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

Understanding the Organizational Context to Develop Valuable Policies & Procedures

– Raymond E. Urgo

Introduction

As a policies and procedures (P&P) practitioner, do you delve into P&P content development projects without a clear understanding of the organizational context? Astute P&P practitioners add more than documentation skills to assignments—they apply an understanding of the organizational context from three perspectives.

Definition: Organizational context

The organizational context refers to the scope of an entity, such as

  • parent organization (organization owning one or more entities)
  • enterprise (an entire organization)
  • division or department (a sub-organization within the overall organization)
  • work unit (a sub-sub-organization)
  • work role (one person’s job or part of a job).

Three perspectives

To gain a comprehensive understanding of the organizational context for the P&P, apply the following perspectives in this sequence:

  • Strategic—Focuses on long-term needs within the organizational context to ensure P&P are appropriate.
  • Tactical—Focuses on the functions within the organizational context to ensure P&P are effective.
  • Operational—Focuses on the users’ tasks within the organizational context to ensure P&P are efficient.

Guidelines: Strategic perspective

  • Review the vision, mission, charter, purpose, values, and historical evolution for the organizational context.
  • Identify the internal and external customers, vendors, competitors, and the trends affecting the operation of the organizational context.
  • Speak with the highest level of people within the organizational context to obtain their perspectives, opinions, values, and needs.

Guidelines: Tactical perspective

  • Be cognizant of the high-level process workflows for the organizational context.
  • Identify similarities and differences in the structure and major workflows with a comparable organizational context providing the same functions.
  • Speak with mid-level managers within the organizational context to obtain their thoughts, opinions, ideas, and challenges.

Guidelines: Operational perspective

  • Review forms, logs, records, software, and equipment used in performing tasks within the organizational context.
  • Become familiar with job descriptions and the work environment where the work is performed.
  • Observe workers performing the actual tasks; speak with those doing the work to understand their frustrations and why work is done certain ways.

Conclusion

By applying an understanding of the organizational context from three perspectives—strategic, tactical, and operational, P&P practitioners ensure P&P projects add true value.


For advice on developing policies and procedures that provide strategic, tactical, and operational value within your organizational context, contact Urgo & Associates.