When writing policies and procedures, accuracy is of utmost importance. Unless your company procedures manual is accurate, your employees won’t use it, and your efforts will be wasted. The most important thing you can do to ensure that your policy and procedure manuals get read and used is to test your procedures for accuracy.
The best test of a procedure is a simulation or walk-through. Simulation testing is an especially effective way to test maintenance, troubleshooting, and operational procedures. Although it takes more time and effort than a simple “read-through,” a simulation can uncover technical and other inaccuracies that you wouldn’t otherwise notice.
To do a good simulation test of your procedures, first try to simulate the environment in which your employees or customers will actually perform the task. Then, follow the written procedure word-for-word to perform the task. Make notes of any problems, missing information, or steps. Note any differences between the actual performance of the task and the written procedure. Also, rate how easy the procedure is to do.
If possible, ask a new employee or someone who has never done the task to test your procedures and have an expert observe and make notes and corrections. If you ask an expert to test, they often will do the task from their knowledge and miss even obvious problems.
If you are testing procedures for using a software package, be sure to make sure that any screen illustrations match exactly what appears on the screen and note any differences no matter how small.
Based on the results of your testing, revise your procedure until it is as clear and accurate as you can make it.
If you are interested in delving into the details of writing policies and procedures that get better results, contact us to learn more about our Zavanta software. Our guided authoring and structured content approach will help you standardize your policies and procedures. Users can provide feedback within the system. They can rate documents and provide comments in feedback surveys.