Policy vs. Process vs. Procedure

General discussion on all aspects of the IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL)
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CharlieOt
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Wed Mar 30, 2011 11:42 am

I've been looking for good resources on the differences between Policy, Process and Procedure and have found several, but I am somewhat perplexed regarding a number of ITIL references that I have found.
Most notably, a number of ITIL references only speak of "Procedure" as a process component, not as an entity in and of itself.
The intimation is that procedures only exist in the context of a defined process and are inextricably tied to that process.
My personal take has always been that a procedure is a task or set of tasks created to for some purpose. That purpose may be to complete a step or steps in one or more defined processes, but it is not an absolute requirement. We may create procedures in anticipation of process creation or need, they may be reused for multiple processes, but they are sufficiently narrow in scope to (in general) apply to a single, or at most, few, task or circumstance. As such, procedures (typically) do not cross narrow boundaries (i.e. the procedure for replacing a laptop battery is unique to the laptop model and is not applicable elsewhere). Processes have much broader boundaries (e.g. battery replacement may be a process of remove the old battery, put in the new battery and connect).
What I see as a result of all this is that Processes often span organizational boundaries (ideally the entire organization would use one process to accomplish a goal) and that Procedures more often do not span organizational boundaries (laptop battery procedures are not applicable to motorfleet battery procedures), leading to the conclusion that Process and Procedure are at their core, independent objects.
While each requires the other for practical use, they can exist independently, implying that Procedure should be spoken of as an entity in and of itself and not just as a process component...

Thoughts (apologies for being long-winded)?


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BorisBear
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Wed Mar 30, 2011 6:57 pm

CharlieOt wrote:I've been looking for good resources on the differences between Policy, Process and Procedure and have found several, but I am somewhat perplexed regarding a number of ITIL references that I have found.
Most notably, a number of ITIL references only speak of "Procedure" as a process component, not as an entity in and of itself.
The intimation is that procedures only exist in the context of a defined process and are inextricably tied to that process.
My personal take has always been that a procedure is a task or set of tasks created to for some purpose. That purpose may be to complete a step or steps in one or more defined processes, but it is not an absolute requirement. We may create procedures in anticipation of process creation or need, they may be reused for multiple processes, but they are sufficiently narrow in scope to (in general) apply to a single, or at most, few, task or circumstance. As such, procedures (typically) do not cross narrow boundaries (i.e. the procedure for replacing a laptop battery is unique to the laptop model and is not applicable elsewhere). Processes have much broader boundaries (e.g. battery replacement may be a process of remove the old battery, put in the new battery and connect).
What I see as a result of all this is that Processes often span organizational boundaries (ideally the entire organization would use one process to accomplish a goal) and that Procedures more often do not span organizational boundaries (laptop battery procedures are not applicable to motorfleet battery procedures), leading to the conclusion that Process and Procedure are at their core, independent objects.
While each requires the other for practical use, they can exist independently, implying that Procedure should be spoken of as an entity in and of itself and not just as a process component...

Thoughts (apologies for being long-winded)?

Sounds like you have a pretty good handle on the differences there but I would say that in my opinion they're not independent as the procedure should work within para,eters set out by the process and policies
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TomOzITIL_2
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Thu Mar 31, 2011 3:48 am

My head nearly exploded by the time I got to the end of the post!

But AWTA.
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MartN
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Thu May 26, 2011 9:01 am

It's my undertanding that in ITIL 3,

A Policy defines the 'what' is to be done.

A procedure is a sub-component of a process defining how 'it's' done.

Generally processes can be very long and drawn out. An example may be a process aligned with a user administration policy. There maybe procedures aligned with different groups of users such as administrators, power users, and 'normal' users.
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