Arvo Delights

Create Winning Process Docs: Keep Things Simple

Use as few words as possible to show, not tell, how to run your business processes.
Micah Johnson

In this Series…

I’ll be covering the 25 best ways to start documenting your systems and processes in a way that your team will love so your business can grow and scale.

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Step 1: Keep Things Simple

It sounds so straightforward, and many people start with this intention when sitting down to document their processes. However, very few can successfully execute this goal.


Because of what we all picture a process doc or SOP to be: A document that mainly consists of lots of words, maybe a table, and one or more numbered lists.

The Standard Approach

Most people, myself included, start with this approach. It does not keep things simple.

This approach consists of the following steps:

  1. Google for “SOP Template”
  2. Find a Word or Google Docs template to use as a starting point
  3. Then, brain-dump the process (as how you perceive it should be done) into the template with lots and lots of words.
This is the opposite of keeping things simple for your team.

There are Three Things Wrong With This Approach…

First, many of the templates you find are all variations of themselves. The originals date many years back and were created before social media even existed.

Second, times have changed. Your team doesn’t want to read a black-and-white text process doc. They want simple and quick answers.

Third, the structure of these documents is generally overkill. However, when starting your documentation journey, knowing what you must include and what you can skip is hard.

How to Actually Keep Things Simple

There are two secrets to keeping things simple when writing process docs.

  1. Start small and only provide the most necessary information.
  2. Always keep it a work in progress.

Think of each process doc like a paragraph.

Similar to a paragraph, each process doc should have the following…

  1. Topic — Focus on a single topic/process/workflow/answer/etc.
  2. Development — Describe the topic in slightly more detail.
  3. Example — Support your topic with a video demonstration and/or step-by-step guide with annotated images.
  4. Summary — Include summarized points.

Improve it Over Time.

Rather than getting everything right the first time (which is nearly impossible). Start with the bare minimum to convey the process. Then, as questions arise, improve each process doc as needed.

Start simple and improve over time. This was built in less than a minute with


  • Each process doc should start in a format similar to a paragraph.
  • Use videos, images, annotations, diagrams, and even audio instead of words.
  • Create a visual (not written) demonstration of the process in action.
  • Provide a simple summary at the end to be a quick reference tool for your team.
  • Bonus: Make it look well-designed, visually engaging, and easy to skim.

Thank you for reading!

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