Free Process Document Templates | Smartsheet (2022)

Businesses of all sizes and across all industries rely on multiple processes in order to function smoothly. Documenting business processes can help companies identify inefficiencies, implement changes, and provide uniform understanding of how a process works and who is involved. A process document compiles information about a specific process by detailing the necessary steps, and serves as a reference guide. Having this information in writing helps ensure that workflows are operating according to guidelines, provides structure for process management, and assists with knowledge transfer when employees change roles or when training new hires. From defining consistent standards to improving business performance, there are many reasons to document processes.

To save you time with process documentation, download one of the free Microsoft Word or Excel templates below and create a customized, reusable document for your business.

Business Process Document Template - Word

Free Process Document Templates | Smartsheet (1)

Create a formal business process document using this outline for Microsoft Word. The template includes typical sections for documentation — including process purpose, flow, roles, and other details — and can easily be edited to suit your particular needs. Simple formatting makes this template easy to use and share with team members, stakeholders, and other interested parties.

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‌ Download Business Process Document Template - Word

Simple Process Document Template - Excel

Free Process Document Templates | Smartsheet (2)

This documentation template provides a basic format for entering process details along with a flowchart for visual mapping. Customize the template by editing or adding sections based on your specific business and project. Since this is an Excel template, you can also add new sheets for tracking and analyzing process measurements. Print the template by saving it as a PDF file.

‌ Download Simple Process Document Template - Excel

Business Process Flowchart - Excel

Free Process Document Templates | Smartsheet (3)

Use this flowchart template for process mapping and add it to your business process document. Flowcharts are often created using Visio or other mapping software, but this simple template provides symbols that you can cut and paste for an easy and cost-effective solution. Create a visual representation of each step in a business process.

‌ Download Business Process Flowchart - Excel

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Process Documentation Benefits

Process documentation can affect not only the efficiency of individual processes, but also the overall performance within a business. Here are a few of the potential benefits that can result from accurate documentation:

  • Facilitate Transitions: Documentation can provide a close-up look at a given process as well as a larger context for how it fits with other business practices. This information is useful for determining how to integrate multiple processes or to make changes to an individual process. For example, if you’re switching from a manual process to automation, having a process document in place can help ease the transition.
  • Improve Communication: Having a process guide encourages mutual understanding across an organization, which supports planning and implementation for new projects or process changes. It can also streamline training for new employees or when outsourcing projects. The documentation process can also spark discussion among stakeholders, potentially leading to innovation and improvement.
  • Provide Structure: Defining the boundaries and control points for a process provides clarity about procedures and outcomes to help ensure it is being carried out efficiently.
  • Reduce Costs: If you can increase efficiency while improving quality, the result is likely to be a boost to your bottom line and to customer satisfaction.


For all the advantages of process documentation, there can also be some drawbacks. For instance, if a process is recorded incorrectly, the document will be inaccurate and potentially harmful. The person responsible for documentation should have a thorough understanding of the process or be part of a team of stakeholders that can help ensure accuracy. Having clear guidelines for process management procedures can provide structure and accountability for whoever is developing the document. A project may also be slowed down initially as the documentation process takes place, but ultimately it should support efficiency and expedite any changes to a process that might be needed in the future.

Best Practices for Documentation

A clear and concise process document can help manage timely changes and provide a valuable reference guide. To be effective, it needs to be thorough and well-written so that readers can utilize the document. Here are some best practices and tips to keep in mind:

  • Watch for possible improvements while going through the documentation process.
  • Review documents regularly and revise them as processes change. Keep track of process changes by including a “change history” section in the document.
  • Solicit feedback from employees involved in a process to get details on how activities are executed, the importance of different steps, and other relevant insights.
  • Include images and flowcharts to illustrate process steps.
  • Use a template for process documentation in order to standardize the approach and final document.
  • Create separate documents for individual processes rather than grouping them together in a single document.


The above tips apply to documenting business processes. This is different from software documentation, a term that can apply to various stages of software development, from documentation during planning and management to creating user manuals for final products.

