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Policies, Processes and Procedures

The terms ‘Policies’, ‘Processes’ and ‘Procedures’ are ITIL battle cries and are often interchanged with each other.

It is commonly stated by experienced practitioners that implementing an IT Asset Management practice (or any other strategic IT project) is not all about technology but the development, implementation and communication of your policies, processes and procedures.

But for those not familiar with the terminology it can be a little confusing!

What’s the Difference between a Policy, Process and Procedure?

In my view;

  • Policy (why we do it) – A policy is a set of guiding principles or rules intended to influence decisions and actions.
  • Process (what we do) – A series of actions that you take in order to achieve a result.
  • Procedure (how we do it, when we do it, with whom) – The method and order followed in doing something.

How They Mix

A policy might contain a number of rules or statements. Processes turn policies into actions. Processes may include a number of specific procedures.

E.g. I like to visit my Grandma once a week (Policy), I catch the train to London every Friday to see her (How I execute my policy – the process). I leave the house at 9am and turn right onto the main road; I then take the second right…. (The procedure I follow to enable the process that delivers action on the policy).

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About Martin Thompson

Martin is owner and founder of The ITAM Review, an online resource and community for worldwide ITAM professionals.

Martin is also author of the book "Practical ITAM - The essential guide for IT Asset Managers", a book that describes how to get started and make a difference in the field of IT Asset Management.

On a voluntary basis Martin a contributor to ISO WG21 which develops the ITAM International Standard ISO/IEC 19770.

Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter or LinkedIn.

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