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Procedure Documentation Template

Easily document all standard operating procedures and processes. Increase efficiency, reduce costs, and clarify how things are done in your company with the best procedure documentation template.

Why use this template?

  • Easy to set up.
    You won’t need any help from designers or developers to create interactive and engaging procedure documentation.
  • Everything you need.
    Document processes with step-by-step instructions that will illustrate the process flow from start to finish.
  • Interactive.
    Create more engaging instruction documents that your team members will want to use more frequently than a standard Word document.
  • Flexible.
    Because of its step-by-step nature, Stonly’s template will work with any organization’s workflows and procedures.
  • Available wherever your colleagues need it.
    Publish procedure documentation anywhere your colleagues might be looking for it. Put it on your company’s website, publish it as standalone documentation, or make every procedure shareable via email.

How to correctly document processes and standard operating procedures (SOPs)

We’ve covered all the benefits of documenting procedures and standard operating procedures. You also know what to include when creating a procedure document and the role each of those elements plays in its success.

Here are a few additional tips for writing such documentation to ensure that it’s comprehensive but also easy to understand for anyone involved.

1. Begin with the end in mind

Your goal for writing procedure documentation isn’t just to list all the steps in a process. It is to help someone understand the process, know their role in it, and guide them through everything they need to do to complete it.

Keep that in mind when creating the document. It will help you approach documenting a procedure with the reader and their goal - knowing how to complete the process.

Processes and procedures are two of the most critical aspects of any business’s success. The right processes help companies provide structure to project delivery, reduce errors, and guarantee as little waste of money, time, and other resources as possible.

However, that can only happen if a company has those processes properly documented, and the documentation is freely available to its employees.

That’s where procedure documentation comes in.

Procedure documentation defines and brings together all information about a specific business process and guides a person through the steps necessary to its completion.

Having all procedures documented ensures that everyone in the company follows the same process, and the work is completed to the same standards every time.

But increased efficiency isn’t the only benefit of documenting processes and standard operating procedures.

Here are a few other benefits of having well-written procedure documentation:

  1. Simplified project planning. Well-written documentation ensures that project stakeholders understand the activities required to complete the process.
  2. Streamlined process implementation. With the project scope clearly defined, every team involved in the process understands their roles and responsibilities and all the tasks they need to perform.
  3. Improved communications. Documentation ensures that teams understand and see each process in the same way. This mutual understanding helps teams communicate about a project more clearly and consistently.
  4. Clarity about the way things are done in your company. SOP documents help define each process’s scope and control points, making each step in the process clear to everyone.
  5. Fewer errors and costly mistakes. Such clarity results in fewer mistakes and errors and less wasted time, money, and other resources.

IMPORTANT:

Well-written procedure documentation can deliver incredible benefits. It can help the business grow, streamline performance, improve productivity, and more. However, working off of incorrectly documented processes would have the opposite effect on your company’s performance:

Incorrect or incomplete documentation will cause chaos in project delivery.

Working to outdated or incorrect procedures will cost the company large sums of money in lost time, resources, and materials.

Inefficient processes and the confusion they cause can even contribute to higher staff turnover and low company morale.

The remainder of this guide aims to help you avoid any of that when creating a process documentation.

We’ll discuss what to focus on when mapping processes. We’ll also look at how to put the procedure documentation together to avoid mistakes.

First, let’s clearly define two terms we’ve been using in this document - procedure documentation and standard operating procedure - and discuss how they relate to one another.

Procedure documentation and standard operating procedure (SOP)

A procedure outlines all the steps necessary to complete a particular process. It shows all steps in sequence and defines who is responsible for what task.

Procedure documentation, in turn, is the procedure defined in a written form that everybody involved in the process can consult when needed.

Standard operating procedures (SOPs) do not differ much from procedure documentation. Typically, SOPs are brief and easy-to-understand documents that outline the process flow and list defined tasks. Those documents illustrate the way tasks should be done and explain who should do them.

Note: Because of those similarities, we use both terms interchangeably in this document.

What to include in procedure documentation

The main focus of procedure documentation is to outline steps for anyone involved in the process to complete. To be successful in that, such documentation must provide additional information and context about the process.

