Work Instructions

Work instructions explain how to perform an activity. This means that the people performing the activity know exactly what they have to do and when they need to do it. Plus there’s no chance of losing the knowledge if someone leaves the team.


Work instructions normally feature a section on the first page containing key information. The purpose is to make the document easy to understand at a glance.

Detail Detail description
Process name A unique and descriptive name used to clearly dentify the process.
Date of the revision The date the document was last updated.
Author The name of the person who last updated the document.
Business area The area of the business which uses the instruction
Process owner The one person who is responsible for the process. This is important as any problems with the process will need to be discussed with this person.
Process objective A short description outlining what the process is trying to achieve.
Scope of the process A short outline of the process, this could be bullet point outlining the major milestones of the process. This information could come from a SIPOC.
Link to the process map A link to the process map which visually describes the process from start to finish.

The key information is followed by instructions which are a step by step description of the process.

Detail Description
Step number A unique and descriptive name used to clearly dentify the process.
Owner The date the document was last updated.
Description The name of the person who last updated the document.

Relationship with other tools

Work instructions are part of a complementary toolset which includes the SIPOC and the process map. These tools look at the process at different levels of detail.

Below I’ve explained the relationship between these documents in terms of a visit to a city. There’s a lot going on in a city and depending on what your objectives are when visiting you’re going to need different types of information.


A very simple summary of a process. It outlines the key steps, inputs and outputs.

Imagine looking at a simple tourist map of a city. It describes the highlights of the city and gives you an understanding of what goes on in the city.

Process Map​

A visual representation of the process but more detailed than the SIPOC.

Imagine zooming into the city map and planning a journey from one district to another. The process map  shows you the exact route to take on your journey.

Work instructions

A step by step guide explaining how to perform the process. 

Once you’re on your journey between the city districts you might find it useful to have turn by turn instructions, especially if you’ve never been on that journey before.


Work Instruction Template

A simple work instruction template in Microsoft Word format.

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