What’s the difference between a policy, process and procedure?
This article is part of our Process 101 guide.
Seems like a simple question, right? And yet debating terminology is a recurring issue in our strategy meetings. We can easily decide on the functionality to create within our platform, but deciding whether it’s policy, process or procedure is a whole other challenge.
So, policy, process and procedure…
Let’s start with a boring dictionary definition:
Policy: “a course or principle of action adopted or proposed by an organisation or individual.”
Process: “a series of actions or steps taken in order to achieve a particular end.”
Procedure: “an established or official way of doing something.”
Clear? Thought not. To provide that all-important clarity we probably need the guidance of an ‘expert’ in this space. Someone that, like us, has spent hours debating the difference between a task and a process.
Here’s what a couple of our competitors say:
Policy: “the guidelines or laws that drive the processes/procedures”
Process: “a high level view”
Procedure: “providing the detail”
It’s brief and simple, but still not really clear. So what about this:
Policy: “the overall guidelines”
Process: “the flows of activity”
Procedure: “the detailed instructions of steps”
Nice! Clear, succinct…but I fear it’s still not quite right.
The ultimate definition of a policy, process and procedure
IT DOESN’T MATTER.
That’s right. It really doesn’t matter what policy, process and procedure means because ultimately they all mean the same thing – they are the ‘rules’ by which we run our businesses.
And just as your customer onboarding process is different to my customer onboarding process, is different to every other company’s customer onboarding process, the words we use to describe the way our businesses operate are different.
Ultimately, all that matters is that things (whatever you call them) are done the same way, every time, by everyone. And that’s exactly what Process Bliss does…
How Process Bliss manages your policies, processes and procedures
Process Bliss manages your policies, processes and procedures in three simple ways:
1. Allows you to map processes
Process Bliss lets you document the way your organisation operates. Through process templates you can record all the necessary steps, attaching useful information and relevant documentation.
2. Create checklists
Every time your process template is used, users are automatically notified that they need to do something. And when complete their tasks, they simply tick it off.
3. Track progress
Through the simple reports you can see every time a template has been used, if it was completed as you intended, or whether users encountered any issues.