How to Create a Procedure Statement

A procedure statement summarizes the purpose, scope and prescribed manner for complying with an established policy or completing a unit of work. As demanded by the rigor and complexity of the step sequence it precedes, a procedure statement can range from one sentence to several sections or paragraphs.

As a procedure statement is a summary of information pertaining to performance of a procedure, it should not be written until after the procedure is finalized.

Determine Procedure Scope and Complexity

Review completed procedure; ensure content accuracy and completeness.

Identify all departmental personnel responsible for procedure performance.

Identify all departmental personnel responsible for procedure oversight and enforcement.

Identify all exhibits -- pictures, diagrams, forms, computer screens, reports, etc. -- used in the procedure.

Identify all uncommon or special terms used in the procedure.

Identify the procedure's primary objectives and results.

Draft Procedure Statement

Identify procedure; provide name or title that is indicative of procedure content or use (e.g., "Handling Customer Complaints").

Describe procedure purpose and intended audience, noting specific job titles responsible for performance.

Example: This procedure contains instructions for Customer Service Department representatives and supervisors to record, track and resolve customer complaints using the MS-CRM System.

PURPOSE To establish and communicate Customer Service Department representative and superviory standard practice for recording, tracking and resolving customer complaints using the MS-CRM System.

List by name and in order of appearance each exhibit found in the procedure. For example:

EXHIBITS: Figure 1: MS-CRM Logon Screen Figure 2: MS-CRM Complaint Record Screen Figure 3: MS-CRM Complaint History Report

List alphabetically and define each unique or special term found in the procedure. For example:

GLOSSARY Assignee: Legal department representative to whom complaint assigned. CCID: Unique nine-digit number identifying customer complaint. EXT: Code indicating item return grace period extended.

List in alphabetical order by job title all personnel affecting or affected by procedure, including function performed. For example:

ROLES & RESPONSIBILITIES 1. Customer service manager: Oversees procedure development, maintenance and approval. 2. Customer service representative: Performs job functions only in keeping with procedure. 3. Customer service supervisor: Distributes procedure; oversees enforcement and training.

Tips

  • Use active voice writing style to eliminate wordiness. For example, instead of writing "The purpose of this procedure is to describe...." or "This procedure is intended to describe...," write "This procedure describes...".

Warnings

  • A standard template for procedure statements should already be in place. If not, one should be developed to ensure that all procedure statements have the same "look and feel."

References

  • "Microsoft Manual of Style for Technical Publications"; Microsoft Corporation; 2004
  • "Guide to Writing Policy and Procedure Documents"; UC Santa Cruz; 1994

About the Author

Robert Bleser began freelance and technical writing in 1975. He served as a Marine in Vietnam and worked for the Los Angeles Police Department. He has a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy from the University of California at Berkeley and was a teaching assistant at University of California at Santa Barbara while completing his Ph.D. in philosophy.