Today is part 3 of our Defining Policy and Procedures which will discuss procedures and processes. Procedures, often confused with processes, work instruction, or guidelines, address the HOW. These can be long and reviewed and updated regularly. The International Standards Organization defines Procedures as “a way of carrying out a process or activity”. Since process is in the definition, ‘process’ has joined procedures on the chart.
A process is not a document, but an activity. ISO says “a process is a set of activities that are interrelated, or that interact with one another. Processes use resources to transform inputs into outputs.” The procedure outlines how a process is performed in a detailed way.
Think of procedures as ‘the manual’. In a time of crisis, it’s where you turn for reference. Not every procedure needs its own policy, but following the manual will guarantee compliance with the standards and policy. Procedures clearly define how a policy is implemented with a series of detailed steps to accomplish an end. This provides consistency within your organization. This is the place to clearly outline who does what in order to meet the standards, or criteria. Procedures should not go more than two years without being reviewed.