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Do You Need Processes If You're A Small Team? Yes!

Updated: Aug 6, 2023

I once held a meeting at work to discuss the process I was implementing for submitting course requests for the LMS. I was only about three minutes into the discussion when a senior director interrupted me and said with a chuckle, "I mean, we don't really need a process. We're small; we can just talk to each other." As the sole eLearning manager (team), I immediately disagreed with her, explaining that "being small doesn't mean you need less structure. It means you need more structure."

It can be very seductive to jump into the work the minute we receive an assignment or recognize a need to be addressed. The instant satisfaction many of us feel when checking boxes on our to-do list and feeling like we are "getting things done" can be hard to resist. The problem with this approach is that it's reactive rather than proactive. Often, we fail to assess all the variables to meet the project's goal, and worse we may not even truly know the goal.

Being a solo eLearning manager (in a role that was the first of its kind, no less), I can tell you that analyzing and developing processes was the key to my success AND sanity. As I examined the needs of my department and organization, I would steadfastly outline methods for completing projects or tasks within each focus area.

Here's are four reasons why you should invest time in developing effective processes:

1.) Most of what we do at work is repetitive.

As much as we'd like to believe that each project is unique, it is not. Yes, the project's content might vary (management curriculum versus compliance), but often we encounter these types of projects multiple times throughout our work. But when you don't have a system for starting, managing, and completing these projects or tasks, you will drown in unnecessary rework or make mistakes you should have learned from prior projects.

2.) Processes increase efficiency and limit time waste.

Perhaps, this is a bit redundant, given what I explained in number one. However, I want to stress that when you have a plan of attack, you have documented the steps to get you to the promised land for the project. If you are part of a small team, time and staff resources are always difficult to balance. You should know exactly where to focus your time and resources. There is no need to spend countless hours figuring out where to begin or what you need to get the work done. You can return to the game plan when it's time to go.

Being small doesn't mean you need less structure. It means you need more structure.

3.) To produce consistent outcomes each time you perform a task.

Listen, I bet even Beyonce has a playbook for preparing for each tour, and for good reason. Why reinvent the wheel whenever you embark on a familiar project or task if you have a clear strategy? Developing tools like checklists, interview questionnaires, intake requests, and workflows will help ensure you complete all the steps to get the desired results.

4.) It breeds positive collaboration and goodwill.

Hear me out. If you develop practical and efficient processes, you are more likely to work and communicate effectively with the people you need to help you meet the project's goals. I worked with some of the busiest SMEs of all time (doctors and surgeons), and they routinely praised me for having the systems in place to meet our goals. Think about how relieved you feel when a team member reaches out to you for support and they are timely, organized, and respectful. How does it feel to compare it to when it hasn't occurred?

All teams benefit from thoughtful processes, no matter the size. Yet, I can't emphasize enough that if you are a solo or small L&D team, creating a process for all your work areas is essential. You will make things easier for yourself and demonstrate your reliability by delivering consistent results.

Are you process oriented? How do you go about developing them?

1 Comment

Aug 10, 2023

I love this! Thanks for pointing out the need for a process no matter the size of your team. It is just like life. You may have a vision and what you want to happen but what steps do you need to take to make sure it happens. When you plan you can prepare for detours or be more prepared for a change! So important in every aspect of life!


Hey, I'm Kandice

I'm a learning expert with tons of experience managing, designing, and developing learning programs as a solo learning leader. I love sharing my ideas and thoughts on how I do it and manage to enjoy it...most of the time. 

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