Documenting tasks for RPA

As a Software Robot Developer, you know that to automate a process, you need to understand it first. And preferably document it! You sit down with Maria and interview her to understand what her weekly task involves.

Each week, Maria gets the sales data from the RobotSpareBin online sales application. It was set up long ago and does not have fancy integrations with other systems. Maria is grateful that the system can export the weekly sales data in an Excel file:

The Excel file in all its glory

After downloading the Excel file, she goes to the intranet at

She logs in and starts adding the data for the week for each sales representative. She enters their first and last names, the value of sales they managed for the week, and their weekly target:

Entering sales data to RobotSpareBin intranet

After hours of copypasting the intranet page is up-to-date and looks something like this:

All sales data finally entered!

Maria, after a while, realized that employees do not visit the intranet that often and thus miss the important sales summary reports. As a solution, she decided to take a screenshot of the page and add that to the weekly newsletter that she sent to everyone. She found a way of making a PDF file out of it, but again it's a lot of copypasting and fiddling with different software.

You propose then to add this part to the robot as well!

Documenting the process

As a professional, you want to have good-enough documentation for your automation project. Also, you know you will never remember all of this if you don't write it down.

You fire up Word and create a Process Definition Document to describe the process accurately:


Download the Process Definition Document and skim through it (no need to spend time reading it now!).

The example PDD will give you a general idea of what a somewhat official traditional documentation might look like. Some projects are fine with just a tiny bit of documentation, and some require strict reviews and sign-offs. Choose the level of documentation that makes sense in your projects!

When you will be rocking your own robotic process automation projects, you won't need to start from scratch creating your PDDs.

Now you have all the information you need. Let's start building the robot!

What we learned

  • Before automating a process, it is a good idea to understand it and then document it.
  • A Process Definition Document is an example of a traditional heavy-weight way to describe processes.
  • You can use our templates to create your next Process Definition Document.
  • The level of good-enough documentation varies. Some projects are fine with just a tiny bit of documentation.