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How to Write a Process Essay

Last Updated: May 17, 2023 References Approved

This article was co-authored by Jake Adams . Jake Adams is an academic tutor and the owner of Simplifi EDU, a Santa Monica, California based online tutoring business offering learning resources and online tutors for academic subjects K-College, SAT & ACT prep, and college admissions applications. With over 14 years of professional tutoring experience, Jake is dedicated to providing his clients the very best online tutoring experience and access to a network of excellent undergraduate and graduate-level tutors from top colleges all over the nation. Jake holds a BS in International Business and Marketing from Pepperdine University. wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. In this case, 91% of readers who voted found the article helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 157,840 times.

A process essay, otherwise known as a how-to essay, tells a reader how to perform a particular task. The best process essays follow a clear step-by-step organization. Start by providing your reader with a time estimate and general summary of the task. Then, move on to a more detailed explanation of each and every necessary step. When you are finished with your essay, read it over carefully to ensure that you haven’t left anything out.

Getting Ready to Write

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Crafting an Introduction

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Writing Your Body Paragraphs

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Wrapping It Up

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To write a process essay, begin by writing an introduction that grabs the reader’s attention so they’ll want to keep reading. Then, end the first paragraph with a thesis statement presenting a problem for which you are offering a solution. Next, explain the process, making each step its own paragraph, and using transitions like "next" or "then" to move from one task to another. As the final step, let the reader know what to expect from the finished product and what to do with it. Finally, close your essay by reiterating why the process is helpful to the reader. For tips from our Education reviewer on how to proofread for common errors in a process essay, read on! Did this summary help you? Yes No

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How to Write Process Documentation

Jourdan Christopher

Updated: January 21, 2023

Published: December 14, 2022

Whether you're completing recurring tasks or creating a new program, process documentation can help you formalize your business endeavors. In fact, creating documentation helps improve coordination, structure, and consistency in your organization.

process documentation flowchart draft on a whiteboard

This post gathers best practices for process documentation. Here, you’ll learn:

What is process documentation?

Why process documentation matters, process documentation benefits, creating process documentation, tips for process documentation.

Process documentation involves creating internal guides that outline the steps needed to complete a task from start to finish. These materials can be used when onboarding a new hire or transferring tasks when an employee resigns. Process documentation can also demonstrate the complexity of a certain role.

Process documentation could be a step-by-step tutorial on a new software tool or an onboarding document for new hires. This practice allows you to be proactive in designing internal systems and processes that save time, capital, and valuable energy.

If you lack structure and details for core organizational processes, your business is more at risk for inefficiencies. Process documentation provides an additional layer of protection for your organization.

The lack of documentation can lead to the following organizational challenges.

Lack of Information Retention

If just one person has extensive knowledge about a process, the organization is at risk of losing that knowledge if they leave. Process documentation helps outline the information that this person holds and allows you to store it in a way that others can access.


Without a roadmap, there’s a higher chance that time will be wasted on unnecessary or repetitive tasks. Process documentation can help you outline and visualize these redundancies so that you can create a better solution.


Bottlenecking can happen at any stage of the process. It’s important to find out where bottlenecks come from and why. Identifying these delays and hurdles will be helpful when creating more efficiency.

Revenue Loss

Less productivity means more time and energy is exhausted on the execution of processes in your organization. Team members then have less availability to take on new projects. This disorganization can lead to lost revenue, or even turnover, at your business.

Process documentation is critical to the overall function and flow of the systems within your organization. Other common benefits of process documentation follow.

It creates resilience against change.

Process documentation allows your organization to maintain a steady pace and momentum, despite moving pieces. By breaking everything down (as granularly as possible), individual components of the process may be shifted or replaced with considerable ease.

This can be especially helpful when there is restructuring or staffing changes at your organization. When one person leaves your team, their knowledge can live on. If a new teammate joins, documentation will help them ramp up quickly.

You’ll identify dispensable processes and steps.

When diving into your organizational processes, you’ll determine whether a process is bringing justifiable value to your organization. You’ll be able to identify which steps within your processes are necessary and effective.

Are there any steps that can be altered or eliminated without sacrificing efficacy? This practice will create clarity for your team.

It collects and organizes knowledge.

A process document contains collective knowledge on a given approach to a topic. By making these documents easily accessible to team members, you allow for the growth and flow of information throughout the organization.

It allows for self-evaluation and accounts for variables.

Process documentation allows team members to reflect on their individual contributions. They can see precisely their impact on the outcome of a given process.

Creating documentation is also helpful in identifying where to make adjustments to refine the process for better outcomes.

It ensures compliance.

Your team should include relevant process documents in the onboarding and training process. You can then ensure that team members, new and old alike, have all the information they need to complete a task.

By specifying parameters, you can make sure that safety, legal, or other compliance is achieved.

It minimizes mistakes.

Mistakes are a natural part of life. However, you’ll want to avoid missteps in your business whenever possible. Step-by-step instructions to complete a task can help you minimize these mistakes.

Now that you’ve seen how essential process documentation is to your organization, let’s explore how you can implement it in your own businesses.

1. Identify your purpose.

Before you start writing, hold a brainstorming session. During this time, you should determine what your end document should accomplish. Are you creating a training guide? Are you laying out a process for senior leadership?

You’ll want to establish a clear name for the process you’re documenting and a clear objective for what you are trying to accomplish.

2. Determine your audience.

Next, identify your audience and why you need to explain this process to them. For example, is this for the sales team or new hires? The audience will determine the information that you include.

3. Identify the format.

You’ll want to decide what’s essential for you to include in your documentation. And that goes beyond text. Will you need visuals? Perhaps your document would benefit from graphs, tables, or a flow chart. Perhaps a PDF or webpage isn’t the best format. Some processes are best explained over video.

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Inside the Writing Process of 10 Successful Reporters — How Do They Do It?

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At Process Street , we’re fascinated by the inner mechanics of all kinds of operations especially when it has to do with writing . Today, we’re taking a deep dive into a notoriously tricky process: journalism. It’s a hard field, one that demands quality, accuracy, and succinctness, all under a huge time crunch.

