Introduction to the Checklist for Writing an Operations Manual:

An operations manual is an extremely useful document for any business and its employees to have.

But many businesses are discouraged from writing an operations manual as they don't know where to begin.

That's why the team at Process Street - a nifty piece of BPM software and a stellar checklist app - created this Checklist for Writing an Operations Manual for you to use.

Here's how it works.

First, you'll add your basic information and confirm who'll be creating the operations manual with you. Then, you'll assign writers to their tasks and make sure they understand what an operations manual is.

After that, you'll ensure all your business's processes are documented before getting down to the writing of the operations manual. This will be a tag-team effort between you, the project leader, and the writers/representatives you've chosen to work on this operations manual with you.

Once the operations manual's different sections have been written, you'll approve the content to make sure it's up to scratch. When it's all looking good, you'll tell all employees about the operations manual and schedule an operations manual audit for 3 months time.

Easy, right?

The Checklist for Writing an Operations Manual has been written to be used in tandem with the Operations Manual Template. When using both resources, you can efficiently and effectively create a solid operations manual.

Check out the Operations Manual Template now.

To discover how other forward-thinking companies are using Process Street to handle their business's operations, watch the video below.

Getting started:

Before writing the manual itself, you'll need to add your basic information, confirm who's helping you write the manual, assign them to their tasks, and ensure everyone knows what an operations manual is and what goes inside one.

Add basic information

Add your basic information.

First thing's first: As the person who's leading this project of creating an operations manual, you'll need to add your basic information via the form fields below.

Confirm whose input is needed

Confirm whose input is needed to write the operations manual.

Although you're leading this project, you'll need the help from others in your company to write a solid operations manual.

For instance, you may cover the "Introduction", "Amendments and Revisions", and "Manual purpose" sections, but you may need HR staff to cover the "Business policies", "Company hierarchy", and "Contact information" sections. 

Similarly, you'll need managers from all company departments to add process and procedure details in the "Business processes and procedures" and "Emergency processes and procedures" sections. Note: Whoever you assign to the "Business policies"-related tasks should also be assigned to the "Emergency procedures"-related tasks.

Confirm whose input you need in the text box below and why, following the format of: [person's name] - [person's role] - [what the person should do] - [why they should do it]

Assign writers to their tasks

Assign writers to their corresponding tasks.

It's now time to assign the writers to their corresponding tasks in this checklist.

Assigning people to tasks in Process Street is simple. 

All you need to do is navigate to the task in question, press "Assign", and then select the appropriate people.

To remind you of who should do what and why, variables are bringing in the text you wrote in the previous task. Read through it.

Then, tick off the subchecklist below when the appropriate people have been assigned to the tasks in this checklist.

You'll also want to assign everyone involved with the writing of this operations manual to the next task - "Understand the manual's contents". This is because it'll provide them with essential info on how to go about writing an operations manual.


Whose input is needed:

{{form.Whose_input_is_needed?}}

  • 1
    Understand the manual's contents
  • 2
    Write the introduction
  • 3
    Add space for amendments and revisions
  • 4
    Note down the manual's purpose
  • 5
    Jot down the business policies
  • 6
    Provide company hierarchy details
  • 7
    Supply contact information
  • 8
    Provide business process & procedure information
  • 9
    Implement the business processes & procedures
  • 10
    Upload sequence for processes & procedures
  • 11
    Provide business emergency process information
  • 12
    Implement the emergency business processes & procedures
  • 13
    Upload sequence for emergency processes & procedures

Understand the manual's contents

Understand the manual's contents (and how to write an operations manual).

If you're reading this, it means you've been assigned by the project leader to help out with creating an operations manual.

To help you understand what an operations manual is, why it's important, its benefits, and how Process Street can help with building an operations manual as a team, read this post.

The project leader will also have assigned you to a task (or multiple tasks). Read the task's instructions and look at the provided examples to know how to write your section of the operations manual.

If you have any questions, don't hesitate to get in contact with the project leader - {{form.Project_leader's_first_name}} {{form.Project_leader's_last_name}} - at the email address: {{form.Project_leader's_email_address}}.

Writing the operations manual:

With all the introductory steps completed, it's now time for you and the other writers to write the operations manual itself!

The following tasks all have dynamic due dates attached. When the previous task - "Understand the manual's contents" - has been marked as completed, the writers have either 3 or 5 days to fill out their section(s) of the operations manual.

To learn more about dynamic due dates (and to learn how to change the writers' deadline), read this article.

Ensure processes are documented

Ensure processes are already documented elsewhere.

