Case Study: Perfecting Process of Writing SOPs


Clarity is essential to Antoinette Athill-Christmas. As an administrative coordinator for the student service center of a medical school, Athill-Christmas is responsible for writing Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs). These documents detail the steps and activities of a process or procedure and are used to train new hires, instruct temporary workers, and ensure that work is completed correctly.

SOPs are a vital part of the day-to-day running of Athill-Christmas’ department. With these documents, consistent service can be provided by all associates in the department.

Creating such important content didn’t always come naturally to Athill-Christmas. But after taking an SOP writing course from Hurley Write, she’s earning compliments from co-workers, and other departments are using her knowledge and experience as Best Practice.

Increased responsibility
When first tasked with creating SOPs for her department, Athill-Christmas used templates and examples from other successful implementations as a starting point. But as the number of needed documents increased, she realized her entire department was depending on the quality of her work.

“I wanted to make sure that the information I was putting out there was accurate and prepared in the right format,” she says. “So I researched opportunities for development in this special skill set.”

Her research and the testimonials she found pointed her to Hurley Write, Inc.

Big changes
After working with Hurley Write, Athill-Christmas made big changes to her SOPs.

“I was following the format from a different institution, but my editor at Hurley Write pointed out ways to improve on it,” she says.

Hurley Write reviewed the SOP format and Athill-Christmas’ process of writing the documents, from creating an outline to structuring sentences.

“You have no guarantee that another organization’s template is right for your company,” says Athill-Christmas. “I had to make sure that my SOPs were accurate and that other employees can fully understand what they’re saying.”

Now, Athill-Christmas is confident that her SOPs are complete, clear, and brief. And she knows that Hurley Write has her back.

“I could call my editor at any time or send an email, and my editor was always prompt to respond,” Athill-Christmas says. “Even today, if I have a question in my day-to-day work, I can always shoot my editor an email, and she will gladly assist.”

Living proof
“I think that I’ve increased my knowledge,” reflects Athill-Christmas, “and I can see the improvements in the work. I’ve got compliments from my boss as well. Organizationally, our culture is moving toward a process centric environment. My experience and knowledge has been instrumental in moving this forward.”

She continues to improve the SOPs. For example, she’s started adding process mappings, something she wouldn’t have known to do before taking the writing course.

Recently, Athill-Christmas recounts, her department had a big project and needed a few extra hands on deck. Her boss joined the effort. Athill-Christmas was gratified to see that her boss was able to use the SOP and do the work — living proof of her effectiveness as a writer.

“I really did enjoy working with Hurley Write,” says Athill-Christmas. “I’ve learned a whole lot, and everybody is commenting on the work. [Hurley Write] really did a good job in terms of making sure that I understood the information, and my editor was always available.”

Athill-Christmas has really found her niche and loves this type of role.