Friday, January 08, 2010

How to

There is nothing like having to document something to show you how complex it actually is.  I signed on to write procedures for the admin processes at Temple Micah and it could be a big job.

Temple Micah is an extremely successful enterprise that runs on a shoestring budget when it comes to administration.  It has always been blessed with having a small band of dedicated, competent staff to do things that might seem mundane, but are necessary to keep things running smoothly.

Right now the entire set of admin activities is being coordinated by a brilliant 22-year-old who might go back to either graduate school or rabbinical school in the fall.  It occurred to the Board that it might be a good idea to document what the office staff does before the departure of key people.

So I will probably be working in a volunteer capacity a half day every week until the documentation is complete.  It’s actually sort of fun to go behind the scene and learn how things work.

Today I took lots of notes on how to create the weekly service sheets for Friday and Saturday services and how to produce the weekly e-mail sent to the entire congregation.  These were both things I had given little thought too, noticing only the occasional typo that appeared.

I learned just how many details there are in these two processes.  How many people’s input is necessary.  How many things vary from one week to the next.  How many people are involved in proofing.  I was actually exhausted after watching and taking notes for 3 hours.

At my husband’s suggestion we installed software that allows for screen shots that will more easily illustrate what needs to be done.

Tonight I will attempt to write up my notes.  After editing and insertion of the screen shots by the 22-year-old admin genius, we will find someone who has never done these tasks and turn them loose with the procedures to see just how complete they are.

There are around 30 more procedures to be written, so it may be a long time before this project is done.

I will have a much greater respect the next time I encounter the products of either of the procedures I documented today.  Hopefully they will result in a smooth transition as new staff replace those who might leave.


Blogger Rayna said...

Sounds daunting, Barbara. Lotsa luck with this project. What would the temple do without its volunteers?

9:21 PM  
Blogger Steve said...

It's amazing how we often take all these tasks for granted in volunteer organizations! Bravo for stepping up to the plate to help document it all!

9:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

More of Barbara's positive, pro-active energy rippling thru the world!


12:33 AM  
Blogger karen said...

Hi Barbara, I've been away for a while - just catching up. Glad that somebody figured out that this needed to be done before the 22 year old left town! Good for you..

Happy birthday for a few days ago, and wishing you a wonderful year!

4:56 AM  
Blogger Merle Sneed said...

Administration runs the world,despite what the "Suits" think.

12:44 PM  
Blogger Aileen said...

Interesting...what software are you using for the screen shots?

3:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Aileen - I use ScreenSteps

It's a great tool for creating written documentation for any process involving computer work since you can snap a picture of any part of the screen and then later annotate it with text, drawings etc. Then, you can package it up in a pdf.

10:19 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...

Good luck! That's a great idea, if a big undertaking. Your involvement should help with any transitions and keeping things straight. Very good of you.

10:54 AM  

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