Designing web and mobile applications is a complex process, which consists of multiple stages. The complexity of the process makes it very easy to make seemingly insignificant mistakes. Unfortunately, those mistakes can have serious consequences, even though they might seem small and unimportant at first – for instance, an unnecessary line of code. In order to minimise the risk of making such deceptively harmless mistakes, it is crucial to create processes and procedures. Below, you will find what the key features of an efficient process are and how we create procedures in Netguru.
The importance of processes and procedures
Some people underestimate the importance of creating processes and procedures, because they think it is just a waste of time. They couldn’t be more wrong. In Netguru, we constantly take advantage of various processes and checklists. We do it for many different reasons – if you’d like to get to know what you can gain by using processes and checklists, see one of our previous posts.
Our everyday working lives can be really stressful and hectic. It is so easy to make a mistake when you work under the pressure of time. You can avoid making those mistakes if you meticulously follow every single step of procedures you’ve established earlier. This is precisely what we do in Netguru. Creating coherent processes and making easy-to-follow checklists offers yet another benefit: it significantly reduces the amount of time you need to complete tasks, which translates into increased efficiency.
Here are the five key features of a good process:
Efficient. A process must be created for a reason. It either needs to prevent mistakes and failures caused by our imperfect human nature, or optimise the tasks we carry out. In other words, it needs to make us work faster or better.
Useful. A process should concern tasks that we carry out frequently or actions that bear significant risks and could potentially lead to serious consequences.
In regular use. A process needs to be followed. Each person that a process is relevant to must know that it exists and should take care to follow it under all circumstances. The people who fail to observe a process need to be given adequate feedback and should immediately receive a link to the relevant process or checklist.
Measurable. Metrics should be in place which would allow to verify whether a process is being followed and to assess the impact the process has on the company’s performance.
Constantly improved. Processes should not be set in stone. Every process needs to be updated and improved as soon as its circumstances change.
How to use processes & checklists: our experience
Keep your checklists up-to-date. Checklists and processes must be easy to update. To allow this, we keep them on a shared Google Drive, which all the company’s employees have access to. For instance, you can have a look at a checklist we follow before kicking off a project.
Always follow your checklists and processes step by step. It’s really easy to think that you’ve remembered to do all the things on a checklist, but then it turns out you were wrong and you’ve forgotten to do something;
Double-check your checklists. We often ask our colleagues to check how we’ve performed a process or procedure and whether we haven’t missed anything important. We also find it useful to go through a checklist together with another team member, for example at a Google Hangout.
Set a benchmark. A procedure must have a point at which you can assume that the checklist or procedure has been completed.
Inform everyone about procedure checklists. Everyone needs to know them and consider them the ultimate source of information about the processes.
Good processes lay the foundations for a company’s success. They allow us to reduce the uncertainty and chaos of our daily working lives. That’s why it is crucial that everyone in the company appreciates how important they are and reacts promptly if the processes aren’t followed carefully or plainly ignored.