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:How many steps? From:Richard Sobocinski <"Richard_G_Sobocinski%~WHC207"@CCMAIL.PNL.GOV> Date:Thu, 9 Jun 1994 14:21:00 -0700
How many steps do you/your department find acceptable in a procedure?
I'm writing a long, complex set of instructions & keep breaking them into
Somehow, though, they still seem awfully long & complicated.
What rules do you follow?
Thanks for your ideas--
I have to number steps in legal format (1, 1.1, 1.1.1, etc)
with each level indented. I try to avoid anything beyond the
fifth level and then only as numbered lists. My basic rule
is to only go to the next level if greater detail is
warranted. The 1st level identifies the basic subject
(safety, references, personnel requirements, procedures,
etc). The 2nd level identifies broad subsections and 3rd
level provides single action command steps. Fourth level
steps provide more detail for a less experienced user to
perform the 3rd level action.
1.1 Start the Froznobbin Inverter
1.1.1 Open the left handed knooter valve
184.108.40.206 Unlock the knooter valve handwheel
220.127.116.11 Roll up your sleeves
18.104.22.168 Grasp handwheel firmly
22.214.171.124 Turn handwheel CCW