Since life isn't always simple and clear-cut, some procedures need to allow subjectivity and individual choices.
Not everything needs a procedure, so don't create procedures for basic tasks – otherwise they'll be ignored.
But, if your colleague calls in sick, and you're suddenly responsible for getting the payroll out on time, it's good to have a well-written, detailed procedure to help guide you through.
If done right, procedures can have an important effect on an organization.
Many procedures seem "black and white," with clear steps and only one way of doing things: "Complete A, then B, then C." But sometimes you need to be less exact and allow room for personal judgment.
When a procedure is too tight, it can cause confusion.
As the procedure writer, you want a clear understanding of what's going on in as much detail as possible.
From there, cut down the information to what the end-user really needs to best understand the process.
Talk with content experts as well as others who hold key information – long-time staff members, stakeholders, technical staff, and people who will use the procedure.
Take lots of notes, and then sit down with the information and sort it out.