Exchange vzw:“Professional documentation is a must.”

Certain questions pop up very frequently in organizations and companies: how can our current documentation evolve along with our ideas? How can we optimize and professionalize our documentation? How can we gather our existing information and remodel it to a well-organized and efficient unity? As Exchange vzw turned more professional, they felt the indispensable need to search for suitable solutions to these questions. Flow offered the solution.

Exchange vzw is an association without lucrative purpose that wants to create more prosperity and welfare in developing countries through sustainable and inclusive growth. This organization focuses on private sector input given the fact that local entrepreneurs stimulate local growth and employment. To take the next step in their development, they are in need of adequate expertise, which isn’t easy to find.

Exchange offers both to private partners and the organizations linked to them the opportunity to make use of an extended team of voluntary –and for the private sector practically costless – top experts. As a result, local economies are boosted and new opportunities arise for those in search of a job.

Raising the bar

Recently it became a key issue for Exchange vzw to have uniform and structured documentation. “We want to generate growth but -most importantly- work in a more structured, professional manner”, Eline Ghysels, project coordinator at Exchange, states. “Since we work with a large number of volunteers, we regularly create new function and task descriptions to enthuse interested people and, above all, to let them partake in a more professional way.” Yet we soon noticed that it wasn’t easy for our volunteers and internal employees to keep track of the entangled pieces of documentation. That way it became difficult to correctly apply our internal regulations.”

“The documentation of Exchange often lacked a fixed structure or a uniform layout, and failed to reuse recurring information. At times, we were using documentation that was a couple of years old. We noticed that either a lot of information overlapped between different documents or that, on the contrary, not enough information was being provided. In short: our documentation did not tally with the image that we wanted to emit. To alleviate this issue, we got in touch with Flow.” Ghysels recounts.

The Flow-method

Flow put to practice the tried-and-tested method of thorough screenings and analyses, after which they commentated extensively on both the pros and the cons of the documents they received. Next, we presented a roadmap to (re)structure, model and compact Exchange’s knowledge.

“It’s a real eye-opener to see how an external, professional vision has helped advance our documentation.”

A new, uniform template was then constructed based on this screening. In this brand new template, we implemented several different Word styles that were exclusively created for Exchange. Moreover, integrating Exchange’s house style also immediately gave the documentation a new brand image of its own.

A successful marriage

After working on the exterior, Flow took to task the interior of the renewed documentation. By applying the principles of structured writing, we could articulate the content of Exchange’s documentation effectively. As a consequence, the documentation of Exchange turned into a clear, easy to read and more coherent whole. In the new documentation, it IS possible to see the forest for the trees.

In a nutshell: a successful marriage? “It’s a real eye-opener to see how an external, professional vision has helped advance our documentation”, Ghysels mentions in a pleased tone. “Thanks to Flow stepping in, we cannot only improve our documentation for external partners, but also for our co-workers.”