March 28, 2021
After you're done reading this post, I'll have you loving and even looking forward to creating documentation. ?
My Journey Building Teams
The first time this came into play for me was many years ago, back in 2008-09 when I first started outsourcing work to teams outside the U.S. I was a niche marketer, getting help with content and other efforts around hundreds of niche websites.
But one of the critical things I did was create step-by-step documentation and build processes that were easy to follow. That made my team much more efficient and effective. It was like packing an extra pair of socks for a hiking trip – you might not need them, but boy, are you glad to have them when you do!
Consistency in Building WordPress Themes
Fast forward a few years to around 2016'ish, and I was hiring a team to design and develop WordPress themes for a WordPress Marketplace. I wanted us to build themes that were consistent in structure and build. Following a tight process ensured that final products would be easier to maintain and care for over the years. (I was right, btw ?).
I created dozens of documents and SOPs, project and TODO templates so they could work their way through our processes step by step. As I grew the team, it was easy to onboard and get new people started because we had these documents and references that all tied into and integrated together. It helped keep things on track long term.
Forward Thinking – Preparing for Growth
Fast forward to the present, and we've grown to a robust team of 10 at Unified Web Design, LLC, including Designers, Developers, Marketing, SEO specialists, and even a Project Manager. Through this process of expansion, I've been building out more and more documentation, gradually adding more as responsibilities shift and our team evolves.
But listen, the documentation isn't just for my existing team. We build documentation so we only have to teach people once. It's like a roadmap for success, guiding each team member through their role. In the case of my Virtual Assistant ?, we built documentation around a wide variety of things she's doing for me right now.
As my business grows, I may hire someone dedicated to one of those tasks, and my VA will simply move on to other things. With a Project Manager now on board and a well-documented process in place, we're prepared for the future, ensuring that our current team and any new additions hit the ground running!
Documenting Everything Means Time Savings
There is no doubt a time sink upfront. And it's difficult to do before you have a team. But the extra time is going to pay huge dividends going forward! I joke with my new hires because they are actually helping motivate me to create documentation; their value lies there too!
So You Sold Yet?
But do I have to do it? I imagine this is a question on a lot of people's minds. If your situation allows it, investing in someone to write your documentation for you is a viable option. Another trick is to write initial documentation and then give it to your team to maintain it. I do that. I'll eventually give them the keys and encourage them to keep it up to date and create new documentation if it helps them.
Regardless, if you have your sights on the future and want to grow your business, documentation is going to play a critical role. You can't expect to start from scratch with every new hire, AND it allows you to build processes and a ‘way to do things' that is consistent across your organization!
Other Helpful Articles:
- Navigating Team Success: The Crucial Role of Effective Project Management - November 25, 2023
- Strategic Documentation Practices: Building and Upholding Comprehensive Team Resources - November 11, 2023
- Optimizing Workflows: Essential Tools and Technologies for Team Collaboration - October 28, 2023