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Thread: How detailed are your processes and procedures?

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    Default How detailed are your processes and procedures?

    In my last company, we had plenty of detailed specifications. Our materials used, our project deliverables, including cad/bim standards, etc.
    The only processes and procedures we had (outside of preventative maintenance checklists on our equipment) were the ones we had to make for the disaster recovery plans (aka, we lose some part of our system, here's how we'd maintain and replace X function for 1 day, 2 day, a week, etc).

    As I was wrapping up my employment there, I started writing processes and procedures for my role(s). I say plural, because a lot of my duties were shuffled off onto other people, because they really had nothing to do with the job I was hired to do and wouldn't be foisted on my replacement. As I was writing those, I tended to organize it like the No Experience Required book that I edit. Like...

    Overview of the topic / Goal of process - what
    Explanation of why we're taking action a certain way - why
    Step by Step procedure - who/where/how
    *any applicable caveats/warnings, etc

    Since it was such a massive brain dump, trying not to lose the benefit of all of my work and avoiding overwhelming the person(s) who would come along later so they didn't waste time floundering (or, more likely, get frustrated and overwhelmed and leave), I decided that in my new role, I would document as I went along. My first three months here were really slow, as I waited for a system upgrade to take place, I took all of the notes my consultant had given me when interviewing each of my users, and started clarifying them.
    Obviously, one huge benefit to me as well, was ensuring that I understood everything, by writing an explanation myself.
    As the old aphorism goes, 'if you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough.'

    A few months ago, my company started an initiative to formalize processes and procedures for the support departments (our money-making areas already had these well established). I took my processes and fit them into my boss's template and boom, 15 pages of documentation, containing what/why/who/where/how. He did comment to me recently, as I'm taking on some more tasks from our corporate facilities manager, who has been too busy to do more than the basics on those p&p docs, that he viewed the manual as more of a workflow guide, and not necessarily something that would provide us with step by step instructions.

    I kind of boggled at that, of course. I don't think it does much good to say 'import employees and update space records and run occupancy report', when you're not even saying what employee data you need, where it comes from, who it goes to, how it gets into the system and how and why we run each of our reports.

    Not sure I've really got a point here. I'm not going to change the 'no experience required' way that I'm documenting and/or editing these processes, but, I would like to hear from others.
    1. Do you have processes and procedures for your company/department?
    2. If so, does it contain an overall workflow?
    3. Explanations of why things are set up the way they are?
    4. Step by step instructions which could actually serve as training if need be?


    Would really love to hear any other comments you've got about processes and procedures. Graphics heavy? Flow charts to make things simple? All text? Or text interspersed with graphics?
    Melanie Stone
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    Default Re: How detailed are your processes and procedures?

    So, can I take the deafening silence on this issue to mean that people do not have formally documented Processes and Procedures?
    Melanie Stone
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    Default Re: How detailed are your processes and procedures?

    Most of my jobs are wildly different from each other -- and the boss tends to wing it a lot
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    Default Re: How detailed are your processes and procedures?

    Quote Originally Posted by cadtag View Post
    Most of my jobs are wildly different from each other -- and the boss tends to wing it a lot
    I am familiar with that approach as well.

    I am taking on some tasks from a busy project manager right now, and she gets things done, but, tends to wing it AND keep a ton of knowledge in her head. So, I am sure I've been annoying her by my insistence on detail and doing things correctly from the beginning of taking this stuff on. She finally told me 'it doesn't matter, you decide, and then we'll always do it that way.' So... if all else fails, be pushy. ~taking notes~ I'm gonna have to work on this one, believe it or not.
    Melanie Stone
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    Super Moderator rkmcswain's Avatar
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    Default Re: How detailed are your processes and procedures?

    Quote Originally Posted by Wanderer View Post
    So, can I take the deafening silence on this issue to mean that people do not have formally documented Processes and Procedures?
    To answer your questions 1-4 from the original post...

    1. Yes.
    2. Generally, yes.
    3. Not really.
    4. Some of the processes, yes. Others, no.

    The ones we have a fairly general and not terribly specific because each project varies and there are other factors such as regulatory agency requirements that vary by project, etc.
    I know that probably doesn't help much, but if you have some specific questions, I'll try to answer them.
    R.K. McSwain | CAD Panacea |

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    Default Re: How detailed are your processes and procedures?

    Quote Originally Posted by rkmcswain View Post
    To answer your questions 1-4 from the original post...

    1. Yes.
    2. Generally, yes.
    3. Not really.
    4. Some of the processes, yes. Others, no.

    The ones we have a fairly general and not terribly specific because each project varies and there are other factors such as regulatory agency requirements that vary by project, etc.
    I know that probably doesn't help much, but if you have some specific questions, I'll try to answer them.
    Oh, thanks.
    That does make sense. I really shouldn't expect 3, or 4, from typical processes and procedures.

