In Praise of Procedures! (Part 1)

I would not have acquired the nickname “Mr. Procedure” if I did not have some passion for the art of procedure writing. In many quarters, procedure writing is something to be put off, avoided, or directed to the new guy or intern. But if an organization’s mission and effectiveness is maximized by doing every critical task as correctly as possible as often as possible, more people should take a keen interest in how their operations and activities are defined.

In the next series of blog posts (at least the next seven or so), I will discuss procedures in the following contexts:

Procedures and their relation to other documents in an organization

What differentiates a procedure from other documents 

The three essentials of an effective procedure program

To begin this discussion, let’s look at what is commonly referred to as a “documentation hierarchy,” or “documentation pyramid.” This type of illustration (click here to view) is commonly used when evaluating documents as part of a Quality Management System (such as ISO-9001). The diagram illustrates the relative positions of policies, operating procedures, work instructions and records.

Many readers viewing the illustration will recognize that I have inverted the documents. Rather than showing the documents the traditional way (relating to the relative numbers of each type of document),  I have placed policies at the base of the pyramid and built upward. This recognizes the reality that each type of document supports everything above it on the pyramid.

In Part 2, the purpose and audience for policies.

About Tim James "Mr. Procedure"

A communicator; all-purpose capability in writing, designing and presenting training for all facets of organizational function. While my focus has been manufacturing, my training/development experience includes supervisory and lead person development, audit processes, continuous improvement and Lean, and Quality Management System implementation.
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