There are several critical elements you must include when defining a company’s processes:

  1. A process’s name. With a clear title that includes the process’s name, anyone can quickly identify and find the documentation they need.
  2. Process’s overview and context. The document should also briefly explain the purpose of the process. Anyone reading the document should understand why they need to perform the process and the primary goal for doing so.
  3. Inputs that start the process. When defined in the simplest terms, a process is a chain of activities from an input (the process’s starting point) to output (the end result.) Therefore, for anyone to follow the process, they must be able to understand what event begins the chain of activities.
  4. Process flow and all steps required to complete it. This is, by far, the most critical element of the entire document. This section includes the whole process flow and all the steps required to complete the procedure.
  5. Outputs and results of the procedure. Just like you’ve defined the starting point, you must also tell a person when the procedure ends. Define what the end goal of the process looks like and what event might signal completion.
  6. Exceptions where a different procedure must be used. There might be a situation in which the company must employ another approach despite a specific input occurring. Explain those exceptions in the document. This will help the person using the document assess which procedure to initiate.
  7. Roles in delivering the procedure. This section should outline all stakeholders in the process and define their roles and responsibilities when delivering it.
  8. Approval and sign off process. Finally, explain the approval process and who must review and sign off on the procedure.

2. Map the process and look for ways to streamline, simplify, or improve it

Writing procedure documentation typically begins with process mapping. In a series of steps, you brainstorm and identify all actions involved in completing the procedure.

However, do not stop there. Review the process to see if any tasks could be removed or simplified.

Also, there might be elements of the procedure that you can now deliver differently, given new equipment, staff, or other processes available to you.

3. Include images and flowcharts to help explain each step in the process

Visual documentation always works better. Even including simple images, diagrams, or flowcharts will make it easier for your colleagues to understand how to perform each task.

4. Review the documentation regularly

Your documentation should not be set in stone. Instead, you should review it regularly.

There might be new bottlenecks or issues that didn’t exist when you originally documented the process. Specific changes to the company’s operations might also affect (positively or negatively) the process delivery.

Regular reviews will help you improve the documentation and eliminate any issues teams might have when going through the process as you’ve described it.

5. Use a dedicated template to standardize documentation across the entire organization

When documenting processes, follow the same format. Use the same terminology and style. Ideally, you should also follow the same layout for every procedure. Doing so will make it easier for employees to understand the subsequent tasks they need to perform.

Note: Using Stonly’s process document template will ensure consistency across all the documentation you create.

Browse templates

Procedure Documentation Template

Easily document all standard operating procedures and processes. Increase efficiency, reduce costs, and clarify how things are done in your company with the best procedure documentation template.

Why use this template?

  • Easy to set up.
    You won’t need any help from designers or developers to create interactive and engaging procedure documentation.
  • Everything you need.
    Document processes with step-by-step instructions that will illustrate the process flow from start to finish.
  • Interactive.
    Create more engaging instruction documents that your team members will want to use more frequently than a standard Word document.
  • Flexible.
    Because of its step-by-step nature, Stonly’s template will work with any organization’s workflows and procedures.
  • Available wherever your colleagues need it.
    Publish procedure documentation anywhere your colleagues might be looking for it. Put it on your company’s website, publish it as standalone documentation, or make every procedure shareable via email.

How to correctly document processes and standard operating procedures (SOPs)

We’ve covered all the benefits of documenting procedures and standard operating procedures. You also know what to include when creating a procedure document and the role each of those elements plays in its success.

Here are a few additional tips for writing such documentation to ensure that it’s comprehensive but also easy to understand for anyone involved.

1. Begin with the end in mind

Your goal for writing procedure documentation isn’t just to list all the steps in a process. It is to help someone understand the process, know their role in it, and guide them through everything they need to do to complete it.

Keep that in mind when creating the document. It will help you approach documenting a procedure with the reader and their goal - knowing how to complete the process.

Processes and procedures are two of the most critical aspects of any business’s success. The right processes help companies provide structure to project delivery, reduce errors, and guarantee as little waste of money, time, and other resources as possible.

However, that can only happen if a company has those processes properly documented, and the documentation is freely available to its employees.

That’s where procedure documentation comes in.

Procedure documentation defines and brings together all information about a specific business process and guides a person through the steps necessary to its completion.

Having all procedures documented ensures that everyone in the company follows the same process, and the work is completed to the same standards every time.

But increased efficiency isn’t the only benefit of documenting processes and standard operating procedures.