We recently interviewed ten reporters to peel back the lid on their processes, get some writing tips , and understand how they deliver quality under pressure. From news outlets like Bustle and National Geographic , we found that reporters are most successful when they adhere to a nuanced process—one they’ve tailored over the years to suit them.

If you do it right, you’ll wind up like Matthew Hussey , Editor-in-Chief of The Next Web. As he told us,“The writing is actually the shortest part in my experience,” so long as you adhere to a process .

Matt Hussey Quote

Do Your Homework

There are a lot of different kinds of journalism: op-eds, long form articles, columns, obits. Even though these all have different styles and approaches, there’s one bottom line. The goal is to distill information in a form that other people can read and get insight from.

In order to do that, you need to bring a lot to the table, even if you’re only writing a 600-word article. That means you have to do your homework—you’ll save yourself massive amounts of work later on.

Just the facts, sir

Before you can distill information, you need to get the facts straight. Depending on the kind of story you’re writing, this might involve doing investigative reporting, extensive research, or even conducting your own interviews.

But no matter what they were writing, the reporters we spoke to all told us that they spend the bulk of their time collecting facts. Rachel Veroff , a New York City-based freelance journalist and contributor to Downtown Magazine , has found that laying a strong foundation in the research phase is the most important part of putting together a good article.

Even if she’s just covering an event for them, she does research ahead of time about who will be there and what the event is about so that she knows going into it what kind of questions to ask and who’s going to be there:

“It’s important to do really thorough research before going out to meet people for interviews. Especially if you’re covering an event, you need to have a clear agenda about who you want to talk to, and what you want to hear them say. The hard part is doing all that legwork and collecting the best parts of the story. If you do good research, finally sitting down to write is the easiest part.”

Until everything is laid out

Sarah Freymiller of Bustle agrees. “I spend a lot of time gathering materials related to my subject. I read them, I take notes on them, and I let them simmer for a while. I can’t start writing until everything is laid out.”

Catalog obsessively

There’s another aspect of doing your homework: reading.

Articles are part of a living ecosystem—one that’s constantly changing now that people are churning out web content really quickly . Before you write, you need to know what else is out there. If you’re reporting on a high-profile murder case, what else will your readers have heard about it? Is there misinformation floating around the Internet? What coverage has been getting a lot of views?

In order to report in a way that maximizes your contribution to the reader, you need to read a lot. And be able to find it all at the drop of a hat. Some reporters use Airtable to contextualize work. Airtable is a reimagined version of a spreadsheet, so it can help catalog documents, contacts, and videos in an easy to read and searchable manner.

Using Airtable helps catalog work that that reporters have done, but also other work in the space. As Boston-based journalist John Dillon says:

“A journalist with a beat, covering city hall or development, for instance, should always have previous stories within arm’s reach—a folder or computer files or bookmarks or Google docs—to know what happened previously and why the piece you’re writing now is different and newsworthy. It is also handy for political reporters to find out whether something someone said contradicts what she said a week ago.”

Always have previous stories within arm's reach

This is especially useful for freelancers. If you’re writing for a lot of different publications (John works with The Atlantic , Bloomberg News and WBUR among others), you can keep a record of what you’ve written, what you’ve pitched, and your notes.

Airtable at Process Street

We’ve been playing with Airtable here at Process Street to create a content catalogue of all of our onsite and offsite content (guest posts, YouTube videos, press, interviews etc..).

We use it for tracking our SEO , for building relationships with other publishers and for content promotion . If you’re interested in a full breakdown of how this content database works, let me know in the comments and I may write a post about it in the future.

Get an Outline

Once you’ve collected all the facts, it’s time for your outline. Outlining a piece helps you figure out what it’s really about. If you’ve done the research phase right, you have a lot of info at this stage—now you just need to structure it into something coherent.

Freelance journalist Andrew Tate specializes in data-driven articles for SaaS companies. This involves highly technical writing, often dealing with a lot of numbers. When you’re taking that much info and trying to make it legible, it’s really important to nail down the bones of an article before. So the first thing Andrew does after gathering his data is to lay it out and develop an outline.

“This could then work as a spine for the article and helped me get back on track if I started to lose this thread when actually writing.”

Use apps to distill the data

When you’re dealing with a lot of content—whether it’s numbers or interviews you’re trying to make sense of—it’s really useful to plug it into an app to help get an outline.

Andrew recently wrote an article for ProfitWell called 43 Ways to Calculate SaaS Churn (And Why You Should Just Keep it Simple) . ProfitWell is a SaaS metrics tool that helps people get accurate (and actionable) data, with one of the metrics being churn rate . Their blog readers are well-versed in SaaS metrics and are looking for really in-depth analysis of how to improve their SaaS product.

Not only did using spreadsheets help to keep track of all the data, it helped him come up with an argument. As he told us, “You end up with such a wealth of information that absorbing it all first and coming out with a defined idea of a what the story is really about is very important.” Using an app really aids that process.

Distilling information can also be an issue if you’ve conducted interviews. You might wind up with an hour’s worth of tape and only a quote or two that’s worth using. Even though the rest of it is interesting, you need to cut out the cruft. The reporters we spoke to rely heavily on certain apps to do this, like oTranscribe , a transcription app which Caroline Santinelli of National Geographic swears by.


Other apps like Evernote and Hackpad are popular for helping reporters organize their thoughts. It’s important to keep all those notes—you want to have them handy in case they end up coming of use later in the writing process, especially if an editor does a hack job on your article.

Find the right shape

Matthew Hussey, Editor-in-Chief of The Next Web says it’s absolutely necessary to have a “very rough breakdown of the flow of the piece.” Bay Area freelance journalist Emily Dugdale agrees. Once you have a strong outline, it’s just a matter of plugging things in.

Quality story guidelines

“As a journalist, you’re expected to write with the aim of reporting the facts, which makes writing a little simpler. If you have a strong lead, great sources and quotes, and enough background research for a compelling story, it makes the writing process easier—you can just plug all of these things into your outline.”

