Introduction[ edit ] What is included in your introduction will depend on what your instructions are for and who will be using them.
Courses in Technical Writing This chapter introduces you to policies and procedure documents and to standard operating procedure documents. However, it does not provide definitive details on how to plan, write, format, and complete these documents. It does provide links to web pages that do, along with some advice on maintaining a reasonable scope for a policies and procedures project if you are in a technical or business writing course.
Standard Operating Policies and Procedures: Overview Standard operating procedures and policy-and-procedure documents are roughly the same: Although these distinctions blur in practice, a policy-and-procedure document focuses more often on behavior expected of employees for example, policies and procedures on smoking, substance abuse, sexual harrassment.
Standard operating procedures focus more standard expectations for performing specific procedures such as hand-washing by health care professionals or taking a dental implant in a dental lab.
Organizations use policies and procedures documents to record their rules and regulations: Once recorded, the policies and procedures are there for everybody in the organization to refer to, and these documents become the means of settling most disputes within the organization.
To distinguish between these two terms, policies are rule statements. Policies are like laws: Procedures, on the other hand, are the step-by-step methods of carrying out those policies. Of course, some policies do not require procedures. If the organization has a no-smoking policy, that's all that need be said.
However, if someone breaks that policy, a procedure is needed for handling that situation. Writing Projects If you are enrolled in a course associated with this page, you are in a writing course, not a business management course.
Our focus is on good writing, well-designed documents, documents that accomplish their purpose, and documents that meet common expectations as to their content, organization, and format.
Standard operating procedure and policy-and-procedure documents are obviously an important application of writing and can contain substantial technical information about an organization's operations. But don't view this chapter as the last word on these topics. Structure As you can see from the two standard operating procedures and policy-and-procedure documents in the links above, there are some standard contents and format.
Decimal numbering system—This enables policies or procedures to be "cited. Heavy use of predicates "Establish" this, "promote" that. Distinction between policies and procedures in the hand-washing example. Policies tell employees what to do; procedures tell them exactly how to do it.
Tracking numbers to enable ease of reference. Ownership and approval names are specified. Revision dates, to enable employees to know whether they are looking at the most current version. Definitions to establish the precise meanings of key terms. Use of "will" to indicate a requirement older style uses "shall".
Here are some resources for standard operating procedures: Here are some resources for policies and procdures: Articles about policies and procedures.Technical writers, also called technical communicators, prepare instruction manuals, how-to guides, journal articles, and other supporting documents to communicate complex and technical information more easily.
They also develop, gather, and disseminate technical information through an organization Entry-level education: Bachelor's degree. Standard operating procedure and policy-and-procedure documents are obviously an important application of writing and can contain substantial technical information about an organization's operations.
But don't view this chapter as the last word on these topics. When writing technical documents and instructions there are several style tips you should keep in mind: Use a lot of imperative, command or direct address, kinds of writing.
It is OK to use "you" when writing instructions, because you are addressing the reader directly. Before you start writing, gather detailed information on the process you're making into a procedure. Talk with content experts as well as others who hold key information – long-time staff members, stakeholders, technical staff, and people who will use the procedure.
Although many people today think of technical writing as creating manuals for computers and software, the practice of technical writing takes place in any field or industry where complex ideas, concepts, processes or procedures need to be communicated. Writing a procedure that is accurate, brief, and readable isn't always easy.
But, with a bit of knowledge and practice, you can learn effective procedure-writing skills, and identify great opportunities to improve the quality of the things you do.