Following my earlier thoughts about systemization, in this post I’ll tackle a powerful tool you have at your disposal when creating processes: video.
Trello and Confluence are great repositories of internal processes. In my experience, they’re tools that are easy to learn. In fact, especially with Trello, it’s usually a case of love at first sight, and many team members end up using Trello to manage their personal processes and life.
Sometimes the best way to show how a process is done is by recording a screencast. These screencasts can then be embedded into Trello or Confluence.
Tools of the Trade
So what are the best tools for creating internal screencasts that are then shared on Trello?
Screenflow and Camtasia are very similar feature-wise, so it’s down to what you prefer and what works best on your platform. You’ll use this software to record your screencast.
Once you’ve recorded your screencast, you need to share it with the rest of the team via Trello, so upload it to YouTube and set the privacy settings to ‘unlisted’. That means that people won’t be able to search for it in YouTube, only people having the direct URL will be able to view the video. We then grab the video’s URL and paste it into a Trello card. Trello conveniently embeds the video for easy viewing.
That’s it, apart from the cost of acquiring Screenflow or Camtasia, the rest of the process is all free. Trello is a free tool and so is YouTube. If you decide to use Vimeo instead of YouTube, you’ll need to be a premium member to setup the unlisted videos functionality. I also know some people who upload their videos to screencast.com, so that’s another alternative for you. You can get 2GB storage and 2GB bandwidth for free and beyond that you’ll need to upgrade ($100/year) and become a paid user (200GB storage). Note that with Screencast you can’t embed the videos in Trello cards however, so it’s not as convenient as YouTube or Vimeo.
When is a Screencast Ideal?
If it’s something you can explain to somebody in just one paragraph, then chances are good you probably don’t need a screencast for it. But if it’s something that is going to take you several paragraphs to walk somebody through, then it’s worth making a screencast.
You’ll need to make an effort to really think about why you do things a certain way and then make sure that you explain your thought process during the screencast.
Don’t skimp on details.
It’s better to include some extra background information about a process than leave anything out.
Make sure you give it your best shot, you don’t need to record your screencasts in a studio but it doesn’t hurt to learn a few tricks that can really help boost the level of your output.
Videos will turn out to be especially useful if like us your team is all remote based. When someone joins your team you don’t have the luxury to sit him down next to you and explain what you do and why you do it. So screencasts and full-blown presentation videos are a must in such cases. Letting the VA see you in the presentation is a great way to build rapport.
If you’re training multiple team members and have time to build some extra rapport with them, a live training session via Google Hangouts can be another option to consider. Also, keep in mind that YouTube contains a ton of resources and tutorials that you can leverage in your business. If you want to teach your new VA or team member how to administer a WordPress blog, don’t reinvent the wheel and waste your precious time, pick one of the existing YouTube tutorial videos and you’re done.
Remember that every time you are creating a video, you are expanding your vault of company knowledge. This will cut the induction time and expense for future team members. Screencasts and presentation videos are easy and fun to create, keep in mind that every video you create is a further step towards liberating yourself from the nitty gritty details of running the business.
Other screen recording utilities that you might want to check out:
I’ll finish off with a guide to documenting business processes. It is of utmost importance that you break things down to their essence and make it very easy to understand.
- Notice (Notice which workflows are key to your business and repetitive in nature.)
- Document (Write down every step. Don’ t leave anything out.)
- Optimize (Once you’ve written the basic documentation, ask yourself three questions:
#1: Which of these steps can be eliminated?
#2: Which of these steps can be simplified?
#3: Which of these steps should be done in a different order?)
- Test (Go through the workflow again, executing only what’s written down.)
- Share (One of the most powerful things about workflows is that they make delegation vastly easier.)