Lori N. McCausland
Components of a Great Procedure
What Makes a Great Procedure?
So – you want to update (or write from scratch!) your procedures?
YAY. If you’ve followed us at all, you know we’re applauding!
And since we’re both Procedure Geeks (Lori is especially the Procedure Queen), we have guidelines for you.
Introduction: why do it?
Everyone does better when they know why they’re doing something.
Knowing the reason – beyond “SBA requires it!” – will help your people engage with the procedure more fully, cause them to be more careful about completing it accurately, and will inevitably create better results.
First: step-by-step instructions
It’s undoubtedly obvious that any good procedure includes step-by-step instructions on how to complete the necessary task(s).
And yes, those instructions should be compiled by someone experienced with what’s involved.
But don’t stop there. Have you heard the term “the curse of knowledge”? It simply means that when we’re very familiar with something, we tend to forget what it’s like to be a beginner.
So once your expert has compiled those step-by-step instructions, have the instructions tested by at least one other person who’s never done this before. And “tested” means they actually do the task(s), instead of just reading through the procedure to see if it makes sense.
That’s the only way to be sure your procedure will be useful in the real world.
Second: where in the world is this procedure located?
Timing and sequencing are important in the life cycle of an SBA loan. Where does this procedure fall?
Creating a master timeline of your procedures will be a huge help both in making sure that each is located correctly in the sequence, and so you spot any missing procedures you might need to develop.
Third: what systems are used in completing the procedure?
Is it a core system? a document-management system? a third-party portal? Make sure you include the systems to be used – and you may also need to reference training materials or resources on how to use those systems.
Fourth: who has access to those system(s)?
This should be a reference to a position, role, or title, not a specific person. You don’t want the name of a long-gone employee in your procedure documents!
Is there more than one person typically in that role? If not, is there a back-up role who can fill in if necessary? Include it all in the procedure document.
Fifth: what’s the procedure review schedule?
All your procedures should be reviewed on a regular basis. As we know all too well, SBA makes frequent changes and updates, and you need to be sure to capture those in your procedure documents. So add your new procedure to the review cycle!
Congratulations! You’ve just completed a thorough, well-written procedure document.
Or – want help with that? We can review your current procedures, and / or help you write new ones. Just contact us to set up a call for us to understand your needs and see how we can help.