It also works with creative journalism pieces. Sousan Hammad , a contributor at Al Jazeera English and The Nation does something similar. She went to journalism school and learned to write somewhat formulaically, but now tends to write creative or feature-length pieces.

But she still follows an outline, though it’s more of a plot line. When weaving together complicated stories—like the narrative of two separate characters on the other side of the globe, it’s hard to know when to switch between them. An outline helps you figure out what belongs where.

“For the more creative or feature-length (or op/ed) pieces I write, I tend to follow a plot line. Take an op/ed—I like to start anecdotally—whereas with a feature article I do have to follow a rough kind of formula, plugging in quotes and such. With creative pieces I tend to just follow a plot line (plot a, b, a, b, etc.)”

Sousan figures out when she’s going to switch between two intersecting storylines so that the narrative doesn’t get too complicated when she’s actually writing.

To the Drafting Table

Here’s the problem with collecting notes and outlining: you can do it to death. If you’re researching an article that has a lot of substance to it, it’s more than plausible that your research could go on forever. A quick article about a local women’s soccer league championships can quickly spiral into an inquiry on sexist practices in the history of the sport if you’re not careful.

But it’s dangerous to hold off on writing just because you don’t have the complete story. As the reporters we spoke to told us, you’ll never have the complete story! So that feeling of being “not ready to write” just might mean it’s time for a draft.

Shitty first drafts

Writer Anne Lamott has a theory that works for all kinds of creative processes. As she says in an infamous essay from her book Bird by Bird , “For me and most of the other writers I know, writing is not rapturous. In fact, the only way I can get anything written at all is to write really, really shitty first drafts.”

Write shitty first drafts

A terrible draft is no fun to read. But it’s a necessary stepping stone to getting to an okay second draft, a good third draft, and even a Pulitzer Prize-winning publishable article.

First drafts are an element of the process that reporters we surveyed said they just need to—in Sarah Freymiller’s words—“churn out without judgment.”

Share drafts before you’re ready

What’s even harder than writing that first draft is sharing that first draft.

However, journalism is time-sensitive. If you spend too much time massaging the language, you’re going to get left in the dust. Someone might even scoop your story. The reporters we spoke to said they’ve gotten used to writing to deadline , but even more so, they’ve gotten used to sending in a story before it felt “perfect.”

Perfect is a luxury you’re not afforded—so it means you have to share your drafts with editors, peers, or whoever is willing to look over it—before it feels “done.” This affords you the kind of feedback that will help you make smart edits.

Reshape Your Article

If you’ve done the rest of the process right, you shouldn’t spend too much time here. It’s the shortest of all the 4 steps.

This process is different from re-writing. It might mean pleasing your editor. It might mean distilling information further. It might mean killing your darlings. But since you’ve done the bulk of the work, you don’t have to do a total rewrite.

Think about the reader’s journey

Once you’ve spent a lot of time researching an article, or even spending time with the subject matter, it can be hard to get out of your own head. When reshaping an article, journalists make sure that they look at it from a reader’s perspective.


Let’s say you’re writing an article about the renovation of a historic hotel . You probably learned all about the history of the building, and what other renovations have been done. But if you mention the fire of ’86 offhand, does the reader know what you’re talking about? Have you contextualized everything?

Or as reporter John Dillon puts it, the one question you need to think about is this: “If I were running home to tell my mother, what would be the first thing I’d say?”

Polish it up

The final parts of writing an article depend upon the publication you’re working for. Sometimes this entails making sure that your piece meets all the requirements of that publication, like its style guide, or its citations.

A lot of publications have their own special formatting, that can be hard to remember—especially if you’re a freelancer. For example, Bustle requires writers to link to three other pages within the first 200 words. National Geographic, on the other hand, might be more concerned about total word count.

Of course, these journalists are always working with editors. Still, they all emphasized the importance of taking every step in the process and finishing strong with good copy-editing, or else you look stupid after you put in so much work. Without taking these steps, you diminish your efforts.

Don’t Stray from your Writing Process

No matter how much reporters plan their time ahead, there are always problems that come up. That’s why it’s even more important to plan ahead. As Emily Dugdale says, “It’s always better to do things with time to absorb unanticipated events, like when a source goes dark.”

The best way to absorb unanticipated events is to stick to the plan and timeline you laid out for yourself. If you don’t, you’ll end up with what  Justine Neubarth of NBC Sports says, “winding up with no time left and writing in a in blind, white-knuckled sweat.”

It’s a strategy Andrew Tate uses too: “I also use checklists to keep track of the smaller stages of each article. Emailed X to set up and interview? Interviewed Y? This means that nothing gets lost along the way and you end up having to rush a vital piece of research. Usually, I would do this old-school in a notebook or on a post-it note.”

No matter what your method—whether it’s post-it notes or checklist software —it’s an important way to make sure you stay on track and meet that deadline.

Mapping out your time is a skill. As tempting as it may be to spend just a little more time researching, or polishing up that lead, journalism requires writers to work under pressure and stick to their plan. If you stray too far from the schedule, you just might miss that all-important deadline.

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Vinay Patankar

CEO and Co-Founder of Process Street . Sign-up for his free systems masterclass or find him on Twitter and LinkedIn .

I would love detailed info into the content tracking process/software

Hey Amanda, thanks for the comment. Sure I’ll write up a post in a few weeks. I just actually added to the database so it tracks live tweets 😉

I love Airtable for blogging stuff and would definitely be interested in a tutorial on that assets table you have! It looks completely awesome.

Hey Brittany, good to see you here again. Sure I will do that post in the future, we are still making improvements to it 🙂

Thanks for the article Vinay! very helpful. tk

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Process Documentation: How-To Guide + Examples [2023]


Michael Gerber’s book, “The E-myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work” popularized the idea of using standardized systems to build a successful business. According to Gerber, “once you create your company’s process documentation, it’s easier to empower your low-skilled workers to easily complete tasks and tick off boxes on their checklists.”

