How To Write Work Instructions

Differences between Processes, Procedures và Work Instructions

Por: Pedro Roblevày, BPM process management expert


Many people often confuse these three terms: business ProcessProcedure, and Work Instruction. In fact, most people write work instructions & Hotline them procedures, & define a procedure as a process. My objective sầu in this paper is khổng lồ provide the difference amongst the three terms to lớn help you understvà when khổng lồ use each term in the Quality Management of your Business.

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The ISO 9001:năm ngoái standard (Quality management systems - Fundamentals and vocabulary) defines the concept of Business Process as: "A set of related or interacting activities, which transsize inputs inlớn outputs". It is possible khổng lồ qualify something more by saying that a process is a sequence of activities with a realization order in time, which converts a given input đầu vào into an output (result, a product). Any activity, or mix of activities, that uses resources to transform input đầu vào elements into lớn results can be considered as a process.

Business Processes are modeled on the Business Process Model và Notation (BPMN) standard, reflecting the start of the process, the responsibilities of the activities, the sequence flows with all possible paths (lớn collect all the exceptions through decision points), the activities lớn be carried out, the roles that exeđáng yêu each activity, the events that occur in the process & the finalization (one or several over events) of the process.

Do not confuse procedure with process. The ISO 9001: 2015 says that a Procedure is: “specified way lớn carry out an activity or a process”. When you have a process that must happen in a specific way, và you specify how it happens, you have a procedure. The procedure is mandatory and is necessary to develop any Quality Management System. Please pay your attention that not all processes need to have sầu a procedure, và that the same process may have associated one or several procedures.

A procedure will be determined by the need to lớn detail the specific way of doing the activities by legal issues, regulatory compliance or company policies. The procedures are used for those activities in which several operations are linked and different people or departments of the company are involved (for example, Procedure for the presentation of Fiscal Models in the Treasury, Purchasing Procedure, Supplier Evaluation Procedure, Automation Procedure of Invoices, Procedure for Risk Work…).


Work Instructions are documents that clearly và precisely describe the correct way lớn perkhung certain tasks that may cause inconvenience or damage if not done in the established manner. That is, describe, dictate or stipulate the steps that must be followed khổng lồ correctly perkhung any specific activity or work.

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For example, Document of the Purchasing Area that describes the Accreditation Documentation of the Expense lớn be presented by the Employee in his Expense Note & the steps to lớn proceed lớn present his monthly expenses; this work instruction would be linked to lớn the "Submit Expense Note" Activity.

The work instructions are mainly focused on explaining how a specific activity is going lớn be carried out, và they are mandatory. The work instructions are used khổng lồ describe a specific operation, usually associated with a job. If they are not mandatory, we would be talking about a Work Guide.


Main Differences between Process, Procedure & Work Instruction





Flow of sequences of activities that transsize input elements into lớn results

Specific way khổng lồ carry out a process

Describe the correct steps to lớn perkhung a specific task. 


What we do


Where it takes place

When it happens

How the work has to been performed và why

How accomplish a specific task within a process with very detailed directions

Orchestration the work

Mandatory method

Mandatory guidance

Can respond lớn 0, 1 or more procedures

It may consist of 0, 1 or more work instructions

Focus on the instructions of 1 task

Transversal by Business Units

Cross-Functional or only 1 business unit

Only 1 business unit

Participate more than one role

Participate more than one role

Participate only one role

Encapsulates activities

Explains how to lớn vì chưng but doesn’t get to lớn the all details of how it is done

All the detail of all the steps lớn follow in an activity

Provides the workflow mã sản phẩm in BPMN at a high level

Document with both narrative sầu và images, usually in the size of use cases and workflow diagrams

Document with the maximum detail that explains step by step the instructions that must be carried out in an activity




BPM helps exexinh tươi business processes to achieve compliance with the Quality Management System so that the organization keeps all the documented information (mandatory records) for ISO unique audits.

A procedure is usually described in a Word document, but could include the complete diagram in BPMN that explains at a high màn chơi the different activities to lớn be performed. The ISO 9001 standard requires documented procedures for effective planning, operation và control of the processes within the unique management system of a company, which will include the documented information necessary lớn tư vấn the operation of the processes.

The work instructions are optional for a system based on ISO 9001, but are generally included for consistent operations. The instructions are written lớn give instructions in a logical work sequence.




Ensures the preservation of all documented information (mandatory records) và traceability for ISO quality audits

Documented information required (required by ISO 9001) for effective sầu planning, operation & control of processes

Instructions are optional for a system based on ISO 9001, but are generally included for consistent operations

Ensure that the Quality Management System (QMS) runs correctly & consistently in order lớn run according khổng lồ the required policies & regulations

Ensure that the Quality Management System (QMS) be defined correctly in order to lớn run according to lớn the required policies & regulations

Ensure consistent operations made by a person in a task according lớn the required policies & regulations



The BPMN Business Process will be supported if necessary by procedures for mandatory legislative or regulatory compliance or company policies. And it will be supported by work instructions to document the obligatory steps to lớn follow in those activities that require it.

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