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What to Include in a Business Process Document

Making a process document can be as simple as following the outline of a template, but you’ll need to customize it to fit the needs of a specific business. Once the template has been fine-tuned, it can serve as a guide for others within an organization to follow. Below are sections commonly included in a process document:

  • Process Name: Sum up the process with a descriptive name that distinguishes it from other processes.
  • Introduction: This section may include background information, describe the purpose of the process, and explain the process scope. A scope statement can include both what is and is not included in a process. You may also choose to include an applicability matrix for a quick, visual guide to the process scope and roles involved.
  • Process Inputs: Identify what input or need triggers the start of the process.
  • Process Boundaries: Define clear parameters for where a process begins and ends.
  • Process Flow: Use a flowchart or list all of the tasks involved in a process and their organization. Providing a visual illustration of the steps in a process can help readers quickly understand how it flows from start to finish.
  • Process Outputs: This may be an actual product or less tangible result, but all processes have a purpose that they are designed to achieve. An output may actually be outside of the defined boundaries of a process, but knowing the expected outcome is relevant to understanding a process.
  • Exceptions: Outline the exception management process, which is how exceptions to the normal process flow will be handled when they arise.
  • Roles and Responsibilities: Multiple people may be responsible for carrying out different aspects of a business process. Include a list all of the roles and their associated responsibilities so that it’s clear who to contact when a problem occurs or a change needs to be implemented. Some process documents include a decision matrix to illustrate who can make decisions about different elements of a process.
  • Process Approval: Outline procedures for reviewing, revising, and approving process documents.

A process document may also include specific measurements for tracking process performance, a reference section for citing other documents, and a change history for recording updates.

Process Documentation for Healthcare Organizations

Healthcare organizations rely on accurate, real-time clinical documentation and process records to make quick, agile decisions, track, analyze, and report on the progress of a patient, clinical study, or other health-related research, and facilitate communication across the organization.

Documentation is also necessary for healthcare providers when evaluating claims and reviewing patient information. Additionally, healthcare companies must abide by stringent security measures, ensuring that all processes, data, and health information are securely stored, tracked, and maintained. To ensure optimal quality of care, foster communication between providers and patients, and maintain confidentiality of data and information, you need a powerful, real-time tool that empowers healthcare organizations to effectively manage documentation.

Smartsheet is a work execution platform that enables healthcare companies to improve work efficiency, scale repetitive processes, and securely store and share protected health information. Track and manage important documents in one centralized location and share reports with authorized team members, while maintaining top-level data security and protection under HIPAA regulatory requirements.

Interested in learning more about how Smartsheet can help you maximize your efforts? DiscoverSmartsheet for Healthcare.

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FAQs

What is an example of a process document? ›

Common examples of process documents include employee onboarding checklists, performance review guidelines, content publishing how-to's, customer support guides, and software documentation such as API documentation. To consider a non-business example, think about a family recipe.

What is the most useful tool for a process document? ›

Top tools for process documentation in 2022
  • Scribe.
  • Bit.ai.
  • Lucidchart.
  • Whatfix.
  • Confluence.
  • SmartDraw.
  • Pellio.
  • Heflo.
13 Jul 2022

Where can you find all processes templates and forms? ›

Go to Packages Icon > Process Orchestration > Process Templates. Select a Template from the List view and click on it to access it.

How do I create a process document in Word? ›

Create a document
  1. Open Word. Or, if Word is already open, select File > New.
  2. In the Search for online templates box, enter a search word like letter, resume, or invoice. Or, select a category under the search box like Business, Personal, or Education.
  3. Click a template to see a preview. ...
  4. Select Create.

