TechWhirl (TECHWR-L) is a resource for technical writing and technical communications professionals of all experience levels and in all industries to share their experiences and acquire information.
For two decades, technical communicators have turned to TechWhirl to ask and answer questions about the always-changing world of technical communications, such as tools, skills, career paths, methodologies, and emerging industries. The TechWhirl Archives and magazine, created for, by and about technical writers, offer a wealth of knowledge to everyone with an interest in any aspect of technical communications.
Subject:Re: Policy vs Procedure? From:"R2 Innovations" <R2innovations -at- myna -dot- com> To:techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com Date:Fri, 3 Mar 2000 21:15:18 +0000
Chris Kowalchuk <chris -at- bdk -dot- net> wrote:
> I can't help picking on one little part of Ralph Robinson's post:
> Perhaps at least part of the reason people have trouble with the ISO
> 9000 definition of what constitutes procedure is that it contradicts the
> standard English definition of the word: "mode of conducting business or
> legal action; mode of performing task" [OED]. That is to say, the "how"
> of a thing is intrinsic to the very notion of procedure. I think the ISO
> standard chose its terminology a bit unfortunately in this case.
I agree with you Chris, that the selection of the term Procedure to
mean the what, where, when, and who by ISO was unfortunate for us in
North America. It isn't however, confusing to a significant portion
of the world outside NA. I have never had it confirmed, but have
been told that in most of Europe and many other parts of the world,
procedures only describe the who, what, where, and when, while
Work Instructions provide the How. Maybe some our learned members
from the other side of the Atlantic, or Pacific, can verify/deny that
We must remember, that, while many countries have input into the
development of the ISO standards, North America represents only TWO
member countries. If the majority of the member countries think
differently than we do here, the resulting standards are bound to
reflect those beliefs. Doesn't necessarily make it right, but it
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