It’s how Henry Ford successfully achieved America’s first mass production of affordable cars. Think about it: Henry Ford didn't just invent the car — he developed a process that allowed his artisans to produce his cars on a massive scale. Instead of using one artisan to repeatedly produce the cars, process documentation taught everyone to do 84 simple, repetitive tasks. In fact, this method cut the manufacturing time of the Model T down from 12.5 hours to 2.5 hours !

Mind-blowing, right? You bet!

While we’ve come a long way with the way businesses were conducted in the 80s and 90s since M. Gerber published his book, it’s still mind-boggling to discover that only a few companies can boast about truly letting people do their work. 

While it’s no news that the hunt for talent grows fiercely daily, process documentation shouldn't be tagged as irrelevant just because you’ve hired highly-skilled employees. 

It’s why highly-skilled professionals like surgeons and pilots still rely on process documentation to guarantee high-quality service. For employees like these, process documentation can make or mar — it could result in life or death. This is why implementing checklists reduced mortality by 24 percent in Rwandan hospitals, while also reducing major complications by 60 percent.

The examples above clearly show that process documentation gives your employees more time and energy to do their best work, without sacrificing quality.

Want to know more about process documentation? This article explores:

How to write process documentation

What is process documentation?

Process documentation is a step-by-step guide on how to complete a task from beginning to end. Think of it as a descriptive document that shows anyone in your company or team the detailed steps to complete a defined task or process. In other words, it explains the “how” in your business.

When documenting how to perform business processes, team members use different documents and file types such as:

By documenting a process, you automatically describe the standardized, ideal way of carrying out that task in the company. It’s also important to note that it’s not the same as documenting an entire project, as it likely consists of many different processes (that could be categorized as subsets).

So, what processes can you document? 

For example, a DevOps Manager can create effective process docs to:

Summarily, it helps you standardize best practices and sets up your team for capturing and benchmarking metrics for quality.

Define your goal

The first thing to do before writing process documentation is to determine what you want to achieve. Is it...

Make your goals clear. Defining your objectives will help you determine which process to document first.

Gather your process documentation team

Process documentation should be a team activity. No one person can put together an entire organization’s processes. The same applies to teams. Rather, gather a team of documentation experts to lead your team’s process documentation. 

Here, you’ll need technical writers and editors versed in producing top-quality process documentation. Also, remember that the best person to document a process is someone who uses it daily — keep your mind open when deciding which stakeholders to involve in the project.

Design a template

You need to set up a template as the standard for all future documents. This ensures that irrespective of whoever handles technical documentation, you’ll have a uniform standard and always achieve consistency. Process documentation templates should be simple and easy to follow, and must contain all relevant information. 

Writing your process documentation

Step 1: identify and name the process — decide on your process documentation’s purpose, why and how the process will benefit the organization, and briefly describe the process., step 2: outline the scope of the process — briefly explain what would be included in the process and what is not., step 3: establish process boundaries — outline where the process starts and ends. list factors that indicate its beginning and those that signal its end., step 4: incorporate the process inputs — identify the resources needed to complete the process., ‍ step 5: incorporate the process outputs — identify the outcome of the process once it’s completed., ‍ step 6: collate the process steps — jot down each step in the process, including what triggers the process, or detailing the outcomes and working backwards., ‍ step 7: identify the stakeholders — include everyone involved in the process documentation and describe their roles (plus titles)., add visuals.

After your process documentation has been written, spice it up by adding visual elements such as flowcharts , GIFs, pictures, diagrams, videos, screenshots, etc. These elements would help your employees easily understand the process and boost recall.

Peer review

Ensure your documentation undergoes a peer review process before it is published. It’s important to gather feedback from other necessary stakeholders who can gauge whether your process documentation is useful and if the processes are easy to follow.

Publish the document

Once the documentation is finalized, hit “publish” and make it available to your team and the rest of the organization (where applicable). A good process documentation software enables you to publish private documentation open to only your employees and some selected people within the organization — while also protecting your documentation from unwanted visitors .

Audit the document’s performance

Ask your employees or team members for feedback regarding whether they found the documentation helpful and use it to make appropriate changes.

5 Benefits of Effective Process Documentation

There’s a reason why the likes of Steve Jobs, Fmr. President Obama and Mark Zuckerberg are known for always wearing the same type of clothes . By reducing the number of decisions they make, it’s easier for them to lessen decision fatigue and focus on the most important tasks.

Properly developed and implemented documented processes provide a reliable and audit-worthy record of how an organization or team performs different tasks — thereby, establishing what is commonly known as a standard operating procedure (SOP). 

Let’s examine the importance of process documentation.

Reduces operational overload

Sometimes, when you’re forced to document your team's processes, it helps you discover the unnecessary steps to the task at hand. Therefore, it leaves you no choice but to streamline your operations by cutting your processes down to the bare minimum. You could even decide that an entire process should be omitted; hence, giving your employees more time to focus on other productive tasks.

Record of protocols

Process documentation ensures that you have a record of the protocols your employees follow to guarantee regulatory compliance. Creating well-developed process documents and implementing your protocols is the first step to achieving consistency that results in excellent outcomes, every time.

Achieving 30-50 percent productivity gains

Business Process Management, otherwise known as BPM is a combination of methods used to manage a company's business processes — one of such processes is Process Documentation . Adopted by many companies globally, process documentation has proven to be one of the biggest drivers for increasing employee productivity and reducing waste. Some of the important ways in which process documentation increases productivity include:

Process documentation can significantly increase your company’s productivity levels when implemented correctly. For example, Forrester reports that BPM projects can deliver between 30-50 percent productivity gains for processes involving primarily back office and clerical staff, and can typically deliver 15-30% productivity gains for processes involving knowledge workers.

