Course 5: Writing Effective Operating and Maintenance Procedures

This course teaches how to write effective step-by-step operating procedures and how to develop troubleshooting guides from PHA documentation. This is very much a “How To” course, designed to teach skills. The first day of the course is for both operations and maintenance personnel; the second day is mainly for operators (since they typically must write more in-depth troubleshooting guides).


$1,100.00 USD (per student) Online

$1,100.00 USD (per student) in USA

$1,495.00 USD (per student) in Dubai, UAE

This course can also be taught (either as-is or customized) at your site. Please contact PII for details about having our training provided at your site.

Writing Effective Operating and Maintenance Procedures Course 5 (2-Day) | Process Improvement Institute

Recommended prerequisites: Participants should have practical, technical experience in design, operation, or maintenance of complex systems.

Typical Course Candidates

  • Senior Operations and Maintenance Technicians are the primary targets of this course, since they should write their procedures and take ownership of them (maintenance technicians need only to attend the first day)
  • Engineers – Process, Safety, and Mechanical
  • PSM and Quality Compliance Auditors

What You Will Learn

  • How to comply with regulatory requirements and quality control requirements for procedures
  • How to perform detailed task analysis and writing step-by–step instructions
  • How to assess current procedures for addressing best practice rules
    • This will be done in class, so bring procedures for review
  • How to address operating limits and process deviations
  • How to develop troubleshooting guides
  • How to avoid common procedural errors that can reduce safety and quality levels, leading to incidents
  • How to choose the best page layout/format for the goal of each procedure
  • Learn 22 rules to help you write every step-by-step procedures effectively
  • Learn where/when written procedures are required

Take Home:

  • Comprehensive course notebook containing
    • Examples of acceptable procedural formats
    • Checklists for identifying missing procedures, gathering procedure
      information, formatting procedures, and writing step-by-step instructions
    • Completed workshops from class exercises, including typical solutions for
  • Electronic (PDF) copy of course notebook
  • Certificate of Completion
  • 1.3 CEUs & 1.3 COCs

Day 1 (8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.)

  • What is an effective procedure?
    • Goals, general concepts, definitions
    • Overview of process for developing procedures
    • Procedure requirements: industry standards for quality and regulations for
    • Introductory Workshop: Writing effective instructions for a simple task
      (shows ahead of time why effective procedure writing rules are critical)
  • Formatting the procedures
    • Step-by-step formats
    • Use of white space
    • Step numbering
    • Document control features — headers and footers
    • Introductory items — procedure titles, sections, and section titles
    • Use of graphics/figures
    • Review of Formatting rules and why each is important
  • Writing step-by-step instructions
    • Rules for writing the most effective instructions
    • Using command; keeping it simple; being consistent; being precise; use of
    • Workshop: Improving a poor step-by-step procedure
  • Addressing Operating limits and deviations
    • Defining “operating limits,” “deviations,” and more
    • Identifying deviations that may occur, including errors of omission and
      errors of commission (for step-by-step procedures)
    • Defining procedural boundaries using conditional statements, warnings, and
      cautions (for step-by-step procedures)

Day 2 (8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.)

  • Addressing Operating limits and deviations (for continuous mode of operation)
    • Listing the triggers for process parameters where action is required
    • Identifying the worst case and more likely consequences
    • Developing troubleshooting steps (diagnosis steps, steps to prevent
      excursions, steps to correct excursions)
    • Workshop: Developing a troubleshooting guide for continuous
      operating mode
  • Deciding what procedures are needed
  • Gathering information for a procedure
    • When/why the procedure will be performed
    • Main steps, substeps, details, hazards, precautions
    • Workshop: Creating a procedure from basic information
  • Verifying, validating, and certifying procedures
  • Overview of managing changes to procedures
  • Overview of risk review of procedures
  • Optional Exam

Bill BridgesBill Bridges will be the instructor for this course. He has trained over 1000 procedure writers during the past 20 years of teaching this topic. And he has written many thousands of pages of both operating procedures and maintenance procedures. He co-authored the definitive paper on developing troubleshooting guides in 1995. To find our more about this course or to check into having this course taught at your site, contact Mr. Bridges at 1.865.675.3458 or by e-mail at