Best practice when it comes to creating successful standard operating procedures (SOPs) is to ensure your SOPs are:
- measurable (outcomes)
- current (reviewed)
- easy to follow, and followed by all
They don’t have to be perfect, and they don’t have to be 5 pages long, but they have to exist if your business is to achieve sustainable growth.
4 key benefits of standard operating procedures
Download all the templates you need, including our own standard operating procedure in our free guide, Systemise Your Business. This guide dives into complete detail, giving you a complete framework to systemise your business.
A 4-Step guide to your successful standard operating procedures
We use our project management system to track SOP creation, testing and analysis. It’s also a good idea if you use a project management system to create templates for tasks you have SOPs for. This saves time, ensures your team is consistent and following the correct procedures, and that your SOP’s are used as part of your day to day operations.
Simply link to your SOP from your task template.
Step 1: Review
- Record all repeatable tasks in a SOP tracking sheet. As a guide, we create procedures for all tasks repeated more than 3 times.
- Review these and rank how critical they are to your business.
- Identify who will be documenting each procedure.
- Set a goal on how many SOP’s will be created each month. Make this a KPI for your team.
Step 2: Document
- Next time you our your team do the task you’re creating a standard operating procedure for, open the SOP template and save in your SOP library.
- Link to this doc from your SOP tracking sheet.
- Document the SOP as you’re doing the task. Use a mixture of text, screenshots and video to document instructions.
- Once completed, update the status in your SOP tracking sheet and assign for testing.
Step 3: Test
- Identify a team member who can review the procedure, preferably someone not familiar with the task.
- Ask them to perform the task using the SOP as a guide.
- Get feedback of areas of weakness or confusion.
- Update where needed.
- Update version control details with date of testing/approval.
- Update status in your SOP tracking sheet.
Step 4: Analyse (constant improvement)
- Put a reminder in your calendar to review the SOP in 1-3 months, or as appropriate.
- Is the SOP complete?
- Does the SOP need any updates?
- Are any hyperlinks still accurate?
- Identify if there are areas of the procedure that can be automated to increase efficiency. using technology. We’ve gone into more detail on how to leverage automation in our Systemise Your Business guide.
- Have all possible improvements been made? Think productivity, efficiencies and outcomes.
- Update SOP tracking sheet to show date of review.
- Re-test if you’ve made major changes to the SOP.
DOWNLOAD YOUR FREE GUIDE
A step by step guide on how to systemise your business operations. Includes:
- Free templates
- System review checklist
- 4-step automation framework