LeadershipLeanProductivitySix Sigma

How Do You Document Your Processes?

By Ron Pereira Published on May 13th, 2013

Video Based Standard WorkAt Gemba Academy we’re constantly doing our best to “practice what we teach.”

Now, to be honest, we’re far from perfect (who is?) but we’re always trying to find better ways to take care of our customers and develop better products and services.

A Day in the Life at Gemba Academy

Much of our daily work is computer based.

For example, our content development team shoots and edits video using several different programs.

Our website development teams uses several different systems and programs in order to do what they do.

And our sales and customer service teams use many different systems and software to do their daily work.

Documenting our Processes

And even though our team is in constant contact via daily “virtual morning meetings” and through cloud based systems like Basecamp and Highrise, documenting our work so others could do what we do (if needed) isn’t easy.

We’ve created written procedures which have been helpful… but, honestly, a 29-step thesis for how to render a high definition video isn’t all that fun to create or follow.

Video Based Standard Work

So, we’ve started to document many of our important computer based processes with screen capture video.

In other words, we plug a microphone into our computers and use programs like Quicktime and Camtasia to record our screens as we do the work.

As a result of this just about anyone could sit down and watch these “tutorials” and do the work.

Now, to be fair, some of the videos – like the highly technical ones our website folks produce – do require some prior knowledge.

In other words, a knucklehead like me, who can barely spell HTML, wouldn’t be able to watch all of the videos and immediately “get it.” But someone experienced in this sort of work most definitely could watch these videos and make immediate sense out of the information.

What about you?

So, I’m curious to hear what you think about the concept of “video based” procedures. Have you ever created a screen capture video explaining how to do a computer based activity?

Or perhaps you work in an environment that allows you to shoot a traditional video with a camera… if this is the case have you ever done this in order to document your processes?  If so, how did it go?

  1. Brad Soto

    May 13, 2013 - 8:41 am

    Yes. We started doing videos in the shop about a year ago. It was quite hard in the beginning as we didn’t know basic things like the importance of a tri-pod. But now that we know more and have a nice internal portal that allows us to share these videos they have been a big step forward especially when it comes to training new team members.

    • Ron Pereira

      May 13, 2013 - 8:52 am

      Thanks for the comment, Brad.

      And, yes, shaky video can be hard to watch! I once made a relative vomit (literally) by making her watch a recording of my daughter’s soccer game!

      My then 8-year-old, who was running the camera, hadn’t quite grasped the idea of moving the camera slowly and smoothly! 🙂

  2. Shelly Lewis

    May 13, 2013 - 10:39 am

    I think there is a need for both. SW docs are best used as an auditing tool. A supervisor can walk up to the cell and observe if the work is being done to the agreed standards.

    But where video is far superior is training. Most people learn much better from a 45 second video than they can from reading written instructions. That’s why Youtube videos are so sought after when you’re trying to learn how to do something.

  3. Chris

    May 13, 2013 - 12:49 pm

    We use openoffice draw program and create rudimentary flowcharts. They have worked great for training multiple different people on fairly complex processes.

    • Ron Pereira

      May 13, 2013 - 3:08 pm

      Thanks for the comment, Chris. I haven’t experimented with the OpenOffice apps… but have heard really good things about them. Thanks for the tip!

  4. Marty Yuzwa

    May 13, 2013 - 3:07 pm

    We have started using Adobe Captivate for our screen shot training. I like this because it has the capability of building in quizes.

    • Ron Pereira

      May 13, 2013 - 3:10 pm

      Thanks for the comment, Marty. We are BIG Adobe fans so perhaps we’ll also look into Captivate as well.

  5. Phil Posey

    May 14, 2013 - 7:21 pm

    While video is an excellent tool to see what is actually happening, Good documentation is a necessity to know the standard. I use Standardized work charts, Combination Tables and Flow Charts.

  6. Scott Ferguson

    May 15, 2013 - 12:52 am

    I’m curious if any of you who do use video for your processes have them integrated into a BPMS (Business Process Management Suite)? And have any peculiar issues arisen around process governance by using video?

  7. Robert Drescher

    May 16, 2013 - 12:10 pm

    Hi Ron

    I think that there are many places were you would get better results using video for standard work instructions, as written words can be misunderstood very easily, yet if people can actually see what they have to do there is zero room for misunderstanding. It does take having the skill to either create the video yourself or the willingness to find people who can do it for you, and lastly it would require have systems to display the information in work areas. I have actually seen it used in a component assembly plant, in their opinion it worked faster and better than written instruction. There is one factor that in some extreme environments it will not work, the display system just cannot handle them.

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