Are Your Procedures Working?

There’s only one way to know whether or not your written procedures are useful: use the services of a DUH (Designated Uninformed & Helpless) tester.

Here’s how DUH testing works:

  1. Draft a volunteer (that’s not an oxymoronic statement; it’s an instructive example of euphemistic corporate drone) — maybe a brand-new hire or an employee from a completely unrelated department.
  2. Give the volunteer your printed (or online) procedure and access to any required equipment, hardware, or software.
  3. Tell your volunteer to read and follow the instructions.
  4. Watch what happens. If the procedure is useful, the DUH tester will accomplish the desired goal — without blowing anything up.

Not always possible, I know. But come as close to that ideal test situation as possible. Do not expect reliable usability data from a quick read by the process expert. Very often, the expert’s prior process knowledge automatically compensates for any omitted steps, usually at a subconscious level.