Category: Writing & Editing

Writing and editing for technical communication related to policies and procedures.

Procedure Writer Course

Absolute Consulting is offering STC Policies & Procedures SIG members a $100 rebate on their next PPA Procedure Writer Certification course, November 30 - December 2, 2015 in Nashville, TN. Developed and managed by the Procedure Professionals Association (PPA) using input from an array of industry experts, the PPA Procedure Writer Certification is recognized as a value added approach to aligning procedure writers with best practices. For more information on this course, visit the PPA Website ( or the Absolute Consulting Website ( To take advantage of this offer, see Nathan Rightmer's Nov 10th post to the P&P Discussion List.

Discussion Threads

This is a list of topics on the P&P SIG Discussion List. You can read the full thread in the discussion list archives. See the Mail Lists page for instructions.

  • "A P&P inquiry for the SIG" on Standard Operating Procedures (August 2014)
  • "Use of the second person - you and your" (August 2014)
  • "Policy" - Alternative terms (Oct 2014)
  • "Policy and Procedures Library Name" (Oct 2014)
  • "SOPs vs. other Procedures" (Dec 2014)
  • "Q&A on Tech Com for Aerospace" (Dec 2014)
  • "Cross Post from STC Lone Writer SIG" on why people do or don't remain STC members (Jan 2015)
  • "Use of video in technical documentation" (Feb 2015)
  • "Authorization of policies" (Feb 2015)
  • "Good source for defining different levels of P&P?" (Feb 2015)
  • "Document Type Definitions?" (April 2015)
  • "What volume of information/change can someone absorb in a day?" (April 2015)
  • "Use of the second person - you and your" (April 2015)
  • "Tools for Policies & Procedures" (May 2015)
  • "Taxonomy of documents" (May 2015)
  • "Student Requesting Examples of Process Documentation" (June 2015)
  • "Policies or related materials on transgender topics" (Junly 2015)
  • "Reference Style in Policies?" (Aug 2015)
  • "Policy and Procedure Repositories" (Sept 2015)

Writing Procedures Like a Pro — The “How To” of “How To’s”

Proceedings-1999; By Rebeca J. Edgerton and Jill Nicholson; Summary by Maria Christophel (2006) This article is a brief summary of the session to be presented at the STC Conference. It is an invitation to attend the workshop for “Writing Procedures Like a Pro.” It outlines the topics of the workshop, its benefits, and advantages.

Writing Procedures

Intercom-November 2005; By Deborah K. Lockwood; Summary by Maria Christophel (2006) This article provides basic instructions to technical communicators for developing policies and procedures from scratch. It provides definitions and examples for the terms policy and procedure. It presents techniques for establishing a clear writing roadmap such as using flowcharts or diagrams. Defines Playscript format and details how this format is used for writing procedures. Provides suggestions for establishing style guidelines, choosing numbering sequences, and organizing the procedures.

SOPs and the Technical Writer

Intercom-April 2003; By Mark Edelman; Summary by Maria Christophel (2006) This article provides a thorough method for writing Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs). It begins with a clear definition of what SOPs are and what they should not be and takes the reader through the structure, the research, authorship, management, professional matters, and concludes stating that writing SOPs is one way for companies to excel. It explains in detail the elements that should be included in the creation of SOPs such as front matter, purpose, scope, definitions, roles and responsibilities, etc. Equally detailed is the list of recommendations for dealing with authorship issues, which writers of SOPs may have to face; the list includes minimizing cross references, using consistent language, testing procedures, etc. The article stresses the importance of managing the sets of SOPs written to achieve quality, and warns the writers to beware of organizational changes as the worst enemy of documented SOPs.

Building an Electronic Documentation Repository

Intercom-April 2005; By Barbara Block; Summary by Maria Christophel (2006) This article presents a model for creating a documentation database that provides easy access to its users and a self marketing tool for the technical writer. It describes the three reasons for building a repository: building a showcase for the work produced, developing creative talent, and providing easy access of procedures for its users. The article provides insight as to the major milestones for building the repository: creating the database, designing the front end, and linking the database to the front end.

Information Gathering for Policies and Procedures

Proceedings-1996; By Christine Dodwell; Summary by Maria Christophel (2006) This article provides a view of the various methods for collecting, using, and maintaining policies and procedures information. It defines internal sources, external sources, and publications as places to begin research. It explains the steps for collecting the information as interviewing, researching, outlining, detailing, and following up. It presents the need for maintaining files of the research and documentation process.

Writing Clear Policies and Procedures with Playscript

Proceedings-1999-J. Richard Flemming CMC; Summary by Maria Christophel (2006) This article presents Playscript as a documentation technique, and addresses the most important benefits of using this technique for writing policies and procedures. It defines “Performance Orientation,” and details a method for using action writing. It establishes the need for structured writing as a complementing format to the Playscript technique to achieve clarity; and provides examples for using structured writing.

Writing Processes and Procedures Using Audience Analysis and the ISO 9000 Document Hierarchy

Proceedings-2000: By Tricia Cunat and Amary Craig; Summary by Maria Christophel (2006) This article describes the method for writing processes and procedures using as the base a detailed analysis of the audience and the ISO 9000 definition of process vs. procedure. It provides a detailed definition and a comparison between processes and procedures, and provides examples of when using either or both is appropriate. It defines audiences and provides a model matrix for identifying potential audiences in the development of a user manual. In addition, it presents types of formats for delivering processes and procedures to the audience.

Transition To Process-Based Policies and Procedures

Proceedings-1997; By Jerri L. Huclayer; Summary by Maria Christophel (2006) This article describes the old format for writing P&P and indicates the reasons why this format is becoming obsolete. It describes process-based policies as the new format of writing and points out the benefits of using such method. It explains that the new format places more importance on the process rather than who is doing the process.