Many get these terms mixed up: policy, business Process, Procedure, and Work Instruction. In truth, most people create work instructions and refer to them as procedures. Or they will write a procedure, which is really a process. Some think of these terms as interchangeable. What is a work instruction?
A Work Instruction is a description of how to perform a process in steps; For a step in a process, the instruction(s) on how to perform that step, sufficiently detailed to allow an inexperienced person (novice) to perform the work. Work instructions are more detailed than standard operating procedures.
Assembly instructions are common in manufacturing or when you have furniture delivered to and you have to put it together. The little piece of paper that your receive with your product explains how to assemble the furniture. These assembly instructions are a form of work instruction.
The document pyramid lists the hierarchy of the four types of documents.
Work instructions communicate exactly what needs to be done in a step-by-step manner. If you follow the work instruction as written, then you will reduce risks, minimize errors, and save time.
There are many blog posts written about work instructions. You will find a few below: