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A Written Framework for Operations

Content provided by (PIACG) المهنيون لإستشارات الحوكمة , content partner for SME Toolkit               

A written framework for operations improves the quality of work within your enterprise, help you reduce the number of errors and omissions, assure continuity in operations in a consistent manner and help new staff perform complex tasks quickly and effectively.  Operational Frameworks are not limited to the bylaws and regulations, but far exceeds to every policy, procedure, template and staff members code of conduct.

This article will discuss in a step-by-step approach how you can draft a procedure and collect your operations manual;

  1. List your departments and units and under each list the group of activities for each; make sure to illustrate, on the side, the interrelated activities (projects, functions, process…etc) among departments and units.
  2. This exercise shall help you in understanding and seeing your organization matrix and interrelationship in operations, and assures the exclusiveness of procedures to be developed next
  3. Decide the approach for documentation (procedures to document). Two methods for choosing your manual's content are to survey potential manual users to find out which tasks they need clarified or more information on, or you may prefer to make a list of operational problems you could solve with clearly defined procedures.
  4. Gather information. A person already doing the task is your best resource unless you're creating procedures from scratch. Watch the person perform the task and take notes, or ask the person to write down for you all the steps involved in the task, as well as any tips or warnings learned through experience.
  5. Establish your manual's layout. A two-column format makes procedures clear and easy to read. Title each page with the procedure's name, and put below the title a list or paragraph of any facts that don't fall within a step, such as how frequently the procedure is performed and tips or warnings. The procedure should follow after that in a two-column table.
  6. Write a rough draft. In the left column, list the person responsible for the procedure. In the right column, list in order the steps that person performs. If the procedure involves multiple people, they should all be able to clearly see where they fit in the process and what they need to do.
  7. Test the procedures. Get someone unfamiliar with the procedures to follow them from the draft. It's important to use someone inexperienced, so the person won't take any habitual shortcuts or gloss over unclear points another reader wouldn't understand.
  8. Revise the draft. Clarify, add, delete and rearrange steps until the procedures can be followed by anyone reading the manual.
  9. Publish the manual. Include a table of contents so readers can quickly locate procedures. Add a glossary defining any terminology that's uncommon or specific to your industry.

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