Our vision | AirManual
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Our vision

Have you ever wondered why processes don't get documented? Why new joiners struggle to get up to speed? Why the same mistakes keep happening?

We have, and we found a solution. We're working hard to share this with you. Read on to see our motivations and our manifesto for supporting you.

The end goal

When you document a process or training, you create a starting point.

Where before there was nothing, now a new team member can use this resource and see the key steps involved.

If anything is unclear, then they can ask questions, and the process can be improved so the same questions don't come up next time.

Slowly but surely, your processes start to improve:

  • Common mistakes are identified, and these are addressed by adding tips and warnings to the process.
  • Team members spot opportunities to make the processes more efficient, skipping unnecessary meetings and freeing up time for the fun stuff.
  • Processes that only happen once a year get documented too, and they start taking minutes rather than hours.

Over time, the whole company begins to work just... like... clockwork!

This isn't a fantasy.

This is how we've been running our own companies for the last decade.

It's also not a secret — it's covered extensively in best–selling business books like Traction, Clockwork, The Checklist Manifesto and many more.

But sadly, it's not yet the norm.

Why teams struggle

There's no obvious tool

Some processes need a lot of guidance. Some need data collection. Some need automation. And some just need a few bullet points to remind people of the key steps.

There's no obvious tool that can support all of these needs, so you end up using a document for one process, and a spreadsheet for the next.

While automation sounds nice, it's likely to involve another tool and workflow diagrams that will be difficult to maintain, so you scrap that aspiration. And anything that just needs a few bullets doesn't get documented at all as your colleagues probably won't know where to find it.

The first draft takes too long

Having decided to use a document, you capture the key points in a list of bullet points.

It feels silly sending over a document with just a few bullet points, so you pad it out with additional guidance which will probably be helpful, but eats up an hour of your time instead of a few minutes.

You add in a table to make it easier to review, but the column widths aren't playing nicely. So you now spend another 30 minutes trying to make it look pretty — or at least professional 😬

Eventually you can share it with a colleague, and after just a few months of iteration, the process goes live!

Colleagues don't feel comfortable suggesting updates

At this point, it feels like the job is done.

But the first version of your process should really just be the starting point. There will be opportunities to make the documented process both more effective and more efficient.

Ideally, you want the people using the process on a regular basis to suggest changes immediately.

But in practice, other team members won't feel comfortable making updates which they worry will cause unforeseen issues. And they also won't feel comfortable suggesting changes that could distract you from your other tasks.

The AirManual Manifesto

We believe there's a better way, and it needs to start with a better tool.

This is our manifesto for delivering it to you. We welcome all questions and feedback — please do get in touch!

A first draft in minutes, not hours

The pareto principle tells us we can get 80% of the benefit with 20% of the effort. That proves to be true with documenting processes — sharing the first version is always the most important step. It may already be good enough, and if not it's a starting point to iterate on in future.

Key features

Create your first draft in a document editor, perhaps as a simple checklist
Publish your first draft immediately if it's good enough — you can always make further improvements later
It's easy to make changes later, and end-users can give feedback and suggest changes!

Create resources that look great

Creating professional and engaging resources shouldn't require any special design skills. Users should never lose time fixing the look and feel, or lose sleep worrying about it.

Key features

Everything looks great by default — save yourself hours in trying to make a Word document or Excel spreadsheet look pretty
Adding images or videos is as simple as copy and pasting the image or a link to the video
Choose relevant images from a royalty-free collection
Coming later in 2023
Annotate screenshots and other images with arrows and text
Coming later in 2023

Make every process feel simple

Every process can feel simple if it's broken down into small steps, with each step providing guidance, useful tips and warnings when needed. Yes — even your tax return.

Key features

Combine interactive checklists with guidance that explains how and why to do each step
Include tips, warnings, images, videos and guidance that can be expanded when needed, without distracting when not
It's trivial to add automated steps like sending emails or triggering other processes, and you can set it all up in our easy-to-use document editor
Coming later in 2023

Empower the whole team

Every team member should feel comfortable drafting a new process and getting it published. Every team member should feel comfortable suggesting changes to existing processes. Teams should never rely on specific individuals to own resources and make updates.

Key features

Creating a new process is trivial for anyone who's used a document editor before — no training required
It's easy to suggest changes to a process or give feedback, without updating the published version
Coming soon
Team members can ask others to review and approve updates before publishing
Coming later in 2023

Automation made simple

Adding automation can feel scary, introducing new systems and workflow diagrams. We want to make it simple — adding a step that sends an email or triggers other processes should be as simple as adding a step with guidance. Everyone on the team should see how it works, and feel comfortable making updates.

Key features

Add process steps that automatically send emails, send data to another system, or trigger another processes
Coming later in 2023
Set up processes that start on a given day of the week or month, or following some other event
Coming later in 2023
Add in logic to only show certain content, or “fork” a process to include different steps based on the data provided
Coming later in 2023

One tool from start to finish

It should be obvious which tool to use for a documenting a new process, and that tool should be the best solution both for the first draft and the scalable solution.

Key features

Use AirManual for your first draft (instead of Word, Google Docs)
Use AirManual to create user friendly guidance and training (instead of Word, Google Docs, PowerPoint)
Use AirManual to collect data (instead of Excel, Google Sheets, SurveyMonkey)
Use AirManual to create automated steps (instead of Zapier)
Coming later in 2023

Collaborate at every stage

It should be trivial to get the right people involved at every stage. Some may help you to design the process, others may give feedback, and yet another may be asked to review and approve the result.

Key features

Invite colleagues to collaborate on designing a process
Let end-users give feedback and suggest changes
Coming soon
Ask for feedback or a formal review and approve step
Coming later in 2023

Find everything in your manual

It should be trivial for people to find processes. Within AirManual, search needs to be the first thing users see, and it needs to work every time. It should be possible to add existing resources and make these searchable too. And if you're team has a home for collaboration like Microsoft Teams, then it should all be available directly from that within that tool.

Key features

Create all of your documents and processes in a single tool (if you'd like to!)
Add external resources to your company manual as links, and and have these accessible via search
Integration with the tools you use for day-to-day collaboration inc. Microsoft Teams and Slack
Coming later in 2023

Ready to scale

Many tools can look great in a small scale demo, but won't scale well when you've got hundreds of processes and thousands of users. AirManual needs to be easy to manage across teams and organizations, secure, and should support compliance with industry standards such as ISO9000.

Key features

Create private spaces at both the organization and team level
Manage roles and permissions in a sensible and scalable way
Coming soon
Single-sign on (SSO) using OIDC
Manage versions and see clear history of past updates, capable of supporting you with ISO standards (e.g. ISO 9000)
Coming later in 2023