One continuous improvement task that I do very often is the standards or procedures revision. Every time we finish a kaizen event we have to revise the standards and our work instructions or procedures.
The fact is that not everybody knows how to write instructions, some people want to include too much information – background, scope, definitions, flowcharts, and many other things. Some others are minimalistic, they think less is best. The detail is that regardless our personal preference, procedures are instructions that everyone that read them should understand the same way.
The right format to write instructions has to be decided based on who the audience is. Written instructions need to be simple enough for a fifth grader to understand them, straight to the point with no unnecessary information that will bore the reader. Some people learn easily by reading instructions but some others are more visual, pictures or drawings are the best way for them. There are others that prefer to see how an expert complete the task and then do it themselves, with practice they reach perfection.
Regardless of what way you want to go, just remember to keep it simple. Most of the time, simple things are better. My opinion is that we should start with the simple to be able to master the most difficult.