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Definition: Documentation

Documentation is a bundle of documents either on paper or online or on digital and analog media. For example, user guides on audio tape or CDs. Other examples are papers, on-line help, user guides, and quick-reference guides.

All documentation moves from higher level to the lower i.e. in a descending order. It has 4 levels:

1) Policy

• It defines what will be done and why.

• A policy manual should clear, practical, precise and easy to understand.

2) Procedures

• It describes the methods that will be used to implement and perform the stated policies.

• It defines:- who should perform the specific tasks

• when the task should be done, and

• Where the documentation will be made showing that task was performed.

They indicate the strategies that will be used to ensure the quality of the system.

3) Work Instructions

• It is related to machine, department, task or product i.e how a job should be done.

• The instructions are the most detailed of the documentation hierarchy

4) Records

• It is the process of writing down how the policies, procedures, and work instructions have been followed.

• Records can be of the following forms:- filled out, signature, stamp of approval and date

• They provide data for corrective actions and a way of recalling products, if necessary.

Significance of Documentation:

Given below are some of the prime benefits that any organization seeks to expand by clearly documenting their processes and techniques:

- No Operational Ambiguity: The first reason for documenting any process is to reduce its operational ambiguity. Proper task allocation can be done and in case of any dispute over work allocation, one can look at the detailed documents and the dispute can be resolved. The documents act as the store of organizational knowledge regarding the processes and can be accessed in times of need.

- Training Material: The documentation prepared acts as training module to help new resources move up the learning curve faster. The documentation acts as the training guidebook and covers the syllabus as well as provides notes to instruct the resources.

- Marketing Use: Documentation is used by the marketing and sales department to recognize what the capabilities of the organization are. This knowledge helps them to determine what they can guarantee the customer and what can be fulfilled. With the syllabus knowledge and appropriate structure, the marketing department will be able to make promises that the organization can deliver in real time.

Hence, this concludes the definition of Documentation along with its overview.

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