Maybe you already have all your business processes documented in a legacy system (Word), a text-based system (Google Docs), or BPM software like Process Street.

Either way, you'll want to make sure all the processes your business uses are documented somewhere before they're transferred to the operations manual. This will make creating the operations manual a whole lot easier.

Use the email the widget below to ask a writer/representative from each department of your business (i.e. the people who've been assigned to the process-related tasks in this checklist) to ensure all their department's processes are documented.

If there are processes that aren't documented, tell them to document the currently undocumented processes.

Make sure to edit the email's text appropriately before sending it off.

Write the introduction

Write the operations manual's introduction.

The first part of any operations manual is the introduction.

The introduction normally contains the operations manual's title, the revision number, the date when it was completed, and sometimes additional text concerning the operations manual.

Below, you'll see an example introduction of a quality management system manual, which is very similar to an operations manual. 

Once you've read through the example and written:

  1. The operations manual's title
  2. A revision section with a revision number
  3. A date section with today's date
  4. Any other info (à la the example below) that you think is appropriate

Paste the introduction you've written for your operations manual in the form field below.


"Introduction

Brightstar Marketing has developed and implemented this QMS (Quality Management System) manual in order to document the company’s standard operating procedures, improve management in the company in a general capacity, and to uphold and exceed the requirements and expectations of its customers and other interested parties.

This manual meets the requirements of the ISO 9001:2015 standard. It was designed to outline the fundamental principles of structure, development, production, deployment, and updating of the company’s services and products. 

The QMS process results in more efficient and effective performance, achieved more consistently and predictably because the company's workflows and processes are understood and managed as interrelated systems." - Oliver Peterson, ISO-9000 Marketing Procedures


Add space for amendments and revision info

Add space in the manual for amendments and revision information.

After the operations manual's introduction, there should be a dedicated space (or page) for amendments and revision information.

This is so whenever the operations manual is updated, the amendments and revision page can be updated too, providing full transparency for readers so they know what version the operations manual they're reading is.

You'll see an example of an amendments section below. 

Once you've created space for an amendments and revision section and added details regarding the first revision, take a screenshot and upload the photo in the below form field.


"Amendments

Revision and Approval

Revision 01 - 01/02/2019 - outlined initial scope - approved by Oliver Peterson
Revision 02 - 01/06/2019 - added procedures - approved by Oliver Peterson
Revision 03 - 01/15/2019 - added overview flow diagram - approved by Oliver Peterson" - Oliver Peterson, ISO-9000 Marketing Procedures


Note down the manual's purpose

Note down the manual's purpose.

For your operations manual to be thorough, you'll want to include a section regarding the manual's purpose.

This section, generally, contains a welcome message and information about the manual's purpose. Additionally, you'll also want to supply info on the different locations/places/folders/sites/etc where the manual can be found and read.

You can read an example of a manual purpose section below.

Once you've added:

  1. A welcome section
  2. Information about the manual's purpose
  3. Information about where to find the manual

Paste the text in the text box below.


"Purpose

Welcome

Implementation of a QMS within an organization is considered a strategic decision; a robust, meticulously designed QMS can help to improve general performance and is the groundwork for sustainable development initiatives.

This document is intended as a kind of quality reference-manual (or mini-manual) for use at Brightstar Marketing. 

It is essentially a high-level overview of all standard operating procedures in use at Brightstar, and serves as your reference point for understanding, deploying, and updating workflow processes throughout the organization." - Oliver Peterson, ISO-9000 Marketing Procedures


Jot down the business policies

Jot down the business policies. 

Business policies differ on a company-by-company basis. With this in mind, writing your company's policies down in a place like an operations manual is a solid shout.

You'll see an example of how your business policies should be written in your operations manual. The example is lifted directly from Google's code of conduct.

Once you've written the policies down for each area - e.g. code of conduct, workplace safety, performance review policies, etc - use the text boxes below to paste what you've written.

If you need to add more text boxes to paste the text into, just click "Edit Template", click "Long Text", and then name the box appropriately.


"Business Policies

Code of conduct policies:

1. Equal Opportunity Employment

Employment here is based solely upon individual merit and qualifications directly related to professional competence. We strictly prohibit unlawful discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, veteran status, national origin, ancestry, pregnancy status, sex, gender identity or expression, age, marital status, mental or physical disability, medical condition, sexual orientation, or any other characteristics protected by law. We also make all reasonable accommodations to meet our obligations under laws protecting the rights of the disabled.