Reduce distractions and the risk of operational damage

In a study from the University of California Irvine , researchers, led by Gloria Mark, shadowed workers on the job, studying their productivity. Here’s what study lead Gloria Mark told Fast Company about their research:

“You have to completely shift your thinking, it takes you a while to get into it and it takes you a while to get back and remember where you were...We found about 82 percent of all interrupted work is resumed on the same day. But here’s the bad news — it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds to get back to the task. ”

You might think 23 minutes isn’t much of a big deal until you realize that even if your team members get distracted a few times during the day, the amount of time they lose as they struggle to get back to their happy work mode should be taken seriously. Let me do the maths for you:

Let’s say you head a team of ten DevOps engineers…

If one of them gets distracted three times daily, they’re losing an hour of work.

If 10 of them get distracted three times daily, they’re losing 10 hours of work. 10 hours!

You might wonder, “how does this cause operational damage?” Good question!

Here’s an example.

As a DevOps manager, if your team doesn’t have process documentation for a bug testing process when your company releases a software update, your team members would most likely reach out to one another or even you — asking for tips on how to perform the task.

While waiting for answers, they might most likely be interrupted or even leave their desks completely to do something else. There’s also a high chance that they will make mistakes, resulting in costly operational damage since the answers they got were collated from “chats” and not a documented process .

Here’s my recommendation: When creating your process documentation, highlight the major areas where mistakes are commonly made so that your employees are aware ahead of time and are less likely to make them.

Effective employee training and education

With process documentation, you can easily enlighten new hires on a company’s processes, systems and tools. Existing team members can also reference the same documents to perform certain tasks, take on new responsibilities, refresh their knowledge of their current roles or even ensure they know all of the steps of a specific task.

Not only does this ensure that everyone is on the same page, but it also improves overall team consistency, improves collaboration and communication, and reduces the time spent on developing and implementing new processes.

Scope of Process Documentation

Business process documentation should be part of a framework — where your organization’s processes, policies and procedures are all stored, interconnected and aligned to achieve unilateral business results. A rule of thumb is that they should be kept in one central location and reference one another.

So, what does the scope of process documentation look like?

To give you further perspective, imagine you’re on a journey:

Your Policy is the traffic laws that regulate your behavior on the road regarding speed, traffic lights, stop signs, and other road rules and regulations. Simply, your policies keep your car (company), driver (key stakeholders) and passengers (employees) safe.

Your Process is the map that gives a layout of the routes to follow from the start of your journey to the end of your trip, including any route stops you might take. 

Your Procedure is the detailed steps you would take regarding the streets, roads, highways or tolls you must travel through before getting to your destination. Think of your procedures as the sat-nav instructions in your car that tells you which way to go.

5 Process Documentation Challenges

Product documentation isn't just a technical requirement. It requires a range of assets, different departments and skills necessary to create and maintain them — all of which could paint a difficult picture.

In this section, we’ll examine the top five process documentation challenges organizations face daily.

Document security is one of the top process documentation challenges that organizations face today, especially for those looking to document trade secrets. To run a successful business and achieve operational efficiency, there’s a high chance that you’ve created intellectual properties, valuable data or paperwork that must be safeguarded against unauthorized access.

For DevOps managers who operate digitally, you must keep an eye on who accesses each document type. A rule of thumb is to create a spreadsheet with document categories as rows and user groups as columns. This would give you information on the groups that have access to certain documents.

Managing a lot of process documentation can be complicated, especially when you consider the volume in circulation. From work instructions to product sheets and presentations and maintenance manuals — all of these assets require high visualization to become effective and help employees perform their best jobs. These variables can present a complex matrix; difficult for any team to have control over.

Digital file management confusion

Many organizations rely on certain individuals to handle their digital documents in the absence of process documentation software. The end result is usually chaos — which can include trouble finding documents, overriding other people’s changes, duplicating content distributed in many places or even working on non-active document versions. Using a process documentation tool like Scribe allows you to set up a universal file roadmap, define process documentation standards, and enable document revisions and storage; plus easy access to them.

Document traceability

One of the biggest challenges of process documentation is the ability to trace documents throughout their lifecycle. Ideally, you should be able to determine the status of any document, monitor the changes made, determine its authorization or lack thereof, whether it’s been shared with the necessary stakeholders, etc. 

Accessibility challenges

Remote work is the new working model for many businesses. Therefore, remote employees want to access their documents from anywhere, at any time. While working with paper documents could have been the norm before the pandemic, COVID-19 has clearly shown that digitizing all company activities should be the norm. 

With the right process documentation platform like Scribe , it’s easier to read and access documents via laptop or desktop.

Scribe For Process Documentation

Process documentation software like Scribe offers a centralized library of information that allows your DevOps team to store your process documentation and access it easily.

Some of Scribe’s intuitive features include

Easy editing — allows the admin or editor to add flowcharts, videos, gifs and other visual elements.

Ai-powered search — scribe allows you to easily search for specific information, without wasting time., sharing and collaboration — with scribe, you can easily communicate and collaborate with team members on sharing documents and peer reviews. , organizing content — process documents can easily be organized more clearly and filed under different, appropriate categories., document redaction — scribe allows you to search for and remove text, images and other content containing private, sensitive, or confidential information. .

Learning how to write process documentation begins with effectively mastering its components, acknowledging its benefits and following process documentation best practices . With time and proper care, documenting your business processes would help your organization eliminate confusion and bottlenecks, increase productivity and operate efficiently.

Cheers to setting the stage for ambitious BPM initiatives!

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write how process

The encyclopedia for writers, researchers, and knowledge workers

The Writing Process – Research on Composing

write how process

Just as a banyan tree starts as a seed and grows into a massive structure over time, the writing process may begin with a sense of an idea or a feeling about something, “a felt sense.” The aerial roots of a banyan tree grow downwards from its branches and eventually take root in the ground. A single tree can grow into a network of branches and aerial roots as large as 4.7 acres. Once they touch the soil, the aerial roots thicken and become secondary trunks--and these trunks eventually strangle the original tree. Similarly, the writing process is an act of metamorphosis: writers use the composing process to think through topics: writers often begin with one idea in mind but then come to reject it as they critically review it and receive feedback from audiences. Photo: Moxley

Synonymous Terms

Composing process.

