Words on “Procedure Structure”

A lot of people writing procedures will already be crying “foul” over my structure, even though I have only discussed the Introduction section. Many well-intentioned people will say, “This is how a procedure must be structured:

I. Scope

II. Applicability

III. Supporting Documents

IV. Definitions

etc. etc.”

I am sure I got some of those wrong, because I rebelled against the format years ago. That put me out of step with many people, including organizations dedicated to quality, even the so-called experts at my last company.

I refer to this structure as “Policy Format,” because it is wonderful for policies. However, it is terrible for procedures! Policies are fundamentally different than procedures–I touched on this in previous posts. One key difference in policies is that they are not necessarily intended to be read in order from beginning to end. Procedures–in following the “wading into progressively deeper water” concept–should be read in order. And when reading in order, a paragraph that begins

is a distraction to the reader. Numbered paragraphs are fine for policies, since they are useful in locating sections of interest. The reasoning behind this I have covered in previous posts.

So in my next post I will return to discussing procedure structure. If you wish, you may leave a comment here within my blog, or contact me directly. My email address is mrprocedure.com.

Thanks for reading!



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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