What is a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP), and what are best practices, tools and online templates for teams and organizations?
Definition of Standard Operating Procedure (SOP)
A Standard Operating Procedure, or SOP, is a document or process outline that has been created to show operators how to carry out a specific task, process or activity. It can be delivered as a document, presentation, workflow document, or even a video. Ultimately, an SOP needs to provide guidance on how a user is meant to perform a task in specific circumstances.
The typical SOP is a document which outlines best practices for a process and lists them step-by-step. Operators that want to accomplish a certain task look to this SOP to carry out their work, so it is important that these documents are standardized and kept up-to-date.
Description of Standard Operating Procedure (SOP)
Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) are developed by organizations in order to help workers and employees carry out vital tasks which are done on a routine basis. The purpose of an SOP is to drive efficiency and quality of output while reducing the likelihood that miscommunication will occur.
Here are several steps to help guide the successful creation of a functional Standard Operating Procedure (SOP):
- Create an SOP which is easy to follow by creating step-by-step guidelines which are easy to understand and follow. The easier the instructions in an SOP are to follow, the less likely you will have errors or mistakes in the process.
- Regularly update the SOP and include the date of the last update as well as the version number. This will avoid confusion and ensure that operators are working from the most recent version of an SOP.
- Have a clear approval process for procedure approval. This will help improve process uptake and drive adoption.
Tools & Templates
The tools business leaders use to guide their teams through the steps for using the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) include fishbone diagrams, project charters, and process mapping, which are then used for regular reviews of progress.
upBOARD's Online Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) Tools & Templates
Unlike most traditional Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) processes, upBOARD’s online SOP tools allow any team or organization to instantly begin working with our web templates and input forms. Our digital platform goes far beyond other software tools by including progress dashboards, data integration from existing documents or other SaaS software, elegant intuitive designs, and full access on any desktop or mobile device.
Learn more about upBOARD’s portfolio of other business strategy best practice tools and templates, including:
2 X 2 Matrix, ADL Matrix, Affinity Diagrams, Baker’s 4 Strategies of Influence, Balanced Scorecard, Benchmarking, Blue Ocean Strategy, Bowman Strategy Clock, Build-Measure-Learn Feedback Loop, Business Model Canvas, CAGE Distance Framework, Competitive Analysis, Competitive Landscape Analysis, Contingency Planning, Core Competence Analysis, Critical Success Factors, Discovery Driven Planning, Economic Value Added, First Mover Advantage, Five Forces Model, Force Field Analysis, Gap Analysis, GE McKinsey 9-Box Matrix, Go To Market Strategy, Hambrick & Frederickson’s Strategy Diamond, Hedgehog Model, Hook Model of Behavioral Design, Hoshin Planning System, Kay’s Distinctive Capabilities Framework, Key Outcome Indicators, Kotler’s Five Product Levels Model, Kotler’s Pricing Strategies, Lafley & Martin’s Five Step Strategy Model, McKinsey 7S Model, McKinsey’s Seven Degrees of Freedom for Growth, Mergers & Acquisitions, Mission Statements, Mullin’s Seven Domains Model, OGSM Framework, Ohmae’s 3-C’s Model, Partner Relationship Management, PEST Analysis, PESTLE Analysis, Porter’s Diamond, Portfolio Management, Purpose Statements, Pyramid of Purpose, Scenario Planning, Simonson & Rosen’s Influence Mix, SMART Performance Metrics, SMARTER Goals, SOAR, Strategic Goals, Strategy Map, Strategy Roadmap, Strategy Uncertainty Map, SWOT Analysis, TOWS Matrix, Triple Bottom Line, USP Analysis, Value Chain Analysis, Value Disciplines Model, Value Net Model, Values Statement, Vision Statements, VRIO Analysis, and Weisbord’s Six-Box Model.