Documenting your Core Processes is easy when you follow an Order of Operations

Posted by Walt Brown on Jan 5, 2022 2:44:30 PM

Documenting your Core Processes is easy when you follow an Order of Operations.

“Without Process there is no consistency, no scalability, no profitability and finally, no peace-of-mind.” 

"We need to systemize the predictable and humanize the exceptional"

Gino Wickman, Creator of EOS® Author of Traction

Where do our Core Processes exist?  Where are our SOPs aka our WiPPs - Work Instructions, Procedures, Policies? 

For most clients, they exist in the ether between the ears of our best employees.  It is tribal knowledge, our long-term employees “just know” what needs to get done and they do it.

That is the good news, we have SOPs / WiPPs and Core Processes - they exist! - Unfortunately, they are invisible - trapped in the impenetrable ether, behind the cloak of tribal knowledge.

Every company’s challenge is the same: “How do we get them out into the open, how do we get them documented so they can be shared, improved, and ultimately - Followed By All? 

How? That's easy, just like in Math there is an Order of Operations. Who remembers PEMDAS? - Parenthesis, Exponents, Multiplication, Division, Addition, Subtraction for attacking a math equation?  PEMDAS is the Order of Operations we follow to solve math equations. The same every time, and it works.

(Below is an example of what documenting processes can feel like if we do not have an Order of Operations.)

As an Organizational Cognizance® Coach, the acronym we use to outline the Order of Operations for harvesting our WiPPs (SOPs) and Core Processes is JR WiPPP  [Jobs, Roles, - (Work Instructions, Procedures, Policies) - Process], that is the order and the secret.


A quick outline to show you how JR WiPPP works.

In groups, with the real people who hold the WiPPs / SOPs and Core Processes in the ether between their ears, the people who are actually doing the work, we facilitate the following steps. In order! 

    1. J - We define and name Jobs, getting on the same page around the purpose of each Job.
    2. R - Then we discover and name ALL of the Roles that attach to each Seat, understanding the purpose of each Role. This full inventory, defining All of the Roles on a granular level is where cognizance and ah-ha magic happen. We teach our clients how to do this by using a facilitation method we call The Flower Power Exercise™ - which requires between 20 and 30 minutes per unique Seat. If you are running on EOS, you have a good start, this work will take you a bit deeper than your 5 primary Roles.
    3. WiPP - With this granular inventory of Roles in hand, we ask: “What Work Instructions, Procedures, Policies (WiPPs or SOPs.) are followed/used when doing this Role?”  This is where the second bit of cognizance magic comes to life - all of a sudden you will have a list of your WiPPs.
    4. P - Once these WIPPs are out in the open and named, you will find that they naturally self-arrange themselves into your Core Processes. We ask: “Does this WiPP depend on, feed, or inform any other Roles or WIPPs?” When we become aware of these handoffs and interdependencies, especially between functional areas/departments, we create our first real cognizance of the list of the Core Processes that need to be named and documented. These interaction chains are the intersections and turns we capture and map to create the critical Core Processes that are running through our organization, stitching it together.

Big Note 1: Cart and horse. Your horse, the thing doing all of the work is your granular inventory of Roles that are being played from each Job.  Without the horse, you are wasting your time and will be left with a poorly built cart that really does not align to what you do on a daily basis.  Always start with your Roles, they have to be alive to guide the cart construction and to pull the cart.

Big Note 2: It is easy to over-complicate this work. Not every WiPP that is performed or followed by a Role has to be attached to a Core Process.  This is where folks get wrapped around the axle. We certainly need to capture and document our WiPPs so people know how to do their Jobs via Roles, however, they do not necessarily have to be tied to a Core Process.

Big Note 3: What is the order of Core Process mapping priority? The critical Core Processes that need to be captured and mapped are those that require functional area / interdepartmental handoffs, interactions, approvals. Kind of common sense, “let’s find where the gaps happen between functional areas/departments and close them.”


“Killing four birds with one stone”.  I hope you are seeing how we are “killing four birds with one stone”.  In the end, we will have a clear, complete picture, not only will we have a complete inventory of all of the Roles being played in the organization (1) these Roles will be tied to WiPPs that are followed (2), we will know which Roles via WiPPS attach to our Core Processes (3), and finally, we can map this all back to the person, the individual who is actually doing the work (4), the chain is unbroken.


To reiterate #4, THE most impactful benefit from following the JR WiPPP Order of Operations is the answer to “Who participates in this Process?”

Rhetorical question to make my point:  “Who follows Work Instructions, Procedures and Policies and who participates in a Process?”

Answer: “People!”

With the JR WiPPP Order of Operations complete and our Core Processes documented, we will know who to turn to and who to include to improve and IDS our Process issues.

Hope this helps get you moving.

Topics: Organizational Cognizance

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