Advertising
Advertising

Ask the Entrepreneurs: 10 Best Tools for Documenting Systems Amongst Your Team

Ask the Entrepreneurs: 10 Best Tools for Documenting Systems Amongst Your Team

Ask The Entrepreneurs is a regular series where members of the Young Entrepreneur Council are asked a single question that aims to help Lifehack readers level up their own lives, whether in a area of management, communication, business or life in general.

Here’s the question posed in this edition of Ask The Entrepreneurs:

What is your favorite software or tool for documenting systems for your team and why?

1. Asana

Blake Miller

    Asana is great because it’s so versatile. Not only is it great for project management, but also you can use it to create checklist-oriented task lists. For instance, at Think Big Accelerator, we use an Asana organization with multiple projects that we share with new startups. It’s called the Playbook and meant to serve as a guide for entrepreneurs from idea to the first customer.
    Blake Miller, Think Big Partners

    2. Courseroute and Camtasia

    Advertising

    allie siarto

      We’re a small team (five people), so we wanted to build out a really simple platform to record and share screencasts and documents around our company processes. We’ve recorded all of our major day-to-day processes using Camtasia screen recording, and we host the videos and documents on Courseroute, a simple training platform that we built. The beta version will be open to the public soon.
      Allie Siarto, Loudpixel

      3. Basecamp

      Fabian Kaempfer

        We like to keep everything in one place. We use Basecamp as our project management tool for almost everything we do. By using this, we are able to document systems in the appropriate project and refer to it by link if it’s associated with a certain task somewhere else. Having to switch and log into several platforms is a time-waster for us. We like to be efficient, and Basecamp is how we get it done.
        Fabian Kaempfer, Chocomize

        4. GitHub

        phil-chen

          Being a technology company with a small team, GitHub allows us both documentation of our systems as well as documentation of our code base in a way we are familiar with. The revision control aspect is very useful to see what has changed and when.
          Phil Chen, Givit

          Advertising

          5. DocSTAR

          Andrew Schrage

            Use the software offered by DocSTAR. It offers cloud-based document management services and data capture, and it can improve overall business workflow.
            Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers Personal Finance

             

            6. Evernote

            Thursday-Bram 2

              With the advent of Evernote for business, I’ve found it to be an incredibly useful tool for documenting systems and sharing the information with my team. Even better, I can clip an article and turn it into a process to follow very quickly if we want to try something new.
              Thursday Bram, Hyper Modern Consulting

              Advertising

              7. Streak

              doreen-bloch

                Streak has been a great tool for our team to document a variety of workflows. The tool lives right within our email accounts (where we spend a great amount of time), which is very useful. Streak has many pipelines that can be built and then shared with select team members. Whether it’s sales, bug tracking or customer service processes, Streak maintains the workflows and encourages collaboration.
                Doreen Bloch, Poshly Inc.

                8. Flow

                Phil Dumontet

                  Flow is my favorite task management tool. It holds everyone on my team accountable to what they say they’re going to do and allows your task lists to be private or public. The private lists are key for information control; these let me collaborate on high-level, sensitive projects with the people I choose.
                  Phil Dumontet, DASHED

                  9. Lucidchart

                  Advertising

                  Robby Hill

                    Lucidchart is an HTML5 app accessible from all major platforms and has some team collaboration features as you’re documenting processes and building out very complex diagrams. We use it because some people are on Mac, iPad and Windows, and the service/app works across all of those devices, helping us convey a message with a nice looking graphical chart.
                    Robby Hill, HillSouth

                    10. Google Docs

                    Erin Blaskie

                      We use many project management tools including Basecamp, Evernote and Asana, but what we find works best for documenting systems is Google Docs. The reason? It’s simply the best at keeping one version of a document, and you can organize all the documents into helpful folders. Combine that with the commenting functionality, and you have a streamlined way to document processes and systems.
                      Erin Blaskie, Erin Blaskie Digital Strategist

                      More by this author

                      9 No-Brainer Ways to Track Employee Time Ask the Entrepreneurs: 12 Things Entrepreneurs Should Stop Doing Ask the Entrepreneurs: 9 Best Note Taking Tools Ask the Entrepreneurs: 12 Tips for Mastering Public Speaking Ask the Entrepreneurs: 9 Tasks You Should be Outsourcing

                      Trending in Work

                      1 How to Sharpen Your Transferable Skills For a Swift Career Switch 2 How to Make Going Back to School at 30 Possible (And Meaningful) 3 7 Powerful Habits To Win In Office Politics 4 10 Signs of a Bad Boss and How to Deal with Them 5 10 Great Skills to Include in Your Resume When You Change Careers

                      Read Next

                      Advertising
                      Advertising
                      Advertising

                      Last Updated on July 18, 2019

                      How to Sharpen Your Transferable Skills For a Swift Career Switch

                      How to Sharpen Your Transferable Skills For a Swift Career Switch

                      Most people grow up with dreams to go to college and graduate with high-paying job offers waiting for them the week after graduation. Others may favor non-traditional career paths. But the desire is the same: to find a job we love where compensation is commensurate with experience.

