10 Quick Tips For Procedure Documentation

Most software development and process improvement projects involve introducing new ways of working as part of implementation. Creating a procedure document that users can follow thus becomes a key activity for business analysts that needs to be completed so that system users can perform their duties using the new system or process on day one. 

So, what exactly is a procedure and how is this different from a process?

A process in its simplest form, can be described as any activity or set of activities that employs the use of resources to convert inputs into outputs. A process indicates what needs to be done and why. It also tends to be high-level and contains steps which indicate what to do.

Procedures are not divorced from processes but are presented at a lower level of detail. They determine “how” process steps are carried out and represent instructions that can be used for training staff so that they know how key process steps are to be carried out and in what order.

Are you looking to create a procedure document? This article outlines quick tips you can explore below:

  1. Use the appropriate template; review existing procedure documents as the company you are working for may already have organizational process assets relating to procedure documentation. This will help you understand what the standards and expectations are.

  2. Employ the use of visual icons to point out critical information you would like the reader to pay attention to. For example, you may use icons to represent tips, important notes, warning messages, definitions, checklists, exceptions, and the like.

  3. Use the active voice when documenting the steps to be carried out.

  4. A procedure should be concise and contain only the information that is needed to carry out desired actions.

  5. All acronyms should be clearly spelt out and technical terms defined to ensure the intended audience can understand its content without having to refer to another source or document for clarification.

  6. Ensure the procedure document is structured and scannable so that users can focus on the parts of the document that are relevant to them.

  7. Ensure the document is endorsed prior to publication. Key stakeholder groups should review and approve the procedure as a way of signing off on it.

  8. Establish a procedure review cycle to ensure the document is updated as regularly as required.

  9. Use a flow chart or business process model to indicate which steps each procedure links to as some users may want to navigate between process and procedure.

  10. Provide standard attributes such as a brief description of the procedure document, intended audience, owners, review date, version number, and so on, so that anyone that picks up the document can understand its purpose.