The Streamlined Business Blog

Answers: Is it a Policy, Process, Procedure, or Work Instruction?

In a previous post, we gave the following list of topics. What is each one? Policy, Process, Procedure, or Work Instruction? Answers below.

  • Acceptable Internet UsagePolicy
  • Building a Jeep WranglerProcess
  • Month End Closing (Finance & Accounting Department) – Procedure
  • Printing a ReportWork Instruction
  • Installing a Printer Driver Work Instruction
  • Filling Customer OrdersProcess
  • Credit Terms and Collection GuidelinesPolicy

Here are some definitions to help clarify things.

A Policy is a guideline or statement of position with respect to a given topic.

A Process is the highest level description of a large task or series of related tasks. It provides the BIG picture. You are usually dealing with a process when the job involves 3 or more medium to large tasks, more than 1 person, job title or department is involved, there are time delays of hours, days or longer between steps, and multiple procedures and work instructions are necessary to fully describe it.

A Procedure is more detailed than a process, but less detailed than a work instruction. It tells how a series of sequential tasks should be performed to achieve a specific outcome. You are probably dealing with a procedure when the task has 10 separate actions or 3 or more small tasks, the steps get 2 or more levels deep (steps and sub steps), the job involves more than 1 person or department, the task is completed from start to finish in one continuous time frame (no significant delays between steps).

A Work Instruction is the most detailed description of a task. It’s sole purpose is to explain step by step how to do a specific task. You are probably dealing with a Work Instruction when the job has fewer than 10 separate actions, the job is performed by 1 person from start to finish, the task is completed in a short amount of time from start to finish.

Download our Infographic:  Process-Procedure-Policy Framework

Check out our mini class on SlideShare about this topic. Process, Procedure, Policy – What is the difference?

With Zavanta, you can build this type of information architecture for any process in any industry — in minutes!  The result: no matter what area or process, employees can get the big picture, drill down to the details.  You can take any process and walk someone through it from start to finish, cradle to grave.

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