Month: March 2014

What is Process Documentation?

Bill Hades made notes on his clipboard. Unlike most clipboards, this one had a digital display in the upper right corner and its electronic clock was ticking off decimal hours. The crew he watched was bolting precision machined segmented handling rings onto the skirt of a Space Shuttle Booster Motor.

My father wrote this sketch when he was working at a rocket factory in the industrial engineering department. Recently my partner described a similar scene while documenting a process for her current assignment. Process documentation is not new, but the names used to describe it obviously have changed. As technical writers, process documentation is one of many facets of the field that successful writers should be familiar with.

Process documentation is more than just timing each step of the process. It includes describing each step as well as determining differences between how individual operators, also know as Subject Matter Experts (SME), perform the process. It also includes determining the most efficient way to perform the process and how to explain that process to others. In some cases, this can lead to standardizing a process to control quality of a product.

Neil Dabb