A Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) is a set of written instructions that shows how to perform a routine activity in an organisation. The development and use of SOPs form an integral part of any successful quality system. Standard operating procedures (SOP) is useful and effective for every organization as it will state all the tasks that are essential for business success, the steps to do tasks and the person-in-charge of each tasks. It helps to improve business productivity.
While many misunderstand it as writing your biodata in an essay form, it is, in fact, more formal, organized and targeted. Due to such nonchalance, many students, even those with great potential, lose good opportunities simply because they were too cocky or careless about SOP.
Why Are SOPs So Important?
SOPs are a primary way to implement or enforce a policy. Policies are intended to steer an organization to achieve the mission, vision, and goals of an organization, but without SOPs, are not actionable. SOPs also encourage consistency in execution, which is critical for demonstrating compliance with or achievement of targets described in a service level agreement.
Challenges in Writing SOPs
One of the most significant challenges in writing SOPs is that there are no hard and fast rules for writing them. A format or writing style that works for one organization may not work as well with another organization.
Secondly, SOPs can become out of date very quickly if not regularly maintained. The business is ever-changing and evolving, and as a result, IT changes and evolves as well. If SOPs aren’t maintained as part of those changes, they will become obsolete.
5 Things to Consider When Writing SOPs
While there is no right or wrong way to write an SOP, there are several things that you must consider when writing an SOP. SOPs must be:
- This means legible font sizes, numbered pages, titles, numbered paragraph headings, and effective use of whitespace.
- Using a template or predefined format makes the content easy to read.
- To be effective, SOPs must be focused and to the point, using relevant, but simple terms.
- SOPs must clearly and succinctly describe what is to be done.
- The activities described within an SOP must be specific and measurable.
Here Are the Steps to Ensure That You Write A Good SOP
1.Give it a storyline
One tip which can ensure that your SOP is interesting and does not sound like monotonous statements is to give your SOP a storyline to make it engage. However, certain things you must keep in mind – giving the texture of a story does not mean that you loosen the ends on your writing and engage in a very casual, informal method of expression. Also refrain from using slangs or colloquial words. You can write a good story using a refined language, tone and attitude.
2. Be Forthcoming About Yourself
It is advised that you put down your details honestly. You should not hesitate in talking about any problems which might have affected your academic or work life in the past and that you would ensure that these problems do not affect your time at the institution applied for (in case, selected). Make sure you write down how you managed to deal with the problem and what you learned from it.
3. But, above all, refrain from lies.
You must make the reviewers believe in you. One way of doing so is by inputting little details about it, aside from the more prominent ones. The idea is to give the impression that you have researched extensively and know enough about it to inspire confidence in your choice.
4. Be Very Specific and Focussed
Do not go astray while writing down the SOP. Ensure that you are specific and focussed in every detail that you give.
Even if you are cent percent confident about your writing abilities, it is highly advised that you proofread the SOP as many times as you can. Also, consider getting it reviewed from persons who have written successful SOPs or are very good at reviewing and editing.
Ready, Set, Write that SOP!
Writing SOPs is often considered a mundane, tedious job, but it doesn’t have to be. An effective SOP depends on several factors, like readability, understandability, and measurability, but it doesn’t have to be an overwhelming job. Put together a plan and keep trying. The key point to success is to never give up!