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Procedure Development Best Practice 1 – Integrated Development

StrategyDriven Procedure Development Best Practice ArticleThe complexity of modern organizations necessitates a collage of policies, processes, and procedures to guide their operations. Some procedures guide the actions of personnel within a single workgroup while others govern interactions and handoffs between workgroups. Regardless of functionality or cross functionality of a procedure, they all involve the organization’s resources and, therefore, in some way(s) interrelate with human resources and/or financial procedures. Thus, all procedures are integrated with one or more other procedures.

The integrated nature of procedures means that the impacts of execution will resonate throughout the organization. While these impacts will most strongly influence those functions directly integrated, they will drive consequences in even the most remote operations. Therefore, it is imperative that procedure development be done in a cross-functional, collaborative fashion considering the following interrelationships:

  • Procedure task related roles and responsibilities including those of up and downstream procedure integrations
  • Functional and cross functional task handoffs to prevent redundant performance
  • Technology integrations to ensure data visibility and seamless transaction flow
  • Controllable and uncontrollable constraints (including constraint variability) within the procedure itself and up and downstream procedure integrations
  • Philosophical procedure execution and that of up and downstream procedure integrations (e.g. rigid scheduling by date/time versus flexible scheduling by priority/milestone)
  • Drivers of procedure execution success and those of up and downstream procedure integrations

General Procedure Development or Modification Steps

When developing or modifying a procedure, consider the following actions to ensure proper resolution of undesired operational impacts and constrains prior to procedure implementation:

Step 1: Identify all those policies, procedures, and standards interrelating to the procedure to be developed or modified.
Step 2: Engage a multidiscipline team representing each of the interrelated policies, procedures, and standards in the development or modification of the subject procedure.
Step 3: Develop or modify the subject procedure considering relevant up and downstream impacts and constraints listed above.
Step 4: Test the new or modified procedure (desktop review or role-playing walkthrough) to identify unexpected impacts and/or constraints.
Step 5: Revise the subject procedure to eliminate undesired impacts and/or constraints.
Step 6: Retest the procedure (desktop review or role-playing walkthrough) for additional unresolved/ unexpected impacts and/or constraints.
Step 7: Repeat Steps 5 and 6 as needed.
Step 8: Implement the new or modified procedure in accordance with the organization’s change management guidelines.

About the Author

Nathan Ives, StrategyDriven Principal is a StrategyDriven Principal and Host of the StrategyDriven Podcast. For over twenty years, he has served as trusted advisor to executives and managers at dozens of Fortune 500 and smaller companies in the areas of management effectiveness, organizational development, and process improvement. To read Nathan’s complete biography, click here.

Risk Management Best Practice 3 – Procedure Annotation and Commitment Tracking

Cataloging Commitments and Managing Risk with ProceduresMaintaining compliance with regulatory requirements, industry guidelines, and organizational commitments is the responsibility of every employee. Compliance typically occurs on a day-to-day basis through the performance of common policies, processes, and procedures. Subsequently, most organizations embed the actions necessary to achieve compliance within their instructional manuals. Ensuring these actions are both followed and remain in place over time is key to a successful compliance program.[wcm_restrict plans=”49014, 25542, 25653″]

Driving personnel compliance with written procedures is a reinforcement function of management covered by several StrategyDriven topic areas including Management and Leadership, Management Observation Program, and Self Assessment Program. The other critical step in ensuring compliance is the maintenance of those steps within policy, process, and procedure documents, which is the focus of this article.

Maintaining compliance activities within their respective documents over time is a difficult task. These requirements are frequently administrative in nature, burdensome, and the source of inefficiency. Thus, they routinely become the target of streamlining to improve overall productivity. And while compliance activities should be performed in the most efficient manner possible, they must none-the-less be performed. Therefore, it is important to provide a mechanism that will help ensure these activities remain intact within a given procedure.

Keeping compliance activities intact while simultaneously providing opportunities for review and possible streamlining requires identification of both the activity and the source requirement, guideline, or commitment. One highly effective mechanism to achieve this is to label those particular policy, process, and procedure sections related to a given requirement in a way that clearly links the two. Companies creating such a system typically perform the following activities:

  1. Identify all regulatory, industry, and organizational requirements.
  2. Logically catalog the requirements; providing each requirement with a unique alphanumeric index designator and a listing of the associated policies, processes, and procedures used to satisfy the requirement.
  3. Identify all those policy, process and procedure sections/steps in place to ensure compliance with each given commitment.
  4. For policies: Identify, in an appendix, all those commitments for which the policy satisfies. For each commitment, provide a brief narrative of those policy aspects that serve to satisfy the requirement.
  5. For processes and procedures: Identify the specific process and procedure steps required to satisfy the commitment. Label these steps in the left margin with the alphanumeric designator of the requirement. Create an appendix listing the requirements associated with that procedure. The listing should include both the requirement name/title, requirement alphanumeric designator and process/procedure step(s)
  6. Update monitoring program documents to drive active reinforcement of the requirements, guidelines, and commitments. (Note that these documents should be treated as procedures.)
  7. As new regulatory requirements and industry guidelines are issued or commitments entered into, update the commitment catalog and appropriate policies, processes, and procedures in accordance with Steps 2 – 6.
  8. When updating policies, processes, and procedures, require reviewers and approvers of the changes validate that no requirement satisfying actions were inadvertently eliminated or diluted such that compliance is no longer maintained.

This system clearly links organizational practices and activities to the company’s commitments, thereby, bringing attention to those practices that must not be eliminated or diluted while at the same time affording individuals an opportunity to compare the practice to the requirement to enable identification of compliance-maintaining efficiency improvements.

Final Thought…

While the practice of cataloging requirements and linking them to policies, processes, and procedures helps ensure the organization continues performing those activities necessary to meet its obligations, it is by no means a foolproof system. Therefore, StrategyDriven recommends the index of commitment requirements be used to periodically audit the organization’s policies, processes and procedures to verify compliance activities have been maintained and to also review those personnel performance evaluation programs ensuring enforce activity performance.[/wcm_restrict][wcm_nonmember plans=”49014, 25542, 25653″]

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