What is the best way to document a process? ›

How to Document Processes
  1. Step 1: Identify and Name the Process. ...
  2. Step 2: Define the Process Scope. ...
  3. Step 3: Explain the Process Boundaries. ...
  4. Step 4: Identify the Process Outputs. ...
  5. Step 5: Identify the Process Inputs. ...
  6. Step 6: Brainstorm the Process Steps. ...
  7. Step 7: Organize the Steps Sequentially. ...
  8. Step 8: Describe who is Involved.
12 Sept 2022

How do you create processes and procedures? ›

Here are six procedure development guidelines to help you get started.
  1. Start with the end in mind. Most procedures are written because we want to elicit a certain behavior. ...
  2. Establish a format, create a template. ...
  3. Interview your subject matter experts. ...
  4. Layout the process. ...
  5. Test and revise, test and revise. ...
  6. Approve, then publish.
4 Jun 2021

What is the purpose of a process document? ›

A process document outlines the steps necessary to complete a task or process. It is an internal, ongoing documentation of the process while it is occurring—documentation cares more about the “how” of implementation than the “what” of process impact.

How do you document business processes? ›

Follow these steps when documenting processes for your business:
  1. Identify the process. ...
  2. Define the scope. ...
  3. Set process boundaries and measurements. ...
  4. Determine process outputs and inputs. ...
  5. Organize the process steps. ...
  6. Describe team members involved. ...
  7. Visualize the process. ...
  8. Consider exceptions to the normal process flow.

What is process documentation tools? ›

What Is a Process Documentation Tool? Process documentation tools help you document all steps and details of certain tasks and activities. They can document data through tutorials, policies, process maps, etc. Properly documenting a process is the first step to understanding it.

What tool is used to identify and document the steps required to complete a process? ›

A Process Decision Program Chart (PDPC) is a tool for identifying and documenting the steps required to complete a process.

Which tool do we use internally for creating business process flows? ›

Confluence. Confluence has become a fairly popular tool (particularly among tech companies) for creating internal wikis.

How do you create a business process flow? ›

The 6 steps to making a business process flow diagram
  1. Determine the main components of the process. ...
  2. Order the activities. ...
  3. Choose the correct symbols for each activity. ...
  4. Make the connection between the activities. ...
  5. Indicate the beginning and end of the process. ...
  6. Review your business process diagram.
11 Apr 2016

How do I use a Word document as a template? ›

Open the Word document that you want to save as a template. On the File menu, click Save as Template. In the Save As box, type the name that you want to use for the new template. (Optional) In the Where box, choose a location where the template will be saved.

Is there a free version of Word document? ›

Microsoft makes a free version of Microsoft Word available for anyone to use on the web. You have to register a Microsoft account, but that's free too. As the app works entirely inside a web browser, you can access it from any computer, and your files are always synced and saved in the cloud.

Is there a flow chart template in Word? ›

Creating a flowchart using the shape library in Word

Go to Insert > Illustrations > Shapes. A drop-down menu will appear when you click on “Shapes.” Find the shapes labeled “Flowchart.” Here is where you will find all of the necessary shapes for building a flowchart, like process and decision boxes.

How do you use process mapping in Word? ›

How to Make a Flowchart in Word | Create a Flowchart with SmartArt

What is a process design document? ›

What is PDD in RPA? PDD stands for Process Definition Document, which outlines the business process to be developed within RPA. Typically prepared by the end-user and/or business analyst, the document is then used by the developer as the basis from which to design automated solutions.

What is a process template? ›

A process template is a documentation product such as a process map, process matrix, or process model. Process templates are created to describe some aspect of a process, a process landscape, process flow, process solution, or state. In enterprise architecture, these would be called artifacts.

What should be documented as part of every process? ›

What should be documented as part of every process?
  • The process owner, process policy and set of process activities.
  • The service owner, service level agreement and set of process procedures.
  • The policy owner, operational level agreement and set of process steps.

What is the difference between a procedure and process? ›

Process: “a series of actions or steps taken in order to achieve a particular end.” Procedure: “an established or official way of doing something.”

How do I create an ISO file? ›

7 steps in writing QMS policies and procedures for ISO 9001
  1. 1) Decide on the process limits. ...
  2. 2) Gather the info. ...
  3. 3) Align with other documents & processes. ...
  4. 4) Define your document structure. ...
  5. 5) Write your document. ...
  6. 6) Get approval for your document. ...
  7. 7) Train the relevant employees. ...
  8. Is that all you need to do?
10 Mar 2015

Who is involved in process documentation? ›

Business process documentation involves three parties: The Internal team (aka project team) The stakeholders. The external parties.

