Process vs procedure: what is the difference? This is a question that can keep professionals arguing for hours; And that is because, although many of us think that we know what a procedure or a process is, when we are asked to determine the difference, we find that our definition for both is relatively similar.
What are the processes:
The processes are a great image; They describe a series of tasks that lead to an end result. You have a starting point and an end point. An example is when we load a destination in the GPS to go in our city. It will show us a map of where you are and where you want to be. However, many streets will take you to your final destination.
In business, this big picture is one of several medium to large tasks. It is likely to involve more than one person and more than one department. Taking social networks as an example, the process is the steps and objectives of the same . This includes publishing articles, which are then sent to the social media department for publicity. The social media department then monitors the responses. Social media scales some responses to support, while others carry over to testimonials.
If your social media department includes multiple people, your process will detail who runs Facebook, who runs the blog, Pinterest, Twitter, etc. Basically, it will describe the top view of when one department (or person) needs to be handed over to another department (or person) and what the end goal is when all these departments are done.
If your process includes many people and departments, expect delays between steps as it may happen that one department finishes before another department, or one person is ready before another.
An important distinction to make is that your process is the basic description of what your company or social network does and what it does. However, it does not include day-to-day steps.
What are the procedures:
Procedures, or standard operating procedures (SOPs), are those daily, step-by-step instructions. This is not a map of the city, but detailed step-by-step directions on how you are supposed to get to your destination and what to do when you get there.
Continuing with our social media example, the procedure details everything that department will do . For example, when your day starts, you check to see if you need to post about a new article. Then check for comments on Facebook. The department will have instructions on how it should handle specific types of comments. If your procedure includes committing to other pages, you will need to engage with them. Or your job may be to find a funny picture and share it.
Why do you need this for your business?
Writing all the steps takes time, but it also gives you room to delegate . This means that if you get sick, or if part of your team gets sick, you don’t have to struggle to teach someone; they just need to follow their policy, process and procedures.
Some of you who have smaller businesses may be thinking, my business doesn’t need all of these things. And you are right; Maybe not yet. However, this is the way you plan for growth, and policies, processes, and procedures are the keys to scale and grow .
All companies and organizations understand a set of policies and procedures, although not all companies have gone through the effort of writing them. Policies establish the strategic direction of a company, while procedures describe the steps to achieve short-term objectives. Even if a company does not have a written set of policies and procedures, most have implemented ad hoc rules and work processes over time for employees to follow.