Writing Useful Instructions


When you need to explain in writing how to do something, a set of step-by-step instructions is your best choice. By enumerating the steps, you make it easy for readers to perform the process in the correct sequence. Your goal is to provide a clear, self-sufficient explanation so that readers can perform the task independently.

Gather Equipment

  1. Writing materials (pen and paper, typewriter, computer)
  2. Background materials (previous memos, policy manuals, manufacturer’s booklets, etc.)
  3. When necessary, the apparatus being explained (machine, software package, or other equipment)

Prepare

  1. Perform the task yourself, or ask experts to demonstrate it or describe it to you in detail.
  2. Analyze prospective readers’ familiarity with the process so that you can write instructions at their level of understanding.

Make your Instructions Clear

  1. Include four elements: an introduction, a list of equipment and materials, a description of the steps involved in the process, and a conclusion.
  2. Explain in the opening why the process is important and how it is related to a larger purpose.
  3. Divide the process into short, simple steps presented in order of occurrence.
  4. Present the steps in a numbered list, or if presenting them in paragraph format, use words indicating time or sequence, such as first and then.
  5. If the process involves more than ten steps, divide them into groups or stages identified with headings.
  6. Phrase each step as a command (“Do this” instead of “You should do this”); use active verbs; use precise, specific terms (“three weeks” instead of “several weeks”).
  7. When appropriate, describe how to tell whether a step has been performed correctly and how one step may influence another. Warn readers of possible damage or injury from a mistake in a step, but limit the number of warnings so that readers do not underestimate their importance.
  8. Include diagrams of complicated devices, and refer to them in appropriate steps.
  9. Summarize the importance of the process and the expected results.

Test your Instructions

  1. Review the instructions to be sure they are clear and complete. Also judge whether you have provided too much detail.
  2. Ask someone else to read the instructions and tell you whether they make sense and are easy to follow.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, and my Lectures.

 

Electronic Meetings


If it were possible to travel at nearly the speed of light, you could, in a single day, meet with managers in London, Rio de Janeiro, Cairo, and Stockholm, spend time preparing for each meeting, then be home for dinner at a reasonable hour. That sounds like an impossible schedule, because we can’t travel at light speed. Yet, executives are holding those meetings, all on the same day, and never going far from their offices. While our bodies resist transport through space, our voices and our images, carried by electronic impulses, encircle the globe in seconds, allowing us to personally communicate with others in virtually every place on earth.

This new age of global electronic communications has opened the need for learning a new series of meeting skills. The electronic meeting is not only a reality, it’s an everyday occurrence. There are two types of electronic meetings in which participants offer views in a personal exchange. The first is the teleconference. The videoconference is the second electronic meeting method.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, and my Lectures.

Failure Mode and Effect Analysis (FMEA)


“It is always better to be prepared and prevent rather than to repair and repent.” This is a quotation which emphasizes preventive techniques.

World is ever changing. People went better from good and best from better. Industry people have also begun to think of different approaches to satisfy the customer. They have now come to the stage of finding out the methods to prevent a problem rather than ‘finding out a solution to a problem’ and finding out methods to eliminate waste from monitoring of waste.

Failure mode and effect analysis is one of the tools of total quality management which helps in finding out the possible failure modes of a design, product, process or service and setting up ways to prevent their occurrence.

FMEA is a proactive tool which is used to foresee the probable failures that can occur at a later stage. This forces one to analyze critically each and every process with the sole aim of identifying problems that may emerge.

  • A failure mode and effect analysis is an engineering technique used to define, identify and eliminate known and/or potential failures, problems, errors and so on from the system, design, process and/or service before they reach the customer.
  • The FMEA will identify corrective actions required to prevent failures from reaching the customer, thereby assuring the highest durability, quality and reliability possible in a product or service.

FMEA involves:

  • Identifying known and potential failure mode;
  • Identifying cause and effect of each failure mode;
  • Prioritizing the failure mode according to Risk Priority Number;
  • Finding out preventive action for failure mode.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, Line of Sight

Behavior Products


Behavior products essentially refer to measurements of the effects or results of behaviors rather than the behaviors themselves. That is, rather than directly monitoring the actual behavior of the client, you would monitor any temporary or permanent effect (product) that can be seen as the result of a specific behavior. When the behavior product is simply deposited or left over from some ordinary set of client/system interactions, the “product” is synonymous with a type of “physical traces.”

 

Behavior products can be used when a more direct measure of the behavior might interfere with the behavior directly, or when the behavior itself is not available for measurement. Since the observer is not ordinarily present when behavior products are used, there is less chance for the measurement process to interfere with the natural occurrence of the behavior.

 

There are a number of advantages of using products. First, a product readily lends itself to precise counting and quantification for evaluation purposes. Second, the observer does not have to be present when a behavior is being performed. Third, using behavior products generally does not disturb or interrupt the ongoing flow of the client’s behavior. Finally, use of behavior products is relatively easy to implement, requires little or no special equipment, and can easily be taught to the client or relevant others.

 

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, Line of Sight