Auditing and enforcing compliance with P&P content should not be the responsibility of a P&P group or included in the job description of a P&P practitioner. However, the charter or job description may state that P&P practitioners are responsible for supporting compliance efforts.
Increasing competition, generational differences, widespread social awareness, and customer demand for higher quality products and services make it necessary to ensure that the right protections are in place. Other reasons for the increased attention include the numerous reports of corporate scandals and corruption, along with ensuing legislative regulations in today’s global economy. This article describes some of the specific causes.
Most people, including P&P practitioners, define P&P on a micro level, primarily because they have not considered other perspectives. Here are three perspectives about policies and procedures by which you can think, speak, and act in today’s workplace.
Documentation is the foundation upon which an ISO-compliant quality system is built. Creating this documentation isn’t, however, as easy as it seems on the surface. Understanding the concept of the Standard enables writers to understand the content requirements. The structure this documentation follows will also impact the success of your registration audit. Once the documentation has been created, the control of it becomes of paramount importance. ISO requires that you control not only the documents and data you create, but also those that you receive from outside sources. Document and data control issues are one of the most common causes of registration failure!
A corporation's or nonprofit's life without written procedures is fraught with dangers and pitfalls that can strike without warning and potentially wreak havoc on the organization's ability to function efficiently—or even to function at all—especially when the lone source of how-to information leaves the organization. The task of creating those procedures from scratch from what often amounts to skeleton information and secondhand sources can be tedious and frustrating but well worth the effort if it helps prevent the organization from being caught off guard in the future. When it comes to workplace procedures, it pays to be prepared.
Procedures are the meat and potatoes of technical writing. They help users get the job done. Follow these tips for writing clear and useful procedures that your users will appreciate.
For many years, employee retirement was considered a normal part of attrition. Today, however, that attrition is becoming a major concern in organizations. In the United States alone, the so-called “baby boomer” generation (those born between 1946 and 1964) has already begun retiring. This concern is one for which policies and procedures (P&P) communication is being called to the rescue.
We have a number of projects running at the moment that involve us improving organisations’ policy and procedures documents. It may not seem likely, but these projects are enormous fun.
The ability of an organization to be nimble in its policy and procedures development, maintenance, communication, and implementation is necessary to adequately manage critical policy and procedures changes.
Work samples are an often forgotten data collection technique for quickly and effectively analyzing, developing, and communicating policies and procedures.
Technical writers should be alert for opportunities to improve documentation in one technical field by using appropriate techniques from other fields. In this paper, the author presents ways of improving medical treatment procedures by using elements from engineering procedures, including introductions, safety sections, warnings, conditional (branching) statements, and notes.
Information gathering can be one of the most timeconsuming and potentially frustrating experiences when writing policies and procedures. Policy and procedure writers sometimes start from scratch and must investigate and research policies and procedures before the first word is ever written. Although there are many obstacles to obtaining accurate and timely information, there are also many avenues the policy and procedure writer can take to gather, utilize, and maintain information.
To avoid serious consequences to your organization and barriers to your users’ performance, it may be time to purge segments of your policies and procedures content.
What should organizations do about their policies and procedures that home owners, car owners, and others do to manage their investments and other assets?
The DIN committee NA 152-06-01-05 UA, formerly called the NATG-F 1.5, has published a guideline for compiling information from component manuals, in its technical report 146. This report is a supplement to DIN EN 62079 and is meant to ensure that the requirements from the Machine Guidelines 98/37/EG Appendix I Ch. 1.7.4 are practically feasible. Plans are afoot to introduce the technical report at the international level (CEN).
The EU directive 92/58/EWG of 24th June 1992 clearly defines the notification on occupational Safety and Health Safeguards. In Germany, this has been enforced through the regulations for trade associations BGV A 8 (formerly VBG 125) which regulate indication of occupational safety and health safeguards through prohibition signs, warnings, instructions or signs for action, rescue, fire protection and so on. At present there is no European standard that discusses the topic of 'Drafting Safety Instructions in Operating Manuals' adequately and in detail. Nonetheless, there are several sources but often containing only imprecise or too generalized requirements. Moreover, many judicial verdicts in various individual cases point to the manner of formulations in Safety Instructions.
Documentation is important, from the end users to the developers, if you want your project to self sustain, if you want to ease the life of other people, and if you want your project to live a long and prosperous life. People were not in your head (and are not in your head) when you wrote that strange thing. 1-2 years from now you could be working for another company, what would be of other people who are trying to understand what you wrote? How would people easily understand how things work in a complex environment?
The world of policies and procedures has grown with technology. The trend is now to move documentation from paper to electronic media. Most companies are taking advantage of this technology andpublishing their policies and procedures on their own intranet or Local Area Network. There are things to consider before choosing a product and making this drastic change. These are: Product Functionality, ReadabilityNiewability, File Portability, and Cost. Each company’s documentation requirements and busmess strategies will ultimately determine which online documentation product to choose.
This session is intended for those interested in (a) policies and procedures as a subject, (b) networking with others concerned with policies and procedures, (c) learning about this PIC, (d) influencing the direction of this PIC, or (e) listening, commenting, or volunteering. The first portion of the meeting will briefly review the PIC's history, mission, membership, budget, teams, goals, and progress. The second portion will be open to discuss new business.
Should an organization maintain two sets of policies and procedure (P&P) information—one that is developed for training and another that is developed for on-going reference?
As a lone writer developing policy and procedure documentation, many of us face what appear to be insurmountable hurdles in reaching our intended goal – useable documentation that accurately reflects the business’ operations. It usually begins with trying to get everyone to take the need for P & P documentation seriously. This can be followed by frustrations in getting the information required to write coherent and useful documentation. Then there is the need for standards for which no one sees the importance – ‘just a whim of the writer’. Add to this volatile mix the requirements of many international standards impacting how business is conducted, and you wonder why anyone in right mind would take up the challenges of this field of writing. But it really can be fun and a very rewarding field of endeavor.
This paper questions the dominance of procedures in paper and online computer documentation and argues that the types of behavior and conditions demanded by stepped instructions are not consistent with typical user behavior. The authors suggest that the following hierarchy of information needs more accurately describes what users want to know when they ask, “How do I:” (a) What can I do? (b) Where can I do it? (c) What are the rules or principles? (d) What are the parts and their functions of the interface that does it? and (e) What are the steps?
Organizations develop policies and procedures to support industry certification and compliance requirements. Unfortunately, companies often develop P&P information that is not helpful to all employees who must use the information. In fact, one study found that 40 percent of U.S. companies failed ISO certification because of problems with unclear or missing P&P documentation, resulting in wasted time, money, and effort.
TCeurope, the umbrella organization of European associations for technical communication, is helping with the development of a European guideline on user education for mobile terminals and e-services. The European Telecommunications Standards Institute invited TCeurope to a joint workshop in French Sophia Antipolis, where the draft was discussed intensely.