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How do you like to document processes/activities?

I have a variety of activities that I need to have completed by the technical team. As of right now the technical team doesn't know the requirements (yet), doesn't understand deliverables,.... basically they just know I will be approaching them with some work within the next few business days.

What's the best way to document these activities/processes that I will need them to complete? If you are a technical developer that deals with PMs, what would you like to see more from us and what gets on your nerves? How can I communicate activity requirements to the tech team most efficiently?
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What do you mean with Technical Team? Are you talking about iT Technical Team?

Working with IT for about 30 years this is my ideas about how to proceed;

Right Person? General titles like IT or Technician could be a bit confusing. I have seen people going to the support team (which are good guys as such) asking about ideas about new ERP-system project or development tasks as well asking me about network challenges just because I happen to work in IT. It’s hard to ask a person if he/she has the right competence, but the case could be that you are asking the wrong person.

Ok, if the person is the right one and he/she is an IT Developer that should develop a system for you what to do then? There are techniques like UML to describe what you would like to achieve in a system, and there are tools to describe databases. Depending on the system/task perhaps using a free tool like the Bizagi Process Modeler could help you describe the main flow, the process. With a tool like Bizagi you could use BPMN as notation language and with triggers, events, gateways quite in detail describe how you want the system to work.

So, spending a lot of time with specifications and documentation you could do the task a bit clear. But it will take time. Another more Agile approach is to think about just one single thing and the easiest one that you would like to accomplish. Building that you build also mutual understanding and then next thing could be done etc. This also takes time and sometimes you must redo things.

Then of course and as you are trying to find an answer to, people has very different styles, like Meredith Belbin points of with the nine roles (like Shaper, Plants, Team worker). Especially Technical Teams can be a bit special, some of them specialist more or less unable to see a holistic perspective and understand people (to put it hard). How to approach them? My latest approach has been to be very limited and again going more one task, or one piece at the time. I feel that I often make them confused if I bring up too many things, what to focus on, what should be ready when etc. They could also be very irritated if you talk about how to do it, questioning their expertise.

Then again if they are not specialist but more of monitor-evaluators – then perhaps a method from Lean like A3 could be useful, where you on a single paper could give an overview of the situation, problems, things to do etc. And if you are developer driven by ideas, inspiration etc – this could give the right information for them to understand the problem but also the borders so they don’t do something completely different.

Don’t know if this help you. Working in an international Company my experience is that it could also be classical issues with language or culture.

If at all possible, let the team members decides what activities need to be done. Just tell them what you need and let them figure it out. You'll be surprised at how well they self-regulare.

I'm with Stéphane.

I used collaboration tools as SharePoint with a simple excel file where I filled the objectives, each team member completed it with their approach to the activities.

Fast Example


- New Invoice document

Activities by IT Team:

- Review the requirements with Business
- Code the system
- Unit Test
- Send the Integration Test and validation to the users
- Transport to production environment
- Documentation

Usually, I led a meeting to review with them the objectives and after the team activities.

Hope it helps

There is a "dangerous" mix in your statement (sorry, perhaps I did not understand well). You have two main components into each initiative: the product/service/result to create and the process (project) to create it. For the first one the business analyst is accountable. For the second one the project manager is accountable. All related to product/service/result requirements must be stated by the business analyst and all related to project requirements must be stated by the project manager. Project requirements are defined from product/service/result requirements. As you know, the project manager must engage the subject matter experts to define the project requirements. So, deliverables definition documents must be defined by the business analyst (not her/him, the stakeholders the business analyst engaged). Your only focus as project manager is to define all the documents needed to allow the project team to clear understand the activities (WBS, WBS dictionary or any thing you decide to use)

If your question is related to process documentation from level Value Chain level down to Functional Allocation Level, use BPMN-based tools such as ARIS, Bizagi or TIBCO. There are many more tools on the market, but I can recommend the three from own experience.

If your question related to activities is related to project workpackage activities, I recommend from on experience: MS Sharepoint Lists, as it is visible always too whole team and structured. Be aware that my emphasis is here on ShP lists, NOT Excel lists stored in SharePoint,

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"We should be careful to get out of an experience only the wisdom that is in it - and stop there; lest we be like the cat that sits down on a hot stove-lid. She will never sit down on a hot stove-lid again, and that is well; but also she will never sit down on a cold one anymore."

- Mark Twain