                      However, plans change. For instance, what started out as a dream to be a surgeon is cut short by a nasty injury and you’re debating how to transition into a new role. Or you might be facing being let go from your current employer and are anxious about “options out there.”

                      Whatever the case may be, switching careers can be intentional or unintentional. What matters is that you’re well-prepared, and the only way to do so is to learn new skills — hone in on your transferable skills.

                      Why Hone in on Your Transferable Skills?

                      There are several reasons you need to develop these skills if you want to go far in life and your career. In a nutshell, honing in your your transferable skills can lead to:

                      Better Job Offers

                      Continuous assessment and improvement of your skills widens the pool of job offers for you to make selections from. You’re no longer tethered to one industry as you’re able to lead your career by design, not by default.

                      People with transferable skills on a resume also open up opportunities for more potential employers.

                      Increase in Pay and More Responsibilities

                      You’ve heard the saying “with great power come great responsibility.” In your case, transferable skills make you more marketable to employers which could lead to pay raises.

                      Although this isn’t an automatic process– you have to be proactive about what you want in the marketplace, there is a chance that these pay raises will come with change in titles and roles.

                      A Shot at Entrepreneurship

                      Yes, changing career paths also includes the possibility of working for yourself. With these skills and work experience, you could live anywhere in the world and design a life and career you want.

                      We’ve talked about why you need to strengthen your transferable skills but what are some these skills, and how can you work on them?

                      13 Tips to Sharpen Your Transferable Skills

                      1. Update Your Resume

                      You might be surprised to know this but yes, updating your resume is a skill. The very first thing you should do while thinking about switching careers is to highlight attributes that make you very desirable candidate to employers.

                      Think about your volunteer experiences, freelance projects, and school projects. Although they might seem insignificant, they demonstrate your ability to deliver results that several companies are looking for.

                      While you might have held several positions since college, switching careers will require you to have a different type of resume.

                      There are three different types of resumes: functional, chronological, and a combination resume. However, if you are looking to switch careers you’ll want to have a functional resume. A functional resume is strengths-based that emphasizes skills that are transferable rather than a collection of dates and job titles.

                      2. Brush up on Your Communication Skills

                      Every attempt to get ahead in business and in life starts with the need to communicate effectively. Whether it is interpersonal, intercultural, or multi-generational, the ability to be seen and heard while respecting the boundaries of work relationship matters.

                      That’s why it’s one of the top skills you need to master. Strong communication skills allows you to effectively tailor your messages to specific audiences, which will make you a stronger asset to any organization.

                      To hone this skill:

                      Advertising

                      Pay attention to your listening skills. To communicate effectively, you need to first learn how to understand others.

                      Your ability to decode overt and implied messages, no matter how nuanced they are, is key to knowing how to foster deep relationships with others.

                      This article can also give you effective ways to enhance your communication skills:

                      How to Master Effective Communication Skills at Work and Home

                      3. Learn Technical (or Business) Writing

                      Another form of communication, writing, is a skill that can take you anywhere.

                      Companies communicate a lot through written memos, emails, newsletters, and other audio-visual means. But at the crux of this all is someone or some people who are tasked with translating the organization’s vision into statements anyone can understand.

                      To hone this skill:

                      Consider taking some free or paid classes online. You can accomplish this through several community colleges or online platforms like Lynda, Udemy or edX .

                      4. Practice Public Speaking and Presentation Skills

                      No matter how intelligent you are, no one will take you seriously if you’re unable to pull off a decent level of persuasion through presentation skills.

                      Most presentation can be done through either electronic devices or require your physical presence. Your chosen career may require you to be in front of several hundreds of people or you could be charged with developing materials for presentation.

                      To hone this skill:

                      Volunteer to lead projects that give you some responsibility for putting together presentations.

                      Also, try taking courses that will improve your public speaking skills if you feel lacking.

                      These tips on public speaking would be helpful too:

                      The Ultimate Public Speaking Tips to Hook and Impress Any Audience

                      5. Get Comfortable with Identifying Problems and Solutions

                      Every organization has got its problems no matter how greener the grass is on the other side.

                      How to hone this skill:

                      Advertising

                      Practice being resourceful.

                      Do you know where to find every company policy on the intranet in less than five minutes?

                      Think about a time you noticed some inefficiency at work and proposed a solution. Think about instances where you lent your voice to a cause which resulted in improved processes for your department.

                      No matter how small or inadequate you might feel, you’ve got some problem-solving skills that some organizations want.

