Terms to Know: Process, Procedure, Task, Checklist

Occasionally we receive messages from customers asking for clarification around some of the terms we use at Way We Do. This article contains the definitions of the terms Process, Procedure, Task and Checklist, as well as an explanation of how the terms relate to each other in an organizational setting.

Process

A process is a series of actions or operations conducing to an end.

In a work setting, there are processes relating to everything members of the organization do. This could include the process of opening the business for the day, closing down at the end of the night, or anything that is done in between.

Procedure

A procedure is a particular way of accomplishing something or of acting. It is also defined as a series of steps followed in a regular definite order.

Taking this definition, we see that procedure is similar to process, but is more concrete in terms of method. When the two terms are combined, it is clear how they relate in an organizational setting:

A procedure defines how and why a process should be completed.

Task

A task is a usually assigned piece of work often to be finished within a certain time, also referred to as a duty, or function.

Often times task is used synonymously with process or procedure, but in reading the definition we see that task is actually more specific than either of the previous terms.

Whereas a process is a broad term used to describe what is done in the organization, and a procedure contains information about why and how the process is meant to be done, a task defines things further by including information about who will be doing the work and when the work will be done.

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Checklist

A checklist is a list of things (tasks) to be checked or done (i.e. a pilot's checklist before takeoff)

A checklist can be part of a process, procedure or task, depending on the work to be done and how it is divided.

Source for Definitions: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/

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