I’ve been reading a lot about documenting and improving systems and procedures in your business. I am in the process of improving the systems at Endo Creative to help streamline support requests, complete projects more efficiently, and keep tasks from falling through the cracks.
Growing the Team
As the business has grown I’ve been faced with a decision. Stay small and turn away work, or hire someone and learn how to scale the business. In March I decided after four and half years on my own it was time to hire. I found Tim, a smart, hard working developer in Fort Collins and brought him on part time as junior developer.
Bringing Tim onto the Endo Creative team has forced me to get my systems and procedures out of my head and onto paper. I do not want to be the bottle neck in our efficiency.
Write Everything Down
This has not come without growing pains. Many tasks that I’ve always taken care of are now taking longer as I bring Tim up to speed on the processes I use. Each time a new procedure comes up, I force myself to stop and write down the steps involved. Short term, this increases the time to complete tasks. Long term, however, the documentation will pay dividends in less time wasted and more consistent service.
Some of the procedures that have been documented over the past few months include: Getting a theme or plugin on version control, Setting up a project for deployment on Beanstalk, and How to handle support requests.
I created a “living” procedures document using a shared Dropbox folder and a basic text file. Everytime I come across a procedure I need to get out of my head and onto paper, I open up the file and either add it to the bottom. Sometimes I edit an existing procedure to be more efficient based on feedback from Tim and real world use. Once saved, the updated document syncs in Dropbox and Tim always has the most recent version.
I have been working on this for the last three months and have already documented over 15 procedures that a short time ago lived only in my head. Productivity has already increased for both Tim and I because we have a system in place for many of our common tasks. If either one of us forgets a step in a process, we can quickly refer back to the procedure document and then continue on with our work.