Book Title: How to Write Policies, Procedures & Task Outlines: Sending Clear Signals in Written Directions
Publisher: Writing Services
Author: Larry Peabody
The following excerpt is from chapter two, which describes why so many policies and procedures fail.
I have led hundreds of writing workshops. Before class I often study writing samples from those who will attend. Time after time I find the same dozen writing pitfalls that ruin policies and procedures. Just avoid this "deadly dozen," and your writing will easily outperform most of what other organizations grind out. The dozen pitfalls fit into three major groups: Writing Style, Page Layout, and Organization. . . .
Of all the "deadly dozen," the blending of policy, procedure, and task is one of the surest ways to produce a policy-procedure manual that defies reading. Often it's obvious the writer's own mind hasn't clearly distinguished policy, procedure, and task. As a result, the ideas spill onto the page like clothes from a tumble-dryer. Then the readers--if they try at all--must mentally sort out each piece and fit it into its proper place.
The differences that set policy, procedure, and task apart are important differences. They matter because each kind of written direction works best in its own format. Unless you first "think them apart," you won't be able to present each of the three in its own most readable form. What are the differences? That's the subject of the next chapter.