                      If you look for more ways to improve your problem solving skills, take a look at this article:

                      6 Effective Ways to Enhance Your Problem Solving Skills

                      6. Recognize Your Team-Building Ability

                      Your ability to smoothly switch careers also depends on how well you can energize your team, especially if you’re aiming for a leadership role. Unfortunately, team-building usually isn’t something you learn on the job in most careers unless you hold a managerial position.

                      The good thing is that you possibly know one or two things about team-building. Think back to moments in college when you had group projects with colleagues and had to work with 3 to 4 other strangers for months. Were you able to get past your differences and disagreements to focus on the uniqueness of everyone at the table?

                      Making a career switch might require that you work with multidisciplinary teams whether you have a deep knowledge of what the other team does or not. I can easily think of doctors, nurses, physical therapists, and social workers working closely to achieve the goals in a patient’s care plan.

                      How to hone this skill:

                      Look for collaborative projects and team building activities that excite you and challenge yourself with new possibilities.

                      Try some of these tactics to keep your team motivated as well:

                      17 Proven Tactics for Motivating Employees and Building a Stronger Team

                      7. Lean into Your Leadership Skills

                      Although similar to the previous point, leadership skills extend far beyond building teams, managing time sheets and correcting behavior.

                      What I’m referring to here is your ability to develop a vision, believe in it, and inspire buy-in from everyone involved. This isn’t about knowing how to run a particular machine; it’s about how to lead a team of people with various backgrounds, experiences, and ideas of how things should be done.

                      How to hone this skill:

                      Although more complex than the rest, it all starts with an introspective look into your strengths and weaknesses. Then get a mentor or a coach who can bring out your leadership qualities so you can operate from a place of strength.

                      Advertising

                      Learn more about the effective leadership types here:

                      5 Types of Leadership that Help You Build a High Performance Team

                      8. Improve Your Analytical Skills

                      Are you good at taking large amount of data and interpreting them? Your skills could come in handy.

                      Organizations are looking for people to make sense of the data around them, explain how it affects profitability, and make projections based on it. Best of all? You don’t need to be an accountant to be analytical.

                      How to hone this skill:

                      Try taking data interpretation classes online or at a community college. Learning Microsoft Excel or Access is also a plus. If you’re ambitious enough, you could consider getting additional certifications to up the ante.

                      Take a look at these ways to help sharpen your analytical skills:

                      What Are Analytical Skills and How to Strengthen Them For Success

                      9. Don’t Discount Your Time Management and Prioritization Skills

                      How good are you when it comes to deciding how important tasks are, organizing schedules, and coordinating plans?

                      Should you be willing, there is a market waiting for you out there. Organizations and busy executives are always looking for talented individuals to outsource these tasks to.

                      How to hone this skill:

                      Although not everyone possesses secretarial superpowers, you can improve this skill by focusing on taking huge tasks and breaking them into smaller goals or steps in order to achieve a bigger goal.

                      Here, you can learn to prioritize to achieve more:

                      The Ultimate Guide to Prioritizing Your Work And Life

                      10. Embrace Your Creative and Critical Thinking Side

                      Although it’s often believed that creativity is for the arts and right-brained people, I believe everyone is capable of being creative. In fact, most organizations recognize creativity as a vehicle that will drive successful inventions in the future.

                      How to hone this skill:

                      Try doing something fun. As simple as this sounds, you’d be surprised to learn how much. In fact, behavioral and learning scientist, Marily Oppezzo, says taking a walk might be all you need to get your creative juices flowing.[1]

                      Advertising

                      Anyone can be creative, you just need the right way to train your brain:

                      What Is Creativity? We All Have It, and Need It

                      11. Don’t Stop Learning Tech Knowledge and Skills

                      Being tech-savvy is a huge plus. If you have an affinity with computers, software applications and are abreast of technological improvements, it is a transferable skill that is worth highlighting.

                      You don’t have to be a young college graduate with silicon valley dreams to work

                      How to hone this skill:

                      All you need is the determination and the readiness to learn. This article will give you some ideas on the types of skills to learn:

                      How to Improve Your Computer Skills to Get Ahead in Your Career

                      12. Build Networks and Relationships

                      You aren’t free from networking. Not at the moment. With your goal to switch to a different career, your networking skills will come in handy.

                      Fortunately for you, networking doesn’t have to be so hard.

                      How to hone this skill:

                      Attend conferences and job fairs. Chances are you already have people in your network you can move you closer to your dream career.

                      To enhance your networking skills, take these steps:

                      How to Network So You’ll Get Way Ahead in Your Professional Life

                      Final Thoughts

                      Although there are several people with the same qualification and degree(s) you possess, what ultimately determines hireability comes down to a myriad of things such as culture fit, how teachable you are, cultural sensitivity, inter-generational awareness, and your ability to navigate uncertainty.

                      You have a chance to stand out by letting your dream companies know how these soft skills make you an invaluable asset, and how saying ‘YES’ to you is a win-win for both parties.

                      Happy career switching!

                      More Resources About Career Advancement

                      Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

                      Reference

                      Read Next