Last week, I played "Undercover Boss" without the undercover part :) Our office manager, Debbie, was on vacation, so it seemed like a great opportunity to see If someone else could do her job using the notes and documentation she had left.
So I muddled through the week, asking others a lot questions, and taking at least twice as long as our office manager would have taken to do the same job, but I did it, with only a few mistakes.
It was a good exercise, for a couple of reasons. First, it gives everyone confidence that, if necessary, someone can jump in and get the job done. Second, it is a perfect situation to test out the documentation for the job. Debbie has done a great job of writing detailed instructions with screen shots, but no one has had the opportunity to use it. This is a chance to make sure it is understood by someone not familiar with the duties. Third, it allows someone else to evaluate the process. When someone has done their job for a long time, it is not always easy to see areas where time could be saved or things could be done easier or better.
At Remedi, we frequently get called by customers that have had an EDI Coordinator or Data Integration Specialist suddenly leave their job and they need a consultant to fill in until a permanent resource is found. Obviously, this is a situation you want to avoid, so we recommend job swapping or cross-training or at the very least, documentation, so that someone can fill in without panic.
Although I only did about one-tenth of office manager job, I feel that it was a success, but we'll see the verdict when Debbie returns!