RE: Beginning topic titles with "How to..."?

Subject: RE: Beginning topic titles with "How to..."?
From: "Dori Green" <dgreen -at- associatedbrands -dot- com>
To: "techwr-l List" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 19 Feb 2008 10:24:15 -0500

"How to Wash Parts" beats "Parts Washing Procedure" all hollow. IMNSHO.

Whenever possible I engage final users in the creation of instructions,
and I usually let them select the title. We have a few conventions for

Start with "Associated Brands..." if the document applies to all

Start with the department or area name if the document applies to one
department or area, for example: "Mixing Pre-Operation Checklist".

"How to..." and "Instructions for..." and "Guidelines for..." can all be
used for instructions. I let the users choose. Guidelines and
Instructions/How To are subtly different and when necessary we spend
some time on discussing and understanding that difference. <in case it
isn't obvious, "Guidelines" = "Should do it this way, helpful hints" and
"Instructions/How To" = "Do It This Way Or Risk Disciplinary Action".
If there is any risk of personal or equipment or product damage, it's
got to be an instruction/how to.

The word "procedure" is so badly misunderstood and abused here that I do
not allow it. We had a QC (not QA) person who insisted on creating
"protocols" instead of "test plans" but she is no longer here. She
wasn't wrong but our user population has no clue that a protocol is a
test plan.

We have process overviews or descriptions, instructions, checklists,
forms, and supporting documents (charts, photos, illustrations,
examples, etc.). Any reasonably intelligent person can obtain their own
working list of documents that apply to their area with a simple title
search of the database because I am ruthless about the accuracy of
document titles so that the title list becomes pretty much

Dori Green
I tossed this reply out without editing and I'm on painkillers. Take
what you like and leave the rest.


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Beginning topic titles with "How to...": From: Deborah Slutzky
Beginning topic titles with "How to..."?: From: Geoff Hart

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