Imagine this: you are a project manager for a boutique marketing company, responsible for training new PMs and letting them quickly understand how to complete their work to meet expectations.
In order to meet this requirement, you may have to learn a series of operations that have been set. This series of operations are called standard operating procedures, or SOPs for short, and they help to regularize job functions.
Since your company needs more standardized processes to run, such as managing your iPaaS integration Or set up email campaigns, SOPs become invaluable to keeping everything going.
In this guide, we will explain the basics of SOPs and how to write them. Then, we will recommend our favorite software tools for creating and executing SOPs. Let’s dive in.
Standard operating procedure
Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) is a step-by-step list of instructions detailing how to perform routine procedures. SOP is useful for communication and productivity. Managers can save time in training new employees by sharing SOPs, and employees will always have a point of reference to get step-by-step instructions on how to perform specific tasks.
Examples of standard operating procedures
A good SOP is clearly worded and easy to read. A well-written SOP has short and simple steps and is usually presented in the form of a clearly marked document.
The following is an example of a general SOP for a new car purchase process. As shown in the figure, each part has clear labels for quick reading and clear understanding.
Let’s discuss the details of this example in more detail.
Standard operating procedure format
- title: The SOP should always begin with a short but complete heading that summarizes the purpose of the document.
- Identify: This information should be placed near the top of the file for ID use, including any related ID numbers, department names, and necessary signatures.
- Purpose: If the reader wants to understand the SOP more deeply before reading, the “Purpose” section will briefly outline what the SOP aims to explain. This part may not need more than one paragraph.
- definition: If necessary, include definitions of terms that readers should know before starting.
- program: The format of the program part will vary according to the complexity of the process. For a simpler step-by-step process, a numbered list will work. If the user has to decide between two or more steps at a given point, you may need to add substeps. If your SOP involves many decisions and branches, a flowchart may be a more appropriate format.
How to write SOP
- Create process list
1. Create a list of processes
First, list in detail the functions that employees perform in the work that requires SOPs. Some departments that can benefit from SOPs include finance, legal, human resources, customer service, and IT. Think about jobs that have strict agreements; not missing a step is crucial.
For example, new public relations professionals need to understand the process of writing press releases for the company and ensuring that the press is released. This is an important reason for creating SOP.
2. Format your process
You can be creative by showing SOP. As long as they are easy to understand, there are no restrictions on how to create workflows. The most common SOP formats include step-by-step documents, work flow charts, organization charts, detailed instructions, and checklists.
In what form is the best way for PR professionals to accept their SOP? It is likely to be a work flow chart. This will enable them to understand why they must complete one step before they can proceed to the next step. From writing the title at the top to including the correct hyperlink, every step will be clearly marked.
Make sure that the process you write is accurate. Talk to employees who will use it every day. Solicit their feedback and suggestions. If they can provide useful edits or tips to make the SOP easier to understand, please include them.
For example, a reliable source for an SOP on how to write a reliable press release might be a senior public relations officer or manager of the company
Write the SOP using the method that best suits your situation. Think about who you write the SOP for and how to best present the information. This is also a good time to determine who will be responsible for updating the SOP as needed.
Public relations professionals are most likely to benefit from the SOP, how the SOP writes a press release that provides specific instructions on the format. E.g, “The first paragraph must be 50-60 words, introducing the album, band and their concept of the record cycle,” with”The second paragraph must be 30-40 words, including a short description of 2-3 songs.“
The SOP should be updated at least once a year after implementation. They should always reflect the needs of the organization at the time. It is important to maintain them, so employees always have the latest information about their daily work.
SOP is not the fastest or shortest guide to writing. But they can become a time-consuming project. Software can help speed up the writing process. We have collected several superstars:
(Somewhat unsure about the format of the list)
Best SOP software
- HubSpot workflow
- Sweet process
Price: Trello offers three pricing plans: Free, business class ($10 per user per month, recommended for teams of up to 100 people) and enterprise class ($17.50 per user per month).
Trello is a scheduling tool that allows users to view their collaboration using “cards”, which are like virtual notes on each board. Trello can be used to organize; from editorial calendars to Standard operating procedure.
We like Trello because it can easily gather all documents in one place. If you scroll through this office management board, you can see a list of the duties of some employees.
Price: HubSpot automation tool is Included in Professional and Enterprise subscriptions Marketing center, service center, sales center and operation center.
HubSpot’s CRM includes Workflow tools, Which allows users to use marketing automation technology in their business. Workflow transforms operations and/or commands into customizable flowcharts.
We like the workflow tool of SOP because it can choose to write the list into the visualization chart.
Price: Evernote offers three plans: Free, personal ($7.99 per month) and professional ($9.99 per month).
Evernote is a popular note-taking application that allows you to do more than just organized notes. It provides a large number of organization, collaboration and management functions. The application also has many templates, one of which is for SOP.
We like Evernote because it is compatible with different operating systems and organizational capabilities.
Price: Pipefy offers four options: Free, commercial ($18 per user per month), enterprise ($30 per user per month), and unlimited (custom pricing).
Pipefy provides resources and tools for process management.From a variety of choices template (Really, there are so many), most of which are provided for free. There are multiple SOPs template Specify the needs of your organization, such as “team member onboarding.”
We like Pipefy because it has a large number of templates available and easy-to-understand template titles.
Price: SweetProcess is $99 per month For teams of up to 20 people, for each additional user, an additional $5 per month will be added. In the annual plan, each additional member will be reduced to US$82.50 per month and US$4.17 per month.
SOP writing is the main jam of SweetProcess. Their tagline is, “Who says writing SOPs must be painful?” Therefore, you can guarantee an easy-to-follow experience.
Write a shocking SOP
SOP is the foundation for the smooth operation of internal processes. They can save time, help new employees familiarize themselves with your process, and allow experienced employees to keep up when your process changes. It’s worth taking the time to make them clear, readable and actionable.
For more free inspiration, click below to view HubSpot’s easy-to-use template section.
Editor’s note: This article was originally published in October 2019 and has been updated to be comprehensive.