Super Users in Action: Documentation

As we discussed in the previous article [1], the Super User role has different dimensions:

In this Article we will discuss maintaining Internal Documentation, which usually is not the most fun task to do. But if basically anyone with the knowledge and patience can do it, why should it be done by the Super User?

There are two main reasons why the Super User should be the one responsible for updating the department's internal documentation:

  1. As we defined before [2], the Super User is the department's process and knowledge specialist [3], with the mission of putting the processes in service of the team. To really have processes serving the people – and not people caught up in non-efficient processes – it is fundamental to assure that people both understand the process they are performing and develop a process-oriented thinking. The way the content is delivered, for example, on onboard training, highly influences the way people will look at their work and cooperate with other departments.
  2. The Super User needs tools to deliver all the knowledge and information about the processes in a way that people will want to use it and will find it easy to use.

Things that the Super User should bear in mind when developing training documentation:

  • Develop one main document that links to all the rest: even if you need to have multiple documents because of different types of information, having a main one that provideses the structure makes it easier for you to maintain the information updated and for the newcomer to find what he/she needs. I usually call this document the “Survival Guide”, since it helps the new employee to “survive” on the first weeks on the new job.
  • Use the “Survival Guide” to develop “process thinking: provide an overview of the macro-process or processes where the person executing this work is inserted. This overview can be a simple diagram of the main steps with colors indicating the responsibilities. If the process is too complex, a view of the process in this employee's perspective can also be included, with more detail only in the tasks he/she executes.
  • Use the process itself as a “table of contents”: if you use the process steps as the chapters of your document/training, the newcomer gets used immediately as to what the process looks like.
  • Refer to any global standard procedure the company may have: Do not duplicate in the training materials content that is already described in the Global documents. Instead, make reference to them. Provide links to all Global procedures written and approved by the Business Process Office that are relevant to your team.
  • Link to everyday work: provide links to any data base or document used in everyday work, and that contains records or operational information that should be maintained. By doing this, you don't need to maintain in the training documentation itself information that may change frequently – you refer to where this information is already kept.

Last, but not least, the Super User should use the “Survival Guide” from the first day a new employee starts in the company. Instead of printing a series of procedures and producing many presentations in PowerPoint, the trainer should use the “Survival Guide” as much as possible. With this, the new employee gets familiar with its structure and will make use of it whenever he/she needs information. This avoids a series of 4 potential problems:

  • Avoids giving too much information at once and with little context: frequently the Global procedures, especially if they describe a macro-process, are too complex for a neophyte, and need to be put in context. The “Survival Guide” gives a clear reference to which procedures are related to each specific activity, as well as a short explanation of what should be taken into account and in which situation to consider this or that document.
  • Avoids limiting the training to only a few procedures: especially in the departments with many procedures, there is the tendency of choosing only some of them for “mandatory reading”, risking that people will ignore all the others. By providing reference to all these procedures, the “Survival Guide” helps people to at least know they are available when needed.
  • Avoids duplicating information: when training is given with a lot of support material, people's tendency is to print them and make their own notes, and then refer to them instead of the standard. This limits the person's in depth knowledge as well as certainty that the information is updated–personal notes are not as complete as the original procedures, and are not kept up to date. Only the Official documents have the most updated information. If, however, the person is trained with a “Survival Guide” which is constantly updated by the Super User and in which everything is written, there will be less duplicated and obsolete information around.

Bibliography

[1] https://www.bptrends.com/super-users-in-action-knowledge-management/

[2] Rizoto-Vidala-Pesoa, L. M. The Super User Role: An Extended Concept, 2018,
BPTrends, https://www.bptrends.com/the-super-user-role-an-extended-concept/

[3] Rizoto-Vidala-Pesoa, L. M., Kuzņecova, O. The Role of the Super User in Achieving Business Process Management Maturity. Information Technology and Management Science. December 2017, vol. 20, pp. 74–78.
https://content.sciendo.com/view/journals/itms/20/1/article-p74.xml ©2017.

[4] Rizoto-Vidala-Pesoa, L. M. The Super User role as a tool to progress in
maturity in Business Process Management–a study case of Cabot Latvia. Master thesis, University of Latvia, 2017. https://dspace.lu.lv/dspace/handle/7/36320

Laila Māra Pesoa

Laila Māra Pesoa is a process and knowledge management expert with a focus on organizational learning and continuous improvement. Having started as CAPM certified by PMI (Project Management Institute) and graduated in Business Administration in lbmec Business School, Laila developed for her final Bachelor's project the Model BPM 6x5 (BPM 6 by 5: a self-assessment model to measure and develop action plans for the company to grow in Maturity in Business Process Management (BPM)). However, her focus has gone beyond structuring the company's processes. By combining concepts of BPM, Knowledge Management, and Project Management, she works to enable the company's growth in Maturity in Business Process Management by developing on people a knowledge-sharing and process-oriented mindset to enable and strengthen a Continuous Improvement culture. This approach has led to the creation of the consulting firm Process-U (Process-u.com). Her Master's studies at the University of Latvia in Strategic management & Leadership concluded with a Master's thesis proposing the use of the Super User role (both process and knowledge specialist) to enable the company's growth in maturity in Business Process Management. Now Laila is an ambassador of the Super User concept, and part of the Leader Board of SunSource (https://www.sunsource.io/), a community dedicated to Super Users and their leaders. This goes hand-in-hand with her experience in systems development. In Cabot Corporation, Laila had a key role in the upgrade of the company's ERP system by supporting testing, progress follow-up, quality control of testing evidence, and improvement of testing scripts master for all company's process areas. Laila has led projects both in non-governmental associations and companies, in Brazil and Latvia, on National, European (Erasmus+ projects), and Global levels. She is fluent in Portuguese, English, Spanish, and Latvian.
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