    Unfortunately, I got in the habit of including explanations of 'why' after having CAD/BIM Standards in my lap for so long.
    All of our contractors, archies, engineers, etc think owners are stupid and their cad standards make no sense, so, after having a few come-to-jesus meetings, as my director called them, when I explained using very small words precisely WHY we needed things the way we did, I just put it in the documentation, so I'd stop getting lectured on autocad by... people who obviously don't spend enough time on AUGI.
    Once people understand why, they're more likely to go ahead and do it, instead of blowing it off (in my experience).
    Melanie Stone
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    Default Re: How detailed are your processes and procedures?

    1. Do you have processes and procedures for your company/department?
    Yes, though they are broken, outdated, and generally behind today's accepted/required processes procedures.

    2. If so, does it contain an overall workflow?
    No, though some processes should.

    3. Explanations of why things are set up the way they are?
    No, though I actually believe that some things should be explained in the manual because I can then either refer them to the "why", or eliminate a question all together.

    4. Step by step instructions which could actually serve as training if need be?
    No, but again, some things should. Company specific processes should be broken down to easily understandable steps so that new hires aren't overwhelmed trying to remember tiny details.


    I am at a new company with a new role after a very long time with my previous employer. All of the things above fall into one of my side roles here and will eventually be addressed. The good thing is that there are standards and processes in place, the bad news is that every time they are supposed to be updated the information doesn't make it to every end user.
    "I think I fish, in part, because it's an anti-social, bohemian business that, when gone about properly, puts you forever outside the mainstream culture without actually landing you in an institution." - John Gierach

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    Default Re: How detailed are your processes and procedures?

    Quote Originally Posted by Coloradomrg View Post
    1. Do you have processes and procedures for your company/department?
    Yes, though they are broken, outdated, and generally behind today's accepted/required processes procedures.

    2. If so, does it contain an overall workflow?
    No, though some processes should.

    3. Explanations of why things are set up the way they are?
    No, though I actually believe that some things should be explained in the manual because I can then either refer them to the "why", or eliminate a question all together.

    4. Step by step instructions which could actually serve as training if need be?
    No, but again, some things should. Company specific processes should be broken down to easily understandable steps so that new hires aren't overwhelmed trying to remember tiny details.


    I am at a new company with a new role after a very long time with my previous employer. All of the things above fall into one of my side roles here and will eventually be addressed. The good thing is that there are standards and processes in place, the bad news is that every time they are supposed to be updated the information doesn't make it to every end user.
    Interesting and good.

    This brings up a good question to discuss as well.
    5. How do you distribute/access your processes and procedures?
    Our Processes and Procedures are on the server where we host our department's files.
    "Processes and procedures" is one of the few folders in the top of the directory structure. Anyone can download a copy and make edits, but, they're all sent through a Manager for approval and re-posting. There are no hard copies kept here (though I believe our CAO keeps electronic and hard copies for all divisions reporting to her).
    Melanie Stone
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    ARCHIBUS, FMS/FMInteract and AutoCAD Expert (I use Revit, too)
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    Default Re: How detailed are your processes and procedures?

    Our standards (processes/procedures/actual standards) reside on our intranet. Sort of. As I mentioned they aren't all up to date. The idea is that this is where they all live and can be kept up to date. Unfortunately as some point the idea and reality took different paths.

    Due to the intranet being a dinosaur of sorts, the company is kicking around different ideas on how to implement and share an updated manual. We are essentially paperless company wide, so one way we are contemplating the implementation is through a help file written by our programmer that could be made available through either a link, or pathed directly into autocad and possibly other applications (xcel, word, etc.). As a new hire, one of the first things I did was try to read through everything. That allows me to have an idea of where to look when I have questions about the way this company does things. Whatever the new format is, it must be easily understood and searchable!
    "I think I fish, in part, because it's an anti-social, bohemian business that, when gone about properly, puts you forever outside the mainstream culture without actually landing you in an institution." - John Gierach

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    Default Re: How detailed are your processes and procedures?

    1. Do you have processes and procedures for your company/department?
    Sort of. The company has been around for 20 years, so they keep wanting to do the same thing, but regulations and requirements are ever changing. This puts us into a reactionary mode of delivering a product when we didn't adequately check the ordinances. For my department (CAD), I have basic standards defined and I have written a process that I still need to type up and publish it.
    2. If so, does it contain an overall workflow?
    I intend for a start to finish workflow of the CAD part of a generic project. I've also visualized a start to finish process of the entire project, and not just the CAD.
    3. Explanations of why things are set up the way they are?
    I have not documented the why of our standards, and in many cases, I don't know it beyond that's how it was when I was given the standards to fix.
    4. Step by step instructions which could actually serve as training if need be?
    I have step by steps of some basic parts of the project setup, like creating sheet sets and data shortcuts for Civil 3D. It was mostly written for our aging employee who sometimes does CAD and still does things the old ways.
    5. How do you distribute/access your processes and procedures?
    My CAD Manual is printed and bound in three ring binders that was given to everyone who has CAD installed.

    I would love to compile all our company data, manuals, processes, etc. into an internal website. I'd like to tie that into Autocad's new features of displaying web data inside the program too.

    I have a lot of grand ideas and far too little time to implement them.
    Adam Reilly
    Obssessive Civil 3D User

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