Standard Operating Procedures: Developing and Implementing

The seven steps that you can take to develop and implement Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs).
Standard Operating Procedures: Developing and Implementing - Articles


Steps to Developing and Implementing SOPs

  1. Planning: Think about the steps that are currently done to complete the process. How is it done? Why is it done that way? How will an SOP improve the process? How will you measure performance?
  2. First Draft: Make a detailed list of the steps in the order that they are done. This list is now a draft of the procedure.
  3. Internal Review: Get input from all workers who now perform the procedure. Give them your first draft but make sure they know that it will still change. Revise the procedure as necessary.
  4. External Review: Involve your technical advisors such as your veterinarian, nutritionist, or extension agent; they can give you advice about the best way to do each step. Revise the procedure as necessary.
  5. Testing: Test the procedure by doing each step exactly as it says. Have a person not familiar with the work follow the procedure. Revise as necessary.
  6. Posting: Make a final draft of the procedure and post in the workplace.
  7. Training: Train or re-train everyone as necessary to follow the procedure exactly.

Tips for Writing SOPs

  • Involve workers: people support what they help create
  • Revise when needed, they should be living documents
  • Use clear, simple language
  • Post SOPs in the workplace, try using plastic sheet protectors
  • Get your SOPs laminated at a copy store
  • Use a graphic format
  • Make flowcharts for free, or use Microsoft's Powerpoint