Here are a few other benefits of having well-written procedure documentation:

  1. Simplified project planning. Well-written documentation ensures that project stakeholders understand the activities required to complete the process.
  2. Streamlined process implementation. With the project scope clearly defined, every team involved in the process understands their roles and responsibilities and all the tasks they need to perform.
  3. Improved communications. Documentation ensures that teams understand and see each process in the same way. This mutual understanding helps teams communicate about a project more clearly and consistently.
  4. Clarity about the way things are done in your company. SOP documents help define each process’s scope and control points, making each step in the process clear to everyone.
  5. Fewer errors and costly mistakes. Such clarity results in fewer mistakes and errors and less wasted time, money, and other resources.

IMPORTANT:

Well-written procedure documentation can deliver incredible benefits. It can help the business grow, streamline performance, improve productivity, and more. However, working off of incorrectly documented processes would have the opposite effect on your company’s performance:

Incorrect or incomplete documentation will cause chaos in project delivery.

Working to outdated or incorrect procedures will cost the company large sums of money in lost time, resources, and materials.

Inefficient processes and the confusion they cause can even contribute to higher staff turnover and low company morale.

The remainder of this guide aims to help you avoid any of that when creating a process documentation.

We’ll discuss what to focus on when mapping processes. We’ll also look at how to put the procedure documentation together to avoid mistakes.

First, let’s clearly define two terms we’ve been using in this document - procedure documentation and standard operating procedure - and discuss how they relate to one another.

Procedure documentation and standard operating procedure (SOP)

A procedure outlines all the steps necessary to complete a particular process. It shows all steps in sequence and defines who is responsible for what task.

Procedure documentation, in turn, is the procedure defined in a written form that everybody involved in the process can consult when needed.

Standard operating procedures (SOPs) do not differ much from procedure documentation. Typically, SOPs are brief and easy-to-understand documents that outline the process flow and list defined tasks. Those documents illustrate the way tasks should be done and explain who should do them.

Note: Because of those similarities, we use both terms interchangeably in this document.

What to include in procedure documentation

The main focus of procedure documentation is to outline steps for anyone involved in the process to complete. To be successful in that, such documentation must provide additional information and context about the process.

There are several critical elements you must include when defining a company’s processes:

  1. A process’s name. With a clear title that includes the process’s name, anyone can quickly identify and find the documentation they need.
  2. Process’s overview and context. The document should also briefly explain the purpose of the process. Anyone reading the document should understand why they need to perform the process and the primary goal for doing so.
  3. Inputs that start the process. When defined in the simplest terms, a process is a chain of activities from an input (the process’s starting point) to output (the end result.) Therefore, for anyone to follow the process, they must be able to understand what event begins the chain of activities.
  4. Process flow and all steps required to complete it. This is, by far, the most critical element of the entire document. This section includes the whole process flow and all the steps required to complete the procedure.
  5. Outputs and results of the procedure. Just like you’ve defined the starting point, you must also tell a person when the procedure ends. Define what the end goal of the process looks like and what event might signal completion.
  6. Exceptions where a different procedure must be used. There might be a situation in which the company must employ another approach despite a specific input occurring. Explain those exceptions in the document. This will help the person using the document assess which procedure to initiate.
  7. Roles in delivering the procedure. This section should outline all stakeholders in the process and define their roles and responsibilities when delivering it.
  8. Approval and sign off process. Finally, explain the approval process and who must review and sign off on the procedure.

2. Map the process and look for ways to streamline, simplify, or improve it

Writing procedure documentation typically begins with process mapping. In a series of steps, you brainstorm and identify all actions involved in completing the procedure.

However, do not stop there. Review the process to see if any tasks could be removed or simplified.

Also, there might be elements of the procedure that you can now deliver differently, given new equipment, staff, or other processes available to you.

3. Include images and flowcharts to help explain each step in the process

Visual documentation always works better. Even including simple images, diagrams, or flowcharts will make it easier for your colleagues to understand how to perform each task.

4. Review the documentation regularly

Your documentation should not be set in stone. Instead, you should review it regularly.

There might be new bottlenecks or issues that didn’t exist when you originally documented the process. Specific changes to the company’s operations might also affect (positively or negatively) the process delivery.

Regular reviews will help you improve the documentation and eliminate any issues teams might have when going through the process as you’ve described it.

5. Use a dedicated template to standardize documentation across the entire organization

When documenting processes, follow the same format. Use the same terminology and style. Ideally, you should also follow the same layout for every procedure. Doing so will make it easier for employees to understand the subsequent tasks they need to perform.

Note: Using Stonly’s process document template will ensure consistency across all the documentation you create.