Help sections in Software Programs as Work Instructions

Q

QAnalyst1

#1
We're thinking of using the Help section of off-the-shelf software we purchase as a basis for not writing a work instruction for how to use the software since the instructions contained in this section are adequate for anyone trying to use the program. Is anyone else doing this? What are the pitfalls? I intend to reference this aspect of using a Help section in our document control procedure in place of a written work instruction but was just wondering how it may be viewed as it touches on updating, and etc. Obviously, I can't update the instructions directly, but any new version of the software would come with updated instructions. We'll train employees on how to use the software, but it will be up to them to reference the Help section if they need specific guidance afterward, just as they would an in-house work instruction. Comments? Misgivings?
 
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John Broomfield

Leader
Super Moderator
#2
Re: Help sections in software programs as work instrutions

We're thinking of using the Help section of off-the-shelf software we purchase as a basis for not writing a work instruction for how to use the software since the instructions contained in this section are adequate for anyone trying to use the program. Is anyone else doing this? What are the pitfalls? I intend to reference this aspect of using a Help section in our document control procedure in place of a written work instruction but was just wondering how it may be viewed as it touches on updating, and etc. Obviously, I can't update the instructions directly, but any new version of the software would come with updated instructions. We'll train employees on how to use the software, but it will be up to them to reference the Help section if they need specific guidance afterward, just as they would an in-house work instruction. Comments? Misgivings?
QAnalyst,

This is normal. Most organizations, I've seen, point their users toward to electronic version.

John
 

yodon

Leader
Super Moderator
#3
Re: Help sections in software programs as work instrutions

Take a bit of an introspective view: what's the purpose of a WI? To ensure that things that need to be done the same way (repeatedly) are done that way (or to clarify something complex or...).

So then does the software have any customizations (that wouldn't be covered in the standard help) or are there any implications / possibilities for doing something wrong / incorrectly / inconsistently? If so, then maybe a WI is warranted; otherwise, probably not.
 
Q

QAnalyst1

#4
The software is pretty straightforward and easy to use. We can't make any modifications to it so nothing of content or use will change unless the vendor updates it in some way.
 
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