P&P Policies and Procedures Consulting
P&P Policies and Procedures Consulting

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The Policies & Procedures Authority – The newsletter about the art of transforming workplace learning and performance through Policies & Procedures Communication

Policies & Procedures Writer, Analyst, or Subject Matter Expert: Who Do We Need?

– Raymond E. Urgo


I am responsible for overseeing policies and procedures (P&P) for the purchasing function of a county government agency. We need to update a 10-year old P&P manual available in PDF and want to have the latest features, including online. My director and I are debating whether to contract someone knowledgeable about government purchasing or in writing P&P. What’s your advice?

Advice in short

My advice is to further clarify your primary needs, ranging from a pure subject matter expert in government purchasing to a pure specialist in P&P documentation. Doing so will enable you to confidently engage the right talents or compensate with alternatives should the needed talents be fully or partially unavailable or unaffordable.

Pure subject matter knowledge

If you want someone to review and recommend effective government purchasing practices (trends, best practices, purchasing systems), seek an expert in government purchasing. Although such experts may profess to have written P&P, don’t assume they are proficient or professional P&P writers in the latest and best practices of developing P&P content. Writing and word processing are inexpensive talents these days – most everyone has been writing since first grade; far fewer are dedicated as content developers of P&P.

P&P analyst

If you want someone to collaborate with you to analyze, formulate, simplify, and document your purchasing P&P, seek a P&P analyst, business systems and procedures analyst, methods analysts, or management consultant. While knowledge of government purchasing would be a plus, collaborative, analytical, and P&P documentation talents are a necessity that should take precedence.

Pure P&P documentation

If you want someone to write, format, edit, and prepare content for online use, seek a P&P writer, technical writer, or editor. However, for your situation you probably need more than a writer to rewrite the manual; you need someone to identify existing practices and those you need to revise or add.

Advice in summary

I suspect you may be best with the second scenario or a combination that supports it. Realize that a good P&P analyst is a “process-oriented specialist,” adaptable to any subject matter. While developing the P&P content, a good P&P specialist has the ability to cull and formulate the best business practices that may be dormant in the people responsible for or familiar with the work practices. At certain points in the project, you might want to call in a government purchasing expert for an opinion and a P&P writer/editor to assist in more cost-effective ways. Some P&P specialists may have such associates that can assist.

Contact Urgo & Associates today to clarify your needs for talent involving policies and procedures communication that supports workplace learning and performance.

Have a question about P&P Communication? Ask the P&P Expert.