1. Create Relationships
Before writing your operations
manuals, schedule a meeting with the Senior Management team and outline your goals and
objectives for this project.
Its important to do this, as you will need their backing
during any tricky phases in the project.
Discuss how your team will write the
documents; for example, there may be interviews with operatives, business
managers, and subject matter experts. Highlight that though these may conflict
with people's schedules, you'll do your best to work around them.
And although these interviews may be
time-consuming, you have to speak to all relevant parties to map the procedures
2. Gather Data
For a typical operating manual, you
will need to cover most of the following:
1. Data flow diagram
- Use these diagrams to capture software modules, databases and the arguments that pass
between them-as well as the direction in which they pass. Visio is an excellent tool for
2. Flowcharts - use
these to show program logic.
3. APIs - document
how the various programs communicate with each other and with the outside world.
4. Capture the database schema.
Again Visio can be used here.
5. Capture the software set-up,
e.g. by workstation, location, server etc.
6. Network topology
– diagram the specific devices at each node, by brand, mode and serial
number if necessary.
7. Equipment lists-
For each device describe the following:
- Installation options, current revision
level of its operating system and all installed software.
- Ghosted image if it exists.
- Procedures and sequences for rebuilding
the machine if necessary.
8. Outline the sequence(s)
in which devices and services need to be started under various conditions e.g. for power
failure, cold boot, warm boot etc.
9. Security controls
— describe the induction/exit procedures to follow when someone is
Describe the backup routine
Storage location and facilities
Rotation schedule for backup media
10. Others - document
all other elements that are subject to maintenance and upgrade?
When writing these documents, consider
using a single-sourcing option so that you can make the operational procedures available
online to those who need them --- and at the same time maintain a comprehensive printed
document as the information changes.