Features of a well-written procedure - Summary

Subject: Features of a well-written procedure - Summary
From: "Thomas Quine" <quinet -at- home -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 15 Feb 2001 15:09:16 -0800

A few months ago this list discussed the features of a well-written
procedure, and I promised a summary of the 30-40 comments I received. Was
kinda busy for a while, but now I'm able to post the following.
A Good Procedure:
* Is short
* Is clear
* Uses the active voice
* Has a title
* Clearly defines the task
* Accurately defines the outcome
* Follows a logical and sequential progression
* Uses seven (plus or minus 2) steps
* Describes one action per step
* Numbers the steps
* Uses parallelism
* Uses graphics appropriately
* Has a conclusion

The only real item of contention was the seven (plus or minus 2) thing. On
the basis of all the arguments I read, I decided to leave this one in there,
because in the experience of many of those who commented, 5-7 steps were
easy to follow, but the more steps you had past seven, the harder it became
for the reader to stay on task, to keep their place, to remember what step
they were on, to remember what they had already done and hadn't yet done,
The above of course is just a rule of thumb, and any rules can stand to be
broken if the occasion warrants...
- Thom

Thom Quine
2395 Oak St.
Vancouver, B.C.
V6H 2J8
(604) 733-3363
quinet -at- home -dot- com

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