I have posted previously about the value of having documented procedures and you can read all about why here.
And while it is important to have documented procedures, it is doubly important to ensure that they are well written. If not, they might be just as useful as not having one, which isn’t very useful at all!
So what are some of the key elements to have in a procedure? And how should one be written?
Well both of those will depend on what the procedure is for, who needs to use it and where they need to use it.
The level of detail to include will be dependent on the complexity of the task and the assumed or prior knowledge of the user. The more complex the task, or the less knowledge the user has, the more detail you should include.
Sometimes a flow chart or a series of pictures may be enough to have as a procedure. Sometimes the flowchart or the pictures will need to accompany a written description to provide more clarity. And the written description could range from a few words to a lengthy set of instructions.
If the procedure is to instruct someone on how to assemble an item, for example a shipping container, then it will be of value to include a list of items that they will need before they can proceed. It is much more efficient to gather everything you need before you start than it is to find it as you go!
It is also important to be clear on responsibilities within the procedure, particularly if you are writing it to cover a process that is completed by multiple personnel of differing authorities.
When it comes to writing it, you should aim to have input from personnel who will be responsible for using it. Especially if it is an established process that you are only just now deciding to document.
Be sure to get the instructions written in the order they are expected to be performed. Sounds obvious right?! But you would be surprised at how many procedures I have had to re-write because they weren’t written in sequential steps!
And my final point, which may seem to have little value, is to make sure your formatting is consistent and clear! While it can seemingly be the least important point to consider, formatting can end up being one of the most important as you want the user to be able to read and follow your procedure as simply as possible!
So are you ready to start writing a procedure for something you need to document?
Do you need guidance to get started?
Or would you prefer to have someone with more experience write it for you?
If you answered yes to any of those, then be sure to reach out to me for expert guidance on writing a procedure. I’ve been writing them for almost twenty years, so I am sure that I can provide you with the expertise that you need!