The other day, I was looking back over some old posts. I found my Hit By A Bus list article, and it got me thinking. As I prepared to leave Coast Hills a few months ago, I started documenting as many procedures as I could. As my former ATD had recently left, I knew my new ATD was going to be drinking from a fire hose the first few weeks. To make life easier for him and our volunteers, I started writing down how to do common tasks.
A Clarify-ing Moment
Some time ago, I came across a program called Clarify. It’s a single-purpose tool designed to make step-by-step documentation. It uses a combination of screen grabs and text to create the document. While I could have created the documents in Pages, Word or almost anything else, Clarify has the advantage of being a step-based program. It forced me to think about the steps I went through for a given task.
For example, here’s an example from our procedure for setting up the M-48s. You can download the PDF at the end of the article.
I tweaked the format a bit to match our logo. I like it because it really does walk you through the process step by step.
Many Procedures, Many Documents
I built procedure documents for all kinds of things: The process for creating lower thirds for our video switcher, for example. We have procedures for setting up Reaper, editing and uploading the podcast, even editing the video in FCPX. All are broken out in simple, small steps that anyone with a moderate amount of technical skill can do.
I complied all these documents in a 3-ring binder that lives in the tech booth. I told Matt when I left, “If you have a question about how to do anything, look in the procedure book first. If you can’t find it, call me.” So far, he hasn’t called. So I guess it worked.
You Shouldn’t Take It With You
I think a lot of guys want to keep this kind of knowledge a secret, believing it gives them some job security. While that may be, it’s the wrong mindset. We’re here to build the Kingdom of God, not our own. We shouldn’t hide this knowledge under a bucket. We need to share it with our team, if for no other reason that you should take a weekend off once in a while.
Now, I know you’re going to ask, “Mike, can you post all your procedure documents?” The answer is, “Probably not.” That may seem in contrast to what I just said, but here’s why. Procedures are very specific. I’ve developed these process based on our systems, goals, and equipment. Some of it may be transferrable, but much is not. If you want to know how I’m doing these, look at the Patching M-48 document. All the rest of them follow the same format. Simply break a procedure down into steps and load it up with images. You can then sit back and watch the magic of other people doing your job.