When you’re streamlining a recurring activity, templates are a great way of standardizing document layout and saving time. They’re also a very efficient way to confuse and bug people while looking really official for no particular reason … like the TPS reports from Office Space for instance.
The first thing I do is look for context when I’m asked to do a review, because people may ask for a document template but what they actually want is a business process model to be put in place. They hope the template will be clear enough to anyone to illustrate all the activity that surrounds it, this happens a lot.
A template helps but by itself it’s a very lousy way to communicate what needs to be done. A template is a tool, a work document that is easy to find and easy to use.
These are practical tips I give and the questions I ask people who want to create (hopefully not yet another) document template …
Practical template tips:
Once you get the purpose and the audiences straight it will be a lot easier to decide what will need to go in the template.
Keeping it short and fairly high-level are key. Unless you have a really good reason don’t go into details or hopeful assumptions. Remember that you can always make a new version or add information in complimentary documents once the template is in use.
Social Widgets powered by AB-WebLog.com.