2. Harassment, Discrimination, and Bullying

Google prohibits discrimination, harassment and bullying in any form – verbal, physical, or visual, as discussed more fully in our Policy Against Discrimination, Harassment and Retaliation. If you believe you’ve been bullied or harassed by anyone at Google, or by a Google partner or vendor, we strongly encourage you to immediately report the incident to your supervisor, Human Resources or both. Similarly, supervisors and managers who learn of any such incident should immediately report it to Human Resources. HR will promptly and thoroughly investigate any complaints and take appropriate action."


Provide company hierarchy details

Provide company hierarchy details.

Having a diagram of the company's hierarchy (or, alternatively, having it written in text form) is an incredibly useful part of an operations manual. Readers can instantly know who to get in contact with if they're unsure.

There's an example of a company hierarchy diagram below. This has been taken from Creately's post.

Once you've uploaded the company's hierarchy diagram to the operations manual, upload it below, too.

Or, if you've written about the company's hierarchy in text form, paste what you've written in the appropriate form field below.

Supply contact information

Supply company contact information.

The previous section was all about the company's hierarchy.

But so readers know the contact details of the people at the company, you'll need to add their (work-related) contact information.

To boot, you'll want to include contact information regarding things such as the office's general phone line, the out of hours line, and so on.

Below, you'll see an example of the format your company's contact information should take in your operations manual. Remember: The contact details for each person in each department should be supplied.

Once you've read through the example and written all the necessary contact details, paste the contact details for each department in the text boxes below.

If you need to add more text boxes to paste the text into, just click "Edit Template", click "Long Text", and then name the box appropriately.


"Contact Information

General Contact Points

Company office reception - [email protected] - 012 345 6789

Company out of hours line - [email protected] - 011 234 45679

Departmental Contact Points

Marketing Department

Director of Marketing - In charge of all marketing operations at the company - Angela Nesbitt - [email protected] - 0123 456 789

Social Media Manager - In charge of all the company's social media channels - Astrid Bjorge - [email protected] - 0124 456 789"


Provide business process & procedure information

Provide business process and procedure information.

Seeing as the section on business processes and procedures is the core of the operations manual, it's the lengthiest section of all to write.

That's why writing the business and procedures section of the operations manual has been split into multiple steps.

In this step (and inside this checklist), you'll need to:

  1. Write down the name of the department you're covering in the first text box (e.g. 'Marketing')
  2. Provide an overview of the documented processes of that department in the second text box (e.g. the number of processes there are, what they're about, who they're run by, and so on)
  3. Paste a link to the documented processes (e.g. if you've documented processes in Process Street, paste a link to the 'Marketing' folder, or if you've documented processes in Google Doc, paste a link to that Doc)
  4. Upload a document of the documented processes (e.g. if you've documented processes in Word, then upload the 'Marketing processes' doc)

Once you've done this for the department you're covering, move onto the next task (task 16).

If you need to add more text boxes for your company's different departments, click "Edit Template", then "Short Text", "Long Text", "Website", and "File Upload" and then name the boxes appropriately and use them.





Implement the business processes & procedures

Implement the business processes and procedures.

With all the information on each department's business processes and procedures added in the last task (task 15), it's now time to implement the business processes and procedures inside the operations manual.

Ideally, it'll take the form of:

  1. Explaining what the process is, who it's used by, who it's managed by, etc
  2. How the process works step-by-step
  3. Where employees can follow this process apart from the operations manual itself (e.g. as a Process Street checklist)

Use the information provided in task 15 to help you carry out this task.

This task can be completed by either the writer/representative of their respective department OR the project leader themselves, seeing as all the information they need has been supplied.

Once you've done that for all the processes your department uses, provide a screenshot of the overview of your department's documented processes, similar to the screenshot below.

If you need to add more upload fields to upload your screenshot, click "Edit Template", then "File Upload" and name the field appropriately and use them.

Upload sequence for processes & procedures

Upload the sequence for processes and procedures.

The task before this concerns the implementation of the company's business processes and procedures inside the operations manual.

But so readers can understand these processes fully, now upload a process diagram or flowchart to show how each department's processes and procedures interact. Alternatively, you can do this via text.

You'll see an example of a process sequence diagram below. It's taken from this post and concerns drafting, writing, and reviewing a piece of content.

Once you've uploaded or written the process sequence for your department, upload the diagram or paste the process sequence text for your department in a text box below.

If you need to add more text boxes for your company's different departments, click "Edit Template", then add the "File Upload" form field and/or the "Long Text" field.

Provide business emergency process information

Provide business emergency process information.

Just as information related to regular documented business processes and procedures were provided for each department in task 15, the same must be done for your department's emergency procedures.

For instance, HR may have an emergency procedure when there's been an incident in the office, while IT may have an emergency procedure if there's a security breach.

