Re: Policy vs Procedure?

Subject: Re: Policy vs Procedure?
From: "R2 Innovations" <R2innovations -at- myna -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
Date: Thu, 2 Mar 2000 21:42:18 +0000

> Anthony Markatos wrote:
> > Question for all listserv members:
> >
> > What is the difference between a Policy and a Procedure?
> >
Well, from an ISO 9000 viewpoint, a Policy is a statement of intent.
It specifies what the organization intends to do. Some people say
that it provides the justification (the why) for the documentation
that supports it - the procedures and the work instructions.

Procedures, on the other hand, define who does something, what the
something is, where it is done, and when it is done. It DOES NOT
describe how something is done: that is the purview of the Work
Instruction - to describe how something is done.

Having said all that, I admit that this is somewhat of a change of
thinking for most American (North American) businesses. For many of
us, a procedure describes HOW something is done. In over 6 years of
working exclusively with ISO 9000 documentation, lecturing on it at
STC conventions, and teaching it at a local college, this is the most
difficult concept for many to accept. Why? Because in many cases,
industry (especially in manufacturing concerns and rarely in software
development firms) processes weren't usually described, as everyone
thought in a siloed, departmental manner - just like the organization
was structured! Today with the emphasis swinging to a
process-oriented view, this is beginning to change.

Anyone remember J. Edwards Demmings? His view of looking at the
process by which things are made was shunned by American businessmen
at the end of WW II. So, he took his message to Japan, where is was
embraced, expanded upon, and perfected. The rest, as they say, is

Hope this helps.

Ralph E. Robinson
R2 Innovations, Specialists in ISO 9000 Documentation

Author of "Documenting ISO 9000: Guidelines for Compliant
Documentation", an APEX '98 Award of Excellence publication.
Email: r2innovations -at- myna -dot- com

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