Avoid the SOP Management Mistakes

Of course, in any work environment, when creating and updating Standard Operating Procedures,  there are numerous considerations; many ways to get it right and many ways to get it wrong. This blog is to highlight some of the most common areas people and teams fail in their SOP management.

Not Using The Full Potential of SharePoint

There are many aspects of SharePoint that make it the perfect system for Policy and SOP Management including, Collaboration, Versioning, Security, Accessibility, Workflows, Auditing, Search, access to third party add-ons, and many more. Yet people still either over look it as the solution or don’t take advantage of all of its functionality.

NB: Take a look at this blog: 5 reasons to use SharePoint for SOP Management

Poorly Created and by the Wrong People

You wouldn’t try to write a recipe for a cake using Morse code, without going near a Kitchen, or not testing the recipe out. So why do we see this happening when creating SOP’s in companies?

Ensure that the correct people with the correct knowledge are writing the SOP’s, in an engaging format and writing style for the end user. Ensure that the end user is consulted in the process and that the SOP is fully tested in the working conditions it is to be used in. Using SharePoint as the collaboration tool is a really