How do you write a process description? ›

define the overall process in a single sentence. describe the document (you are describing the scope and purpose of the document you are writing; this is not the place to demonstrate your ability to introduce the field of knowledge you are about to draw on in order to help your reader understand the process)

Why is process documentation important in small business? ›

The goal of process documentation is similar to that of business process management. It improves business performance and operational agility by optimizing core processes. Documenting processes during execution enables employees to learn by doing, gleaning insight from both mistakes and successes to refine processes.

What are the 5 core business processes? ›

At the core, every business is fundamentally a collection of five Interdependent processes, each of which flows into the next:
  • Value-Creation. Discovering what people need, want, or could be encouraged to want, then creating it.
  • Marketing. ...
  • Sales. ...
  • Value-Delivery. ...
  • Finance.

What is small business process documentation? ›

Business process documentation is a complete description of a business process using words, images, and symbols to designate exactly how the process should function in an ideal environment.

What is an example of a business process? ›

Operational processes (core business processes) are those that bring direct value to customers and the company itself. They are the processes that directly create revenue. Examples include: product manufacturing, order to cash process, and delivering products to customers.

What are the types of documentation? ›

The four kinds of documentation are:
  • learning-oriented tutorials.
  • goal-oriented how-to guides.
  • understanding-oriented discussions.
  • information-oriented reference material.

Which two elements are the major causes of documentation problems? ›

Documentation suffers from a number of potential problems:
  • Expensive, time-consuming; the cost of the documentation may outstrip its value.
  • Written by people who can't write or who don't know the material.
  • Hard to read; too dry, too terse.
  • Vague; not clear.
  • Incomplete.
  • Assumes knowledge readers don't possess.

What is process document in project management? ›

Process documentation is a detailed description of how to execute a process. It outlines the exact steps needed to complete a task from start to finish. Creating a detailed document can align teamwork around process objectives and encourage organizational clarity.

What are the six planning tools? ›

Techniques Chapter 5 I read that the six planning tools and techniques are forecasting, contingencyplanning, scenarios, benchmarking, participatory planning, and goal setting.

What are the new seven management tools? ›

The New seven tools
  • Affinity Diagram [KJ method]
  • Interrelationship diagram.
  • Tree diagram.
  • Prioritization matrix.
  • Matrix diagram or quality table.
  • Process decision program chart.
  • Activity network diagram.

What is a Level 5 process map? ›

- A level 5 procedure represents task level information, detailing how tasks are carried out manually by a process worker or automatically by the system. The level is a decomposition of a level 4 process/step. - A level 5 procedure map should contain 5 - 30 process steps.

What is the difference between workflow and process flow? ›

A workflow consists of repeatable activities necessary to complete a task. A process refers to all of the elements necessary to accomplish a larger organizational goal. The general consensus is that workflows account for granular details up to small-scale objectives while processes refer to more comprehensive outcomes.

What is a business process diagram? ›

A business process diagram is a diagram that depicts a directed flow of activities that are specified by using a subset of Business Process Modeling Notation (BPMN). Tip: You can create business process diagrams using the new diagram editor, which is now the preferred tool for creating graphical artifacts.

How do you make a map on Excel? ›

Now it's time to create a map chart, so select any cell within the data range, then go to the Insert tab > Charts > Maps > Filled Map. If the preview looks good, then press OK. Depending on your data, Excel will insert either a value or category map.

What makes a good process map? ›

A good process map should illustrate the flow of the work and the interaction with the organization. It should make use of common language (symbols) that are easily understood by everyone. An ideal process map should contain proper detail with respect to multiple paths, decisions and rework loops.

Where can I download Word templates for free? ›

Here are some websites you can visit that offer the best selections when you want to download a Microsoft Word template for free.
  • Microsoft Office Online. ...
  • Template.net. ...
  • Vertex42. ...
  • WordTemplates.org. ...
  • Hloom. ...
  • Stock Layouts. ...
  • Used to Tech. ...
  • SmileTemplates.

