How to Write an Effective Procedure

People often ignore the knowledge on how to write a procedure and go about their tasks the way they want. If you are also wondering why you need to know this, here are a few reasons why you must make your own procedure.

Imagine you were given a task that is unfamiliar to you, yet you were able to pull it off and successfully accomplish it. One factor might be the accurate and well laid-out procedure you followed. Following procedures can make the task easier and more attainable.

  What is a Procedure?

A procedure is a particular way of doing or accomplishing a task. It provides a series of steps in a definite order. It guides and helps you attain a goal on a specific task, whether it is common or a complicated one. Most of the time, when the task is lengthy, a carefully laid out procedure is provided. Directions, recipes, standard operating procedures, projects, manuals for different devices are just some examples of reading materials that can be considered procedures.

What are the advantages of writing a procedure?

We may not always use procedures, especially when the task at hand is easy and simple. But when it comes to complicated and complex processes, they will always come in handy.

Writing a procedure may:

  • Provide the steps and instructions in completing a task at hand.
  • Provide more accuracy and consistency in the process and result.
  • Avoid errors and mistakes that may be committed by the doer or follower of the procedure.
  • Answer the FAQs (frequently asked questions) about the process, especially when the person is not familiar with the process.
  • Help the reader validate or check the process and result of what they are doing.


What are the components of a procedure?

The title. It is important to give a title to the procedure you are writing because it provides a “bird’s-eye-view” of what the procedure is all about. For example, there are different procedures when cooking eggs. The titles may specify the process and result you intend to write about, like “cooking eggs through poaching” or “cooking a benedict egg”.

The use or purpose. All tasks have goals. This is what the reader should attain once they are done reading the procedure. for example, the procedure aims to enable the reader to make a home-made ice cream, or to reprogram a computer with a Celeron processor to a Core i3 processor.

The Resources. In the procedure you are writing, you should always include the needed resources such as materials, tools and equipment, or ingredients. This can be written in a list, and may be provided with the necessary measurements or amounts. This will help the reader prepare the things that he should have before going further with the procedure.

The Steps. It is the set of actions the reader should undertake. In writing the steps, make sure that the words you use focus on the actions. Use appropriate verbs and terms when giving the instructions. For example, in cooking, use the words stir, fold, grate, chop in steps where they should be accomplished. Transition words are also helpful in arranging the steps in a chronological order. Time allotment for accomplishing each step can also be helpful. A good example is the duration or time that you need to follow when baking a cake, or roasting chicken.