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Organize Procedures Around the Reader's Needs

As we mentioned in an earlier post 4 Key Elements To Good Procedures, the second key element you should keep in mind for writing good procedures is  pay attention to the order you present information in your document.
If you understand the typical way readers interact with procedure documents you can arrange information more effectively and write a better procedure. Almost everyone who picks up a procedure requires the following information, and they want it in the order described below. Don’t make them search around to get their questions answered.
Use this as a guide for organizing information in your procedure.
  1. Is this the procedure or work instruction I need? [Clear title]
  2. What is the procedure about and why is it important? [Purpose]
  3. Whose job is it? (Does this task apply to me?) [Who Performs]
  4. When do I do this job? [When to Perform]
  5. Can I do this job: Do I have everything I need? (tools, equipment, materials, knowledge, approvals) [Requirements]
  6. What will I have to do and in what order? [Task Overview of Steps]
  7. How do I do each step? [Detailed step by step instructions]

The Content Overlay approach built in to COMPROSE’s Zavanta software is designed specifically to help authors capture the right information and organize it in the way people typically need it.