In my most recent series, I discussed “What makes an effective procedures writer,” based on a poll at LinkedIn. One of the points I made in the series, and emphatically in the procedure-writing course (which you can still request from me), that effective procedure writing is a product of understanding what a procedure is (or should be) designed to do, and then write to that intent.
My career has primarily been as a trainer, but writing is an integral part of developing training, and at heart I am a writer first. But one thing I have learned in my years is that one cannot define themselves by what they do (task or skill they bring to the organization), but what comprises their mission. My “profession” may have been (alternatively) trainer and technical writer, but my organizational mission is best stated as follows:
To provide the tools and techniques necessary to enable (the organization) to perform every essential task as correctly as possible, as often as possible. Out of that mission comes the notion of what I term “instructional communication.” Instructional communication entails any activity or device that informs the worker on correct performance. Operating procedures are a major element of instructional communication, but far from the only element. But since our focus is on procedures, I will focus on procedures.
As I have stated, in my career I have found only one reason for a procedure to exist: to enable the worker to perform a task correctly. In that sense, it is a training document. To be effective, the procedure must be developed with its training intention in mind.
In the coming posts, I will look at the procedure as a training document, and discuss steps toward procedure development and (most importantly) procedure utilization in training.