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Procedure Paper Assignment


Procedure Papers Structure: The Essentials

Here’s a checklist of the things you should be looking for when you write your procedure paper. Remember to consult with the corresponding lecture, and look at the web resource I’ve included at the end of that lecture, if you’re still not sure how a procedure paper is supposed to ‘look’ or have any other questions regarding these papers. And, of course, you can email me if you have any other questions that haven’t been addressed either here or in the web resources I’ve provided.

Your assignment for this week will be to write a procedure paper. Since much (indeed, most) of your grade will be determined by how well your paper conforms to the following guidelines I would recommend giving this page a thorough reading.

Title:

  • Be sure your procedure paper has a short title (no longer than 7-10 words) that tells the reader the nature of the following procedure. Examples:

  1. Procedure for Submitting Request for Employee Reimbursement
  2. Procedure for Filing an Employee Grievance
  3. Procedure for Processing Client Orders

  Structure:

  • Margin caption format.
  • Left column lists the agent (employee, administrator, etc).
  • Right column lists the action(s) to be performed.
  • Virtually all policy-based procedures will include multiple agents. Production-based procedures, however, may include as few as one agent.
  • Double space the ‘actions’ column of the paper.

  Content:

  • List the actions (and corresponding agents) in chronological sequence.
  • Number each action (you do not have to number each agent).
  • Any ‘sub actions’ should be denoted with a lowercase letter. If a series of sub actions can be executed in any random order (i.e, there is not required order of the steps) then using bullet points will be more appropriate.
  • Check for redundancies and unnecessary steps. The purpose of procedure papers is to improve efficiency and profitability. Do not include steps simply for the sake of including them. Make sure they are important.
  • Give your paper a very thorough proofreading. Make sure all your verbs agree with your nouns (i.e., no plural verbs and singular nouns, or vice versa), all your spelling and punctuation is correct, etc.

Style:

  • Start each sentence in the action column with a verb, and be sure the verb is in the present tense (e.g. ‘starts’, ‘delivers’, ‘arranges’, and so forth).
  • As with the policy papers, avoid corporate jargon and mumbo jumbo.
  • All acronyms should be spelled out the first time they are used.
  • Refer to employees by their position - not by their names.
  • Short sentences are a definite plus. Why write ‘ensure that an employee who is currently working in an administrative capacity has acknowledged receipt of your request for a leave of absence’ when you can say ‘Hand deliver your request to your immediate supervisor’?

Leave the thesaurus on the shelf! Remember, not all employees will be as literate as you are. Use language that is simple and easy to understand.

Part I. Write a procedure paper. It can be either production or policy based. I would recommend writing a procedure that relates to your current place of employment (this should make the assignment a little easier), although this is entirely up to you. The requirements for this assignment are as follows:

  • Think of a procedure at your place of work (or some other organization with which you're familiar) that you think should be changed.
  • Write a procedure paper for the new procedure that you think should replace the existing one. The only content requirement here is that the new procedure should clearly abide by some of the principles from both chapters.
  • Your procedure should include a minimum of seven actions and two agents.

While I hope that the formatting instructions I've provided for this assignment in the lectures for this unit are unambiguous and easy to follow, I know how much it can help to see an example of one of these papers before you start writing. I've uploaded a student example in the Files for you to look at, so you can get a clear idea of how this assignment is supposed to look.

Part II. Compose a short write-up that introduces your procedure. Walk us through the existing procedure, explain why it's sub optimal, and then explain why your proposed procedure is superior and how it relates to the principles of TQ/Quality Management and Customer Focus. You don't have to get carried away here, although you'll probably need around 300 words or so to touch on all of these points.  

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