Process procedure

Process: Progress, advance; something going on; a natural phenomenon marked by gradual changes that lead toward a particular result; a series of actions or operations conducing to an end; the whole course of proceedings in a legal action. Middle English proces, from Anglo-French procés, from Latin processus.

Procedure: A particular way of accomplishing something or of acting; a series of steps followed in a regular definite order; a set of instructions for a computer that has a name by which it can be called into action; a traditional or established way of doing things. French procédure.

Process or procedure: Americans define a procedure simply as a subset of a process. A procedure describes how one executes a specific task within a process. Again, the what and the how are spelled out clearly. American procedures typically have the following elements: purpose and application, individual steps, parties responsible, and the documentation, so that the individual actions taken can be accessed at a later time.

Americans draw a clear line between a process and a procedure. A process describes broadly what an organization, group, small team or individual team member needs to do. A procedure describes not only a specific task within that overall process, but also how that task is to be executed.

An American procedure can be formulated broadly or narrowly. A broad formulation allows for some interpretation and creativity in executing a procedure. A narrow procedure description seeks to avoid interpretation. One should stick to the procedure strictly.