Processes that reside in the mind of one or two people represent a substantial risk to your organization. What would happen if these people were injured or left for a different job? How long would it take you to recover and provide the level of performance you currently expect?
A well-documented process is a valuable tool to train new employees and cross-train current employees.
The lack of clear and accurate process documentation leads to training efforts that suffer from generation loss when employees pass information to other employees from memory. While this oral tradition is a great way of preserving and shaping an organization’s culture, it is a poor way of insuring the delivery of a consistent product or service.
Without usable process documentation, the organization defaults to using oral instructions. Each telling of the "story" is different from the last; details change, or are left out.
In the end, the process is subject to changes that can have a significant impact on how the process is performed. This may be good, or it may be bad, but it is certainly uncontrolled.
These changes are generally hidden from view and are not evaluated in light of the overall objectives of the organization. The first time management hears about them is when there is a major problem with a product or service.