you to have that place that when you’re talking to people and they’re maybe they’re new to the company or maybe they just need a refresher and they’re asking you, hey, boss, I know you said we had a competitor in Delaware. Who was it again? And you can say, I’m not going to answer that.
Just look at look in the wiki, it’s there. Making them look for their own information. They can log in here, they say, oh, I see it now. And you have that library of reference material to reference for that information that’s always the same and isn’t something that people need to access every single day.
This is an example really easily on a free tool of how to create a team wiki. That’s it’s that simple. Everything I gave here as an example is stuff that does not change frequently. That is not something they need in front of them on a day to day. It’s just something you need to be able to reference, just like you check a book out of the library.
OK, let’s say we’re the second tool. And oh, I should point out there is a search here. So if you’re looking for certain things or we see that we’re competitors has the word see in it. Right. So there’s that search ability, just like you’d want for an internal wiki without having to get a separate tool like Help Scout, etc., to actually formalize that.
So let’s move on. Daily tools are the other category of awesome for your business, and honestly, I think they’re going to be way more impactful than the traditional documentation you might be thinking of. Daily tools look something like this. Here we are, this is a web designer and they’re designing a bunch of different Web pages and every Web page follows a set process. Here we go. It looks like this. They wireframe the content, they gather the assets, they build the wireframe, draft the page, whatever.
It is not a Web designer made this up. Actually, this this one seems a little ridiculous. So they’ve got this set process and every process, it has additional information. What we have here is a step by step interactive checklist that provides a template for our team for how to do this activity. So me as the manager, I came in here and I said, all right, this is how we do Web designs. We’ve got the about page.
When we wireframe the content, I notice that people always forget. They always forget wireframe checklist. They always forget to remember the footer. I don’t know what else it would be. Remember the footer, and don’t forget to tell your supervisor. Again making things up here. But I’m able to add information here. This is very important. Check Google.Com for more information. And so on. You can get really fancy. They won’t let me embed Google, you know what I’m saying, though, you can embed things, you can add gifs, you can get a whole bunch of fun information to help you organize this, this task.
And then next week when you need to do the exact same task again, what we do is we save this. We move my head. We save this as a template. Conveniently, I already have it, a template called creating any Web page. All of these steps, me as the manager or me as the owner or me as the entrepeneur, I took the time to write down exactly how to do it. And rather than putting it in a binder, rather than putting it in a document, someone has to find or print or they print it out and they check it off by hand because there’s no other way to interact with it.
I create this, which allows them to go through and say, you know, where things are in the process. Allow them to actually interact with my checklist in here, so that they can go through every step of the journey. And it’s all logged over here in the updates. But here’s where it gets really cool. Say, I have my assistant, my assistant, John is coming in here and I say, John, hey, I know you don’t normally do this, but I really need you to create a Web page.
It’s called, you know, it’s a Web page called How to make a Web Page.
We’re going to do it as a blog or something, as an example, how to actually have an automation here. Let’s go to another page. If a supporting page, we’re going to call it how to make a webpage. John, could you make that?
And he says, sure, sure, I can make that how to make a webpage creates it and that’s it.
John, can you just finish it for me? And I’ll say what? I’ve never done that before. Don’t worry, John. Go into the task and just look for the template. You say what load from template. We look in here and all of a sudden my business, we’ve got such a clear operating procedure that we’ve got a task or task template called creating any web page. Comes up, so, OK, John’s in here, confused, he clicks load template.
Oh, all of a sudden, John, who’s never built a website for the company before, but he’s in this web design company, able to go in here and say, OK, so all I have to do is remember the footer. You know, again, these instructions aren’t the best, but we could have very detailed instructions here that would allow anybody to pick up a piece of the business and start executing. What this does is it reduces the friction to complete each task.
So that one’s complete. It reduces the difficulty which allows you to have more people be able to do more things. You’re also able to then maybe outsource or delegate, hire a VA, divvy out some tasks, get them off your plate and outsource. But all this is is creating tasks and templating them. No more with the big policy binders, no more with having to worry about sharing when you print it out and put it on the conference room table, no more worrying about different versions of word doc templates you have saved on the end drive.
Instead, you’ve got this interactive templates that anyone can access anyone in the company. Of course, you can change some of that, but anyone in the company can say, Oh, I really need to make a shirt. What’s make a shirt process? Go ahead. And you load that into the task and they’re able to perform. You can add details and details. Each one of these, which this is a plug for ClickUp, but there’s tons of other tools we can add endless amounts of information, including images and code blocks and all these other things to help us.
I mean, you can even embed a video like this explaining how to do the task, but we can add a lot of stuff to make sure that our people are feeling prepared to do any task that they need to do without having to ask you every step of the way, well, how do I do this? How do I do that? Trying to pull that out of your head one by one instead. Take, take a second, sit down, write it.
So those are the two categories. I’ve got these daily tools, these pieces here which are in ClickUp here containing tasks, subtasks and checklists. And then there’s also the library. Both of them are important. Both of those have a place, but they are different and separate. And both, when you combine them, replace the need for that clunky policy binder. They replace the need to have to publish things.
I mean, you’ll see, maybe you’ve checked my social media. If you haven’t, this is your chance. Get your phone, open it up, open Instagram, open LinkedIn, open YouTube, Facebook, wherever. Go to ProcessDriven.co and and find me. But I have an image on there and illustration I did where it’s a picture of a person throwing a policy manual into a fire.
And that’s really the goal of this because you don’t need the 15 pound policy binder anymore that no one looks at. It’s not doing any good. It was updated in 2004. Let’s let’s let’s get with the times here and let’s start getting things digital, make them accessible, make them editable, or at least, you know, in here, maybe this isn’t editable. Maybe we just want to have all this information protected. So that way no one accidentally deletes things.
Or maybe we have a link we embed here. We embed a form where people can submit feedback if they need a suggestion, there’s just so many ways we can take the old policy binder and make it fresh, make it interesting, make it most importantly useful.
And that’s kind of sort of hoping to impart in this video. So back to the original question, just to wrap us up here, should your SOPs, should your standard operating procedures be in a document? Probably not.
So that’s it for this video. Thanks so much for watching. If you haven’t already hit the subscribe button, if you haven’t seen a thing popping up on the bottom here, I also have a Facebook group where we can talk, you and me, just like let’s chit chat about some of the stuff when I’m recording these videos live.
Join that Facebook group on Facebook and be sure to stay tuned for more videos. Thanks so much for watching and have a great rest your day.
Layla is a Vetted ClickUp Consultant who helps growing teams define their business workflows and translate them into a business instruction manual inside ClickUp. She spends most of her days teaching ClickUp, creating content, and providing unlimited feedback within the ProcessDriven Membership. The rest of the time? She's focused on creating value over on her YouTube Channel and free Facebook Group.