Here, you'll want to:

  1. Write down the name of the department you're covering in the first text box (e.g. 'Marketing')
  2. Provide an overview of the emergency documented processes of that department in the second text box (e.g. the number of processes there are, what they're about, who they're run by, and so on)
  3. Paste a link to the documented emergency processes (e.g. if you've documented processes in Process Street, a link to the 'Marketing emergency procedures' folder, or if you've documented processes in Google Doc, a link to that Doc)
  4. Upload a document of the documented emergency processes (e.g. if you've documented emergency processes in Word, then upload the 'Marketing emergency processes' doc)

Once you've done that, move onto the next step.

If you need to add more text boxes for your company's different departments, click "Edit Template", then "Short Text", "Long Text", "Website", and "File Upload" and then name the boxes appropriately and use them.





Implement the emergency business processes & procedures

Implement the emergency business processes and procedures.

Seeing as you've supplied information regarding your department's documented emergency processes and procedures in the last task (task 18), now implement the emergency processes and procedures inside the operations manual.

You should do this by:

  1. Explaining what the emergency process is, who it's used by, who it's managed by, etc
  2. How the emergency process works step-by-step
  3. Where employees can follow this emergency process apart from the operations manual itself (e.g. as a Process Street checklist)

Basically, it follows the same format as the regular business processes and procedures that were documented in the operations manual as part of task 16.

This task can also be completed by either the writer/representative of their respective department OR the project leader themselves, seeing as all the information they need has been supplied.

Once you've done that for all the emergency processes your department uses, provide a screenshot of the overview of your department's documented emergency processes.

If you need to add more upload fields to upload your screenshot, click "Edit Template", then "File Upload" and name the field appropriately and use them.

Upload sequence for emergency processes & procedures

Upload the sequence for emergency processes and procedures.

Just as the sequences for the regular business processes and processes were added in task 17, upload a process diagram or flowchart to show how each department's emergency processes and procedures interact. Alternatively, this can be done via text.

Once you've uploaded or written the emergency process sequence for your department, upload the diagram or paste the emergency process sequence text for your department in a text box below.

If you need to add more text boxes for your company's different departments, click "Edit Template", then add the "File Upload" form field and/or the "Long Text" field.

Reviewing the content:

By this point, everybody working with you should've written their parts of the operations manual, which brings you onto the next task — an approval task. To do this approval task properly, you'll want to go through the task while also looking at the operations manual itself.

If text or information missing - let's say in the "Company hierarchy" section - then reject the task and explain what else needs to be done. Do this for every section and its corresponding task until the operations manual is up to scratch.

Though, if everything looks in order on the first look, you'll want to hit the "Approve" button.

When everything is approved, you can move onto the "Taking the next steps" section of this checklist.

Approval: Content review

Will be submitted for approval:
  • Write the introduction
    Will be submitted
  • Add space for amendments and revision info
    Will be submitted
  • Note down the manual's purpose
    Will be submitted
  • Jot down the business policies
    Will be submitted
  • Provide company hierarchy details
    Will be submitted
  • Supply contact information
    Will be submitted
  • Upload sequence for processes & procedures
    Will be submitted
  • Upload sequence for emergency processes & procedures
    Will be submitted
  • Provide business process & procedure information
    Will be submitted
  • Implement the business processes & procedures
    Will be submitted
  • Provide business emergency process information
    Will be submitted
  • Implement the emergency business processes & procedures
    Will be submitted

Taking the next steps:

Now that the first operations manual has been written, it's time to take the next steps; telling the company's employees about the operations manual and scheduling an operations manual audit for the future.

The next two tasks will guide you through doing this.

Tell employees about the operations manual

Tell employees about the operations manual.

An operations manual has been created, which is certainly cause for celebration.

But before the celebrations start, you'll want to inform the rest of the company about the operations manual

Use the email widget below to send the company's employees an email to inform them about the operations manual.

Make sure to edit where appropriate before sending it out.

Schedule an operations manual audit

Schedule an operations manual audit.

By internally auditing your operations manual, you can ensure it's always up-to-date and optimized.

Plus, considering you've just created the first iteration of the operations manual, you can use the first audit as a chance to make sure it has everything that it needs.

Schedule an Internal Audit Procedure for an Operations Manual checklist to run in 3 months time.

Scheduling checklists in Process Street to launch at a future date is incredibly easy. Take a look at this help guide to schedule checklists yourself.

Once you've scheduled the audit checklist to run, confirm when the audit will take place via the widget below.

Success!

You and your colleagues have created a fantastic operations manual.

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