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Question of the month: How does using the typical writing process assist you in creating effective procedures?
The advice for writing procedures is the same as for any kind of writing project – from a college term paper to a novel, a business letter, or a procedure; craft the writing project by working through a process that includes three phases: Plan – Draft – Revise. Extensive research has shown that writing projects of any kind tends to be successful when writers use the process approach and engage in some type of activity from all these three phases.
Planning Activities to Write Effective Procedures
A key planning activity for writing a good procedure is to understand the process that the procedure will document. That starts with research, or in other words, collecting information. This would include doing things like interviewing process owners and process doers.
Read more about planning to write a procedure;
Process Approach to Writing a Procedure – Creating a Draft
What do we mean by a successful draft? It doesn’t mean that it is perfect and ready for release – it is a “draft.” In a successful draft, whether an essay, a report, or a procedure, you have created a coherent piece intended for a user/reader in the proper form. This is different from what is created in the Planning stage such as a process map, outline, or notes and free-writing.
Read more about drafting a procedure;
How Revision Creates Effective Procedures
Once a draft is completed, the revision stage begins. Obviously, the revising step means looking for errors. Recall while drafting we talked about not being obsessed about errors and perfect writing – such concerns can actually inhibit drafting. But revision is more than just looking for errors; it is about truly crafting the document.
Read more about revising procedures;
One way to make the procedure writing process easier is to start with prewritten procedures like our Bizmanualz Policies, Procedures & Forms. They contain clearly stated policies, researched and incorporated best practices, suggested objectives, and ready to use forms. Plus, they are all delivered with an accompanying CD that contains all content in Microsoft Word files for your easy customization and modification. They can give you a big head start with your procedure writing project.
On That Note
Answer to this month’s question:
When using the writing process, you are engaging in activities from all three process stages. The result is a well-thought out, clearly written, and properly reviewed/tested procedures. Shortcuts such as skipping planning activities or not using separate reviewers can frequently result in procedures that increase process confusion and variability instead of reducing it (the main goal of a procedure). Poorly written procedures also run the risk of not being followed, and generate additional burdens with after-release revisions.
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