Documenting workflows can seem like a Herculean task. If you’re dealing with an enterprise-grade product that needs a lot of expert configuration and many meetings to get it ready to deploy, it can seem impossible choose a place to start making a clean spot.
In ancient Greece, the mathematician Archimedes said that with a long enough lever and place to stand he could move the world.
Fair enough? Where do you stand? Doing best practices for a big product can seem huge? Where do you start?
- Novice Users
All the processes new users need to learn is a great place to start drawing your best practices. Not only will these golden paths be immediately useful, but you can get a sense of completeness. The best practices for new users may span many functional areas but the thread biding them all together that these are the ones new uses need to know.
In other words, this is a where you can start making a clean spot.
The next group of golden paths can come from talking to the support team.
- What questions are always in the support queue?
- What tasks are there where customers re-invent the wheel.
With really complex products, there are often several ways of accomplishing the same task. Some of those alternate ways may have risks associated with them and are not ideal. When tech support has to explain the same things over and over it’s costly in terms of time and credibility. Users may develop the perception that your product is buggy when in fact the reality is they’re making a simple process more complicated than it needs to be.
Starting your golden path project with new users and support will prove immediately useful to new users and the bottom line.
Don’t worry about repetition. You will doubtless create several collections of best practices that do not vary much. The difference may just be one or two words.
This is fine. It would be strange of this did not happen. In fact, the more it happens, you could argue the better. It will demonstrate that your software has regularized workflows. And, yes, some workflows will be pretty trivial to document. That’s not a problem: having the visualization is still useful, particularly for novice users.
Two final words
- Other consumers of golden paths may be your account managers and sales agents. Having signed off best practices will allow them to approach clients in a way that steers the them and their users into trouble-free habits, rather than experimenting for themselves and discovering every weak spot in your software.
- QA may also be a beneficiary and collaborator for your golden paths.