How do I create my own template? ›

Create your own template
  1. Choose an option: ...
  2. From the Docs, Sheets, Slides, Forms, or Sites home screen, at the top, click Template gallery. ...
  3. Click Submit template. ...
  4. Click Select a document and choose the template file you created.
  5. Click Open.
  6. (Optional) To submit a copy of the file instead of the original, check the box.

Where are templates stored in Word? ›

In Word 2013-2021 (365) the default location of the for new templates is a subfolder of the user's documents folder named "Custom Office Templates." This folder location can be changed under File -> Options -> Save.

What is a process template? ›

A process template is a documentation product such as a process map, process matrix, or process model. Process templates are created to describe some aspect of a process, a process landscape, process flow, process solution, or state. In enterprise architecture, these would be called artifacts.

What is process design document? ›

A Process Design Document (PDD) is a document that captures the flow of a business process to be developed within RPA.

How do you create processes and procedures? ›

Here are six procedure development guidelines to help you get started.
  1. Start with the end in mind. Most procedures are written because we want to elicit a certain behavior. ...
  2. Establish a format, create a template. ...
  3. Interview your subject matter experts. ...
  4. Layout the process. ...
  5. Test and revise, test and revise. ...
  6. Approve, then publish.
4 Jun 2021

How do you document business processes? ›

Follow these steps when documenting processes for your business:
  1. Identify the process. ...
  2. Define the scope. ...
  3. Set process boundaries and measurements. ...
  4. Determine process outputs and inputs. ...
  5. Organize the process steps. ...
  6. Describe team members involved. ...
  7. Visualize the process. ...
  8. Consider exceptions to the normal process flow.

What is the difference between a procedure and process? ›

Process: “a series of actions or steps taken in order to achieve a particular end.” Procedure: “an established or official way of doing something.”

How do you write a process? ›

Here are some good rules to follow:
  1. Write actions out in the order in which they happen. ...
  2. Avoid too many words. ...
  3. Use the active voice. ...
  4. Use lists and bullets.
  5. Don't be too brief, or you may give up clarity.
  6. Explain your assumptions, and make sure your assumptions are valid.
  7. Use jargon and slang carefully.

Who prepares SDD? ›

An acronym for Solution Design Document, the SDD is usually prepared by the developer and helps end-users understand how to implement the automated solution. They are created for every business process that is automated using RPA and contain high-level design reports that describe the 'to-be' process.

How do I write an SDD file? ›

What Should an SDD Include?
  1. Title. Title of the project.
  2. Authors and reviewers. These are the authors of the document. ...
  3. Introduction. General information about the project and its purpose.
  4. Roles and responsibilities. ...
  5. Overview. ...
  6. User interface. ...
  7. Functions. ...
  8. Scope.
28 Jul 2021

What is difference between PDI and SDD? ›

PDD is provided by the end-user or a Business Analyst. For Developers, this document will act as a base from which they would design automated solutions. Whereas, SDD stands for Solution Design Document.

How do I create an ISO file? ›

7 steps in writing QMS policies and procedures for ISO 9001
  1. 1) Decide on the process limits. ...
  2. 2) Gather the info. ...
  3. 3) Align with other documents & processes. ...
  4. 4) Define your document structure. ...
  5. 5) Write your document. ...
  6. 6) Get approval for your document. ...
  7. 7) Train the relevant employees. ...
  8. Is that all you need to do?
10 Mar 2015

What are the 5 core business processes? ›

At the core, every business is fundamentally a collection of five Interdependent processes, each of which flows into the next:
  • Value-Creation. Discovering what people need, want, or could be encouraged to want, then creating it.
  • Marketing. ...
  • Sales. ...
  • Value-Delivery. ...
  • Finance.

What is small business process documentation? ›

Business process documentation is a complete description of a business process using words, images, and symbols to designate exactly how the process should function in an ideal environment.

What should a process include? ›

A process consists four major elements: Steps and decisions — the flowchart. A series of steps and decisions describing the way work is completed. Variability of processing time and flow — the pattern of processing times.

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