Writing Effective SOPs

             

SOPs are extremely valuable in many industries, as they dictate how tasks will be carried out and ensure standardization of practices. Palash Das, author of “Writing Standard Operating Procedures,” says that they are “an integral part of a successful quality system as [they] provide individuals with the information to perform a job properly and facilitate consistency in the quality and integrity of a product or end-result.” Though the actual content is important, ensuring that SOPs are clear and usable is key. Check out our following SOP writing tips.

Be Concise

Because many steps are often included in SOPs, writing with concision is necessary. If a procedure can be shortened without losing meaning, then shorten it. To ensure that your readers can follow the procedures without getting lost in lengthy text, write with brevity!

Use Active Voice

SOPs should always be written in active voice. For example, rather than write “Part A is then connected to Part B,” write “Connect Part A to Part B.” The “you,” that is, the actor, is implied, as in “you” connect Part A to Part B.

Get Proper Review

Final review of an SOP doesn’t just mean proofreading for correct grammar and punctuation, but should also ensure the accuracy of the procedures. In addition, consider having someone unfamiliar with the task perform it using the SOPs you created. If they have no problem, then you’ve done a great job, but if they have issues, rethink the SOP from the user’s perspective.

Update Often

As rules and regulations often change, so must your SOPs. As such, be sure to check your SOPs often to ensure they’re up-to-date.

Follow these guidelines to better ensure that your company is writing effective SOPs. We can help you sharpen your team’s SOPs writing skills with a customized onsite course. For a free consultation, contact us at Hurley Write, Inc.

 

Sources

Das, Palash. "Writing Standard Operating Procedures (SOP)." USCGMP, 01 Nov. 2012. http://www.uscgmp.com/2012/11/writing-standard-operating-procedures.html.
 
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