On its path of growth, stabilisation and excellence, an organisation needs to develop its own governance methods and that starts with certain Policies, Codes, Standards and Protocols.

 

To support these high-level documents, certain Procedures, Process Documentations, Guidelines & Work Instructions also form an integral part of the governance tools.

SOPs are a very important tool for communication of requirements to the users and also serve as a basis for the internal audit process.

Most of the time, the structured process control documents are referred as SOP – Standard Operating Procedure. Sometimes, we may need to modify or update an existing one or may need to write one from scratch when nothing exists. See how an SOP can be developed through a structured process.

However, this method is almost equally applicable for development of Procedures, Work Instructions and Process Documentations with a bit of modification based on the purpose.

A Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) is a document for the users to get a guide through step-by-step information on how to execute a task or activity.

What’s your SOP format?

Nothing is right or wrong when we decide on a format. There are many options based on your purpose, complexity & desired outcome.

LINEAR STEP

This is apt for simple and routine procedures that are short and have few possible outcomes

HIERARCHICAL STEPS

This can be considered for long procedures

FLOWCHART

This can be very useful for complex processes or activities

COMBINATION

Any two or more mentioned above – decide as per your need

Standard Operating Procedure development

Handy tips

for you!

  • Use simple language for your Standard Operating Procedure. Many times, a list of Dos and Don’ts become very effective.
  • Clarify acronyms, abbreviations, and all phrases that are not very common.
  • Be sure your SOP remains current. Update it when necessary, get the updates re-approved and documented, and redistribute the SOP as necessary.
  • Try to align with the existing work practices, available resources and people capabilities; until unless you are working on a Business Process Re-engineering.
  • Involve the actual users in your Standard Operating Procedure development process. This will generate greater acceptance and you may also get some great ideas.