How to Write an SOP

Author(s): Laura Hansen-Kohls

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Management has bought into the idea of documenting Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), and now comes the job of writing them. There are four main elements to creating SOPs:


  1. Step-by-step. This is the simplest of the four elements, and it should be used for the simplest of processes. It consists of point-form directions that tend to be confined to one or two pages. It can also be used to outline sub-processes within a more complex SOP.
  2. Hierarchy. A hierarchical SOP combines larger processes and the simple step-by-step instructions. The benefit here is that it has both the detail and the larger outline of the process. When you have both new and more advanced employees working on the same task, new employees can take advantage of the detail, while more experienced employees can check the outline for reference and skim the sub-steps.



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