Create clarity by defining your core processes

As your company grows, it becomes more and more important to document and structure parts of it. Focussing your efforts and doing things in a predictable, repeatable way makes you more efficient, and more effective.

A big part of this is documenting your core processes.

Why you should document your core processes

Documenting your core processes has two important benefits.

Having a handful of processes that are followed by everyone ensures efficiency, and removes friction. When you lock down the basics, the time and effort that used to go to the coordination of those basics can now go into more important, higher level problem solving. And because everyone follows the same process, there’s less room for costly communication errors.

Having your processes written down also makes it easier to onboard new people. Instead of trying to download your knowledge into a new colleague in time-intensive one-on-ones, you’ll have the most important info to get them up to speed all written down, ready to go. Now, time can be spent on finessing their understanding of your processes, rather than getting them up to speed.

Three simple steps to document your core processes

So what is a good way to document these processes? How much detail do you include?

I like to use the method below. I have adopted it from the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS) as described in the books Traction and Get A Grip by Gino Wickman. EOS is a comprehensive, practical system for managing SMB’s. In my experience, it lends itself extremely well to the light management style preferred by many videogame companies.

1. Identify

The first step is to agree with your team on what the core processes in your company are. You want to get a broad perspective here to ensure you’re not leaving anything important out. Try not to get into the details to much yet, and focus on identifying the 6-10 high level processes that drive your company.

These processes will differ per company, but you’ll likely end up with at least a few of the processes below:

  • Development process
  • Marketing/Sales process
  • Finance process
  • HR process
  • Operations process
  • Customer support process

In addition, you will probably have to add some that may be unique to your company or company type. For example, if you work with outsourcing companies, it may be helpful to define the outsourcing process. Or if you’re a publisher, you’ll want to include the process for scouting and signing new titles and partners.

2. Document

With the list of core processes agreed upon, it’s time to define their contents. Don’t worry, it’s not necessary to write down every little detail. You want to document the 20% of the process that drives 80% of the output. This way, it should be possible to summarize the main steps for each process in one page.

3. Collect and share

Finally, collect the pages for each process in a short manual, or make them part of your employee manual if you have one. Make this document easily available to your employees (something like Notion is great for this), and emphasize that the processes should be followed by all.

With your core processes defined, documented and followed by all, you’re taking the guesswork out of a big portion of the work happening in your company. Be sure to review the processes regularly and update them if needed.

Next steps

Here are some next steps you can take if you like what you’ve just read:

  • Subscribe to my newsletter to get new essays just like this one straight in your inbox, every two weeks on Tuesday.
  • Read summaries of Traction, Get a Grip and more business and management books by getting Better Book Notes for Busy Game Professionals.
  • Get the books on Amazon. Traction describes the system in more detail, Get A Grip is written in narrative form and is more easily digestible.
  • If you really want to dive in, I help leadership teams build better videogame companies using methods like the one described here, and I can help you too. Schedule an introductory meeting through my calendly page and let’s see if there’s a fit!