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Operations Manual - Instant Download

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How to Write an Operations Manual

The following tutorial will help you write an Operations Manual. The purpose of an Operations Guide is to help you run your IT environment more efficiently.

Operations activities include using tables, charts, and matrices for monitoring servers, backups, scheduling tasks, managing inventory, and performing follow-up reports on outstanding issues.

Download Operations Manual Template here.

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 accurately.

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 this.

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 hired/fired?

  • 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.

Download Operations Manual Template here.

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