Creating an efficient procedures manual can be a daunting task, but a creative one at that. It's definitely worth it if producing precise instructions allow you to step away and know all that is needed is within the manual.
Here are some tips:
1. Start a list/log for all activities - It is not easy to remember every step that you take to accomplish a task. Carrying a list or log in which you can notate steps as they arise will help exponentially later. Write down the explanation of the task, how long it should take and what tools you may need. Do this for approximately one month. After this period, you should have a good idea of what needs to be documented.
2. Begin documenting the actual full procedure - Understand why this procedure is important, clarify all the departments, people and other procedures it affects, recognize all those that need to participate in the procedure and make a list of all the tools needed.
3. Present your content in visually enticing ways - If applicable or necessary use pictures or graphics to help explain and elaborate on your procedures
4. Embrace the power of checklists – Checklists are my favorite tools; they are very helpful in a manual so that someone coming behind you can mark off each step after they finish. To ensure efficiency, be sure to include the specific action steps. If you add any notes within each action step use a different color or font. If other people are named within the action steps use their titles or department names because people come and go. Make sure the action steps are in the proper order to complete the procedure.
5. Don't forget these important "other items" -
A. Table of Contents – use this page to locate the exact procedure that you need to reference.
B. Contacts – keep a page that is frequently updated with names and numbers of others that can assist the person trying to step in
C. Templates – create templates for forms or action lists so they can be easily updated and replaced.
- This is just a few items to get you started; for more information, contact Campbell Business Services.