In writing studies , the writing process may also be known as the composing process . This may be due to the dramatic influence of Janet Emig’s (1971) dissertation, The Composing Processes of Twelfth Graders . Emig’s research employed think-aloud protocols and case-study methods to explore the composing processes of high school students.

Creative Process

In creative writing and literature, the writing process may be known as the creative process .

In the arts and humanities the term creative process is reserved for artistic works, such as paintings, sculptures, performance art, films, and works of literature.

Related Concepts: Composition Studies ; Creativity; Felt Sense ; Growth Mindset ; Habits of Mind ; Intellectual Openness ; Professionalism and Work Ethic ; Resilience ; Self Regulation & Metacognition

What is the Writing Process?

The writing process refers to everything you do in order to complete a writing project.

People experience and define the writing process differently, according to their historical period, literacy history, knowledge of writing tools, media , genres — and more.

One of the takeaways from research on composing is that we’ve learned writers develop their own idiosyncratic approaches to getting the work done. When it comes to how we all develop, research , and communicate information , we are all special snowflakes. For example,

Research on composing processes conducted over the past 60 years has led to three major distinct ways of defining and conceptualizing the writing process:

1. The writing process refers to writing process steps

The writing process is often characterized as a series of steps or stages. During the elementary and middle-school years, teachers define the writing process simply as prewriting , drafting , revising , and editing . Later, in high-school and college, as writing assignments become more challenging, teachers introduce additional writing steps: invention , research , collaboration , designing , organizing , proofreading , and sharing or proofreading.

2. The writing process refers to Problem-Solving Strategies

As an alternative to imagining the writing process to be a series of steps or stages that writers work through in linear manner, Linda Flower and John Hayes suggested in 1977 that writing should be thought of as a “thinking problem,” a “problem-solving process,” a “cognitive problem solving process,” or a “goal-directed thinking process.”

3. The writing process refers to the act of making composing decisions based on flow, felt sense and other elements of embodied knowledge

For some writers, viewing the writing process as a series of steps or problems feels to mechanistic, impersonal and formulaic. Rather than view that the writing process to be a series of writing steps or problem solving strategies , Sondra Perl , an English professor, suggests that composing is largely a process of listening to one’s felt sense — one’s “bodily awareness of a situation or person or event:

“A felt sense doesn’t come to you in the form of thoughts or words or other separate units, but as a single (though often puzzling and very complex) bodily feeling”. (Gendlin 1981, 32-33)

write how process

What are Writing Process Steps?

In elementary and middle schools in the U.S., the writing process is often simplified and presented at four or five key steps: prewriting , writing , revising , and editing –and sometimes and publishing or sharing . As students progress through school, the writing process is presented in increasingly complex ways. By high school, teachers present “the writing process steps” as

Is there one perfect way to work with the writing process?

No, there is no one ideal writing process. The steps of the writing process a writer engages in vary from project to project. At times  composing  may be fairly simple. Some situations  require little planning ,  research ,  revising  or  editing , such as

Over time, writers develop their own unique writing processes. Through trial and error, people can learn what works for them.

Composing  may be especially challenging

What are the main factors that effect how writers compose documents?

Writers adjust their writing process in response to

Why Does the Writing Process Matter?

The writing processes that you use to compose documents play a significant role in determining whether your communications are successful. If you truncate your writing process, you are likely to run out of the time you need to write with clarity and authority .

[ For an example of  process pedagogy , see  professional writing , which breaks the processes involved in writing a recommendation report down into a 15-week schedule. ]

Do experienced writers compose in different ways than inexperienced writers?

Yes. Experienced writers engage in more substantive, robust writing processes than less experienced writers.

What is Process Pedagogy?

Process pedagogy, which is also known as the process movement, emerged in the United States during the late 1960s and early 1970s. In The Making of Knowledge in Composition , Steve North (1987) links the emergence of process pedagogy to

Additionally, process pedagogy emerged in response to dissatisfaction with traditional, product-oriented approaches to teaching writing. In the current-traditional paradigm of writing, the focus of the classroom was on “the composed product rather than the composing process; the analysis of discourse into words, sentences, and paragraphs; the classification of discourse into description, narration, exposition, and argument; the strong concern with usage (syntax, spelling, punctuation) and with style (economy, clarity, emphasis)” (Young, 1978, p. 25).

The process movement reflected a sea change on the part of middle schools, high schools, and universities in the U.S. Traditionally, classroom instruction focused on analysis and critique of the great works of literature:

“The student is (a) exposed to the formal descriptive categories of rhetoric (modes of argument –definition, cause and effect, etc. — and modes of discourse — description, persuasion, etc.), (b) offered good examples (usually professional ones) and bad examples (usually his/her own) and (c) encouraged to absorb the features of a socially approved style, with emphasis on grammar and usage. We help our students analyze the product, but we leave the process of writing up to inspiration” (Flower and Hayes, 1977, p. 449).

In contrast to putting the focus of class time on analyzing great literary works,  the canon , process pedagogy calls for teachers to put the emphasis on the students’ writing:

What does “teach the process and not the product mean”?

“Teach the process not the product ” is both the title of a Donald Murray (1972) article and the mantra of the writing process movement, which emerged during the 1960s.

The mantra to teach the process not the product emerged in response to the research and scholarship conducted by Donald Murray, Janet Emig, Peter Elbow, Ann Berthoff, Nancy Sommers, Sondra Perl, John Hayes and Linda Flower.

This Model of Process Pedagogy illustrates the role of feedback in document development

What does it mean to describe the writing process as recursive ?

The term  recursive writing process  simply means that writers jump around from one activity to another when  composing . For instance, when first drafting a document, a writer may pause to reread something she wrote. That might trigger a new idea that shoots her back to Google Scholar or some other database suitable for  strategic searching .

How do researchers study the writing process?

The writing process is a major subject of study of researchers and scholars in the fields of composition studies , communication, writing studies , and AI (artificial intelligence).

The writing process  is something of a black box: investigators can see  inputs  (e.g., time on task) or  outputs  (e.g.,  written discourse ), yet they cannot  empirically observe  the internal workings of the writer’s mind.

At the end of the day investigators have to jump from what they observe to making informed guesses about what is really going on in the writer. Even if investigators ask a writer to talk out loud about what they are thinking as they compose , the investigators can only hear what the writer is saying: they cannot see the internal machinations associated with the writer’s thoughts. If a writer goes mute, freezes, and just stares blankly at the computer screen, investigators cannot really know what’s going on. They can only speculate about how the brain functions.

Research Methods

To study or theorize about the writing process, investigators may use a variety of research methods .

Works Cited

Doherty, M. (2016, September 4). 10 things you need to know about banyan trees. Under the Banyan. https://underthebanyan.blog/2016/09/04/10-things-you-need-to-know-about-banyan-trees/

Emig, J. (1967). On teaching composition: Some hypotheses as definitions. Research in The Teaching of English, 1(2), 127-135. Retrieved from http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED022783.pdf

Emig, J. (1971). The composing processes of twelfth graders (Research Report No. 13). Urbana, IL: National Council of Teachers of English.

Emig, J. (1983). The web of meaning: Essays on writing, teaching, learning and thinking. Upper Montclair, NJ: Boynton/Cook Publishers, Inc.

Ghiselin, B. (Ed.). (1985). The Creative Process: Reflections on the Invention in the Arts and Sciences . University of California Press.

Hayes, J. R., & Flower, L. (1980). Identifying the Organization of Writing Processes. In L. W. Gregg, & E. R. Steinberg (Eds.), Cognitive Processes in Writing: An Interdisciplinary Approach (pp. 3-30). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.  

Hayes, J. R. (2012). Modeling and remodeling writing. Written Communication, 29(3), 369-388. https://doi: 10.1177/0741088312451260

Hayes, J. R., & Flower, L. S. (1986). Writing research and the writer. American Psychologist, 41(10), 1106-1113. https://doi.org/10.1037/0003-066X.41.10.1106

Leijten, Van Waes, L., Schriver, K., & Hayes, J. R. (2014). Writing in the workplace: Constructing documents using multiple digital sources. Journal of Writing Research, 5(3), 285–337. https://doi.org/10.17239/jowr-2014.05.03.3

Lundstrom, K., Babcock, R. D., & McAlister, K. (2023). Collaboration in writing: Examining the role of experience in successful team writing projects. Journal of Writing Research, 15(1), 89-115. https://doi.org/10.17239/jowr-2023.15.01.05

National Research Council. (2012). Education for Life and Work: Developing Transferable Knowledge and Skills in the 21st Century . Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.https://doi.org/10.17226/13398.

North, S. M. (1987). The making of knowledge in composition: Portrait of an emerging field. Boynton/Cook Publishers.

Murray, Donald M. (1980). Writing as process: How writing finds its own meaning. In Timothy R. Donovan & Ben McClelland (Eds.), Eight approaches to teaching composition (pp. 3–20). National Council of Teachers of English.

Murray, Donald M. (1972). “Teach Writing as a Process Not Product.” The Leaflet, 11-14

Perry, S. K. (1996).  When time stops: How creative writers experience entry into the flow state  (Order No. 9805789). Available from ProQuest Dissertations & Theses A&I; ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global. (304288035). https://www.proquest.com/dissertations-theses/when-time-stops-how-creative-writers-experience/docview/304288035/se-2

Rohman, D.G., & Wlecke, A. O. (1964). Pre-writing: The construction and application of models for concept formation in writing (Cooperative Research Project No. 2174). East Lansing, MI: Michigan State University.

Rohman, D. G., & Wlecke, A. O. (1975). Pre-writing: The construction and application of models for concept formation in writing (Cooperative Research Project No. 2174). U.S. Office of Education, Department of Health, Education, and Welfare.

Sommers, N. (1980). Revision Strategies of Student Writers and Experienced Adult Writers. College Composition and Communication, 31(4), 378-388. doi: 10.2307/356600

Vygotsky, L. (1962).  Thought and language.  (E. Hanfmann & G. Vakar, Eds.). MIT Press.  https://doi.org/10.1037/11193-000

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How to Write a Process Essay: Useful Tips and Examples

Process essay

Table of contents

A process essay is a type of expository writing that explains a series of steps or procedures to achieve a particular outcome or complete a task. It provides detailed, step-by-step guidelines for the reader to follow.

If you want to understand how to write a “how to” essay, the best solution is to turn for help to the professional academic essay writers with a rich writing experience. Review this article, which contains everything a student should know before writing your process essay. 

What Is a Process Essay: Definition

Before learning how to write a process paper of A level, it is critical to define the term. A process essay refers to the type of academic writing which contains a detailed description of the particular process in the shape of the step-by-step guide. This form of essay is popular in business & technical writing. Some of the best examples of process essays include:

Students should test the process themselves before writing an instruction or manual. It would be the best answer to the question “ what is a process essay ?”

Process Essay Outline: Structuring Your Paper

There is not much to say about the process essay outline because structure repeats steps required to complete a certain procedure. Having an outline is helpful in any situation associated with academic writing. Put down every stage in chronological order. Once the student has an outline, they may later add some details depending on the process development to come up with the whole body. Maybe you will ask " How to structure an essay of this type?" The structure of a process outline is common:

The length of a “how to” essay depends on whether the chosen procedure is time-consuming or not. Do not pick something extra fast not to have a few-sentence essay in the end.

Process Essay Introduction

Let’s talk a little about the process essay introduction. It does not matter whether an essay is describing the way to get chocolate out of milk and coconuts, explaining some procedure of vaccination, or interpreting steps required to write a book. It is important to identify the target audience from the start! If it is an average user, avoid difficult terms. In case you write to satisfy the curiosity of advanced users, do not mind including various professional terms to prove your competence in the chosen field. Do not worry about structure. The best thing about this type of academic assignment is that step-by-step process itself provides a student with correct structure. Still, experts recommend having an outline. Would you like to know good ways to start an essay of this type? Start an opening paragraph by determining an analyzed procedure and share personal ideas on why this specific process is interesting & important to observe. Formulate a process essay thesis. It is not necessary to cover history or background of some discussed procedure.

Process Essay Body Paragraph

Do not include any details that do not relate to the process itself. If some required tools & equipment are rare, tell readers some ways to get these resources. Write down warnings about possible safety hazards to prevent readers from falling into trap/injuring. Describing steps alone might be dull. To enrich your writing, add some common mistakes to avoid. And provide helpful tips to make this process simpler & quicker. Main body of a process essay is usually written in chronological order. Add every step in chronological order with the help of clear words. If there are similar steps or those that can be performed at different stages, mention it to acknowledge the reader. To prevent confusing situations/failures, experts recommend subdividing the steps of especially long processes (example: Step 1A, 1B, etc.) Professional hint from essay order experts!

“A good process essay always uses the second person – “you.” It sounds more personal, and readers trust its writer. Be ready to apply a plenty of transitional words & phrases! They make this procedure description logical and clear to every reader. Try to insert different transitions to prevent text from being repetitive. During the process of writing an instruction or manual, do steps described in text to check whether everything works the way it should before offering the same actions to your target audience.” Professor Pryce, academic counselor and online writing tutors at StudyCrumb

Writing Process Essay Conclusion

Let’s see how to end writing a how-to essay. By the end of an instruction, reader/user must be able to repeat provided actions to activate the process or solve some problem alone. If readers cannot do that, it means that writer failed giving clear, correct instructions. How to start a conclusion in an essay ? Do it with some short review of an entire process from A to Z. It will help readers recall what they were doing, how long, and what expected results should be. While body paragraphs provide detailed interpretation of each stage, a conclusion must contain a single short sentence summarizing every step of a process. It should look like an opening sentence of this article.  

How to Write a Process Essay: 10 Simple Steps

Process essay writing is not a difficult task. Even though a process essay is easy to write, it is crucial to know the essential steps of writing. Knowing all nuts and bolts will help you write an article quickly and correctly. Below you will find 10 basic steps you should know to write an outstanding process essay. Step 1:  Think of some topic you want to write about. What interests you most? What will be useful for your readers? Consider all these questions and create the best topic. Browse our process essay topics we prepared for our users.  Step 2:  Start your research. Look for some sources that have relevant information. Collect all important data. Step 3:  Read sources you collected carefully and analyze information. Make notes when reading and have quick access to needed information. Step 4:  Create an outline for your paper. Plan your future paragraphs beforehand. Step 5:  Collect all parts of your guide together and think what you may add to the main body. Write body paragraphs. Step 6:  It is not a good idea to compose your introduction at the beginning. Start writing your introduction paragraph only after you have main part. Step 7:  Don’t forget about a strong hook for your paper. It should be concise, informative, and grab attention of your reader. Step 8:  Finally, summarize all points you mentioned in your text and create your conclusion. Highlight the result again. Show readers what they will get after they follow all steps mentioned in your essay. Step 9:  After all these steps are done, create a catchy and informative title. It should not only display what your essay is about but also grab your reader's attention and make them want to read your guide. Step 10: Proofread your process essay and edit mistakes. Read your text again, check for typos and grammar mistakes. Make sure it is readable and understandable. Following these steps will help you create a truly brilliant process essay that you will get an A+ for. Buy essays papers to enjoy even higher odds to succeed with your submission.

Helpful Tips on How to Write a Process Paper

While writing this type of academic essay, recall these professional tips & tricks and earn A+!

Interesting Process Essay Examples

Of course, we won’t leave you without a real example of a process essay. Only reading this article may not be enough. Before you start your writing, it is better to look at how other students organized similar works. Here is one of professional how-to essay examples shared by college students.

If you want a similar essay customized to your needs, just say " write my essays " and StudyCrumb will provide tailored assistance. Our writers prepare such orders daily and know how to make your process essay beautiful. 

How to Write a Perfect Process Essay: Final Thoughts

As you see, writing a professional essay is not as difficult as you might think. This type of essay does not require some special writing skills or use of high academic language . So following our simple tips we provided in our article will help you create an excellent essay that will guide readers through some steps easily.

Get in touch with our essay writing service and have your assignment done with great quality in mind.  

Frequently Asked Questions about Process Essay

1. what are good transition words for process essay.

The most appropriate process essay transition words are ones that help readers distinguish different stages of a guide described in your essay. To define stages of your paper try using following transition words:

2. How to write a thesis of a process essay?

Thesis statement for process essay should be clear, concise, and informative. In your thesis you should briefly inform a reader of result they will get after reading your guide and following all steps. Mention benefits readers will gain.

3. What is a process essay outline example?

Process essay outline example may look as follows:

4. What are final steps after finishing writing process essay?

After you finished writing your process essay, you still should edit and proofread your text:


Daniel Howard is an Essay Writing guru. He helps students create essays that will strike a chord with the readers.

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  1. How to Write a Process Essay: 15 Steps (with Pictures)

    A process essay, otherwise known as a how-to essay, tells a reader how to perform a particular task. The best process essays follow a clear step-by-step organization. Start by providing your reader with a time estimate and general summary of the task

  2. How to Write Process Documentation

    Define the criteria that trigger the process. Establish a timeline from the beginning of the process to its completion. Define the results that confirm the process is completed successfully. Clear boundaries make it much easier to properly document

  3. Inside the Writing Process of 10 Successful Reporters

    As he told us,“The writing is actually the shortest part in my experience,” so long as you adhere to a process. It's important to keep all those notes—you want to have them handy in case they end up coming of use later in the writing process

  4. How to Write Process Documentation

    Writing process documentation is essential for any business. According to Gerber, “once you create your company's process documentation, it's easier to empower your low-skilled workers to easily complete tasks and tick off boxes on their checklists.”

  5. How to Write a Process Essay: Everything You Need to Know

    Students should test the process themselves before writing an instruction or manual. During the process of writing an instruction or manual, do steps described in text to check whether everything works the way