Solution Design Documents, otherwise known as SDD templates, lay the groundwork for success for your automation program. The way you design, store, and manage SDD templates can be a game-changer — improving efficiency, minimizing opportunities for error, and streamlining processes.
Whether you’re getting ready to create an SDD template for your first automation program or your hundredth, you’ve come to the right place. In this article we’ll explore considerations and best practices in SDD templates — their creation, storage, and management — at every phase of your automation program, from Start to Accelerate to Scale.
Introduction to SDD Templates
Before we dive into specific phases, let’s first establish what an SDD template is. A Solution Design Document (SDD) outlines your end result, or what the process will look like once it’s automated. It serves as a technical guide for the developer, and contains important details like key process steps and how they will be automated, the applications involved, and even how exceptions should be handled.
SDD Templates: Start Phase Considerations
If you’re just getting started in your automation program, you’re in an excellent position to establish frameworks that will set you up for success. Trust us, it’s going to make your life much easier. Here are some SDD template considerations for the Start phase of your automation program.
Create an effective SDD template
Creating an SDD template is a process that shouldn’t be rushed. A well-designed SDD template is both standardized and reusable. Some best practices include:
- Incorporate modular components
- Use clear instructions
- Optimize configuration settings
Learn more about creating SDD templates, and access our library of templates, here.
Establish a storage and organization system
It may seem unnecessary to establish a robust organization system when you only have a handful of automation projects, but trust us when we say that future you will appreciate that today you did your due diligence from the start.
Create and document a system that works best for your teams and processes — a logical folder structure, a tagging system, etc. This organization will ensure easy SDD template retrieval and minimize the chances of duplications or misplaced templates. By implementing an efficient storage and organization strategy from the outset, you set the stage for seamless template management.
SDD Templates: Accelerate Phase Considerations
Just as you start to hit your SDD template stride, you’ll likely face some hiccups as you grow. Your focus in this phase should be on optimizing for your growth and seeking opportunities for improvement.
Implement version control processes
Imagine spending several hours working on a project, only to discover that everything was based on an outdated SDD template. Version control can prevent this frustrating situation, saving your team from wasted time (and headaches).
What is version control? Version control is the process of tracking and managing different versions (or drafts) of your template. Keeping track of template changes and updates helps maintain transparency, ensure compliance, and facilitate better collaboration among team members.
Learn how to enable version control in the Automation Anywhere Control Room here.
Establish template governance
Template governance involves setting rules and protocols for SDD template creation, approval processes, version control, access permissions, content standards, and maintaining the overall quality and integrity of the templates. It assigns ownership and responsibilities to relevant stakeholders, empowering them to make informed decisions regarding template modifications, reviews, and approvals. By establishing clear governance, you create a framework for efficient template management.
Ensure continuous improvement
No system is perfect. There’s no “set it and forget it” here — it’s important to regularly review and optimize your SDD templates and processes to maintain their relevance and effectiveness. Plan and schedule periodic SDD template audits to identify opportunities for improvement. Lean on feedback from team members to make enhancements over time.
SDD Templates: Scale Phase Considerations
In this phase, your focus should be on optimizing for growth, with strategies and solutions tailored to larger teams managing a larger volume of SDD templates.
Implement scalable storage solutions
As your program starts getting bigger and better, your volume of templates grows exponentially. To save yourself from SDD template overload, consider leveraging scalable storage solutions such as cloud-based repositories or document management systems. These solutions offer the flexibility, scalability, and accessibility required for large-scale template management.
Make it easy to find templates through categorization and search
As your automation program scales, organization becomes even more important. Instead of digging through endless folders or wasting time on wild goose chases, make it easy to find the exact template you need through effective categorization and tagging. By implementing metadata and search functionalities, you’ll facilitate quick and accurate template discovery — saving yourself and your teammates valuable time and effort.
Facilitate collaboration and knowledge sharing
If you’re in the Scale phase, you probably have a large automation team. And those team members have valuable experience, expertise, and perspectives that shouldn’t be locked up in silos. Instead, foster a culture of collaboration and knowledge sharing. Consider setting up a knowledge-sharing platform or community that empowers individuals to shine, share, and learn from each other. Exchange best practices. Share lessons learned. Showcase innovative SDD template designs. And watch collective growth and success unfold.
Conclusion & Key Takeaways
Creating, organizing, and managing SDD templates can be a heavy lift upfront, but will save you a lot of time and effort in the long-run. Whether you’re in the Start, Accelerate, or Scale phase of your automation program, optimizing your SDD processes can improve efficiencies and set you up for repeatable success.
Here are some key takeaways:
- A Solution Design Document (SDD) outlines your end result, or what the process will look like once it’s automated.
- SDD templates should be standardized and reusable.
- SDD templates should have an established organization system appropriate for your volume and size — folders, tagging, searchability, etc.
- Empower team members working with SDD templates by establishing clear roles and creating spaces for collaboration and knowledge sharing.