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Chapter 6. Writing Tasks, Procedures, an... > Understanding the Relationship Among...

Understanding the Relationship Among Tasks, Procedures, and Steps

This chapter uses these task-related terms as follows:

  • Task. An overall topic of what specific work is to be done and why the work needs to be done. A task includes instructions for completing the work. A task also can include prerequisites and examples.

    A task can be short and simple, even just one action to complete. A task can also be long and complex. A long, complex task might need to be broken up for greater user understanding.

  • Subtask. A small, short component of a larger task. A subtask might be one action or one set of actions to complete. A subtask can include prerequisites and examples. If a subtask is long and complex, that subtask can also contain subtasks.

    To complete a task, a user might need to complete or choose from multiple subtasks. Some subtasks might be optional or conditional. Such tasks might not always have to be completed, depending on the user’s situation or the desired outcome. Make certain that you clearly identify any optional or conditional subtasks as being alternatives.

  • Procedure. One step or an ordered set of steps that explains how to accomplish a task or subtask. If a task or subtask is not complex, the task or subtask might be just one action.

    A procedure can be optional or conditional. A procedure also can include prerequisites and examples.

  • Step. An instruction that explains how to perform a procedure or part of a procedure. A short, simple procedure might require only one step. Two or more steps are ordered and are numbered to show the sequence of actions.

    A step can be optional or conditional. A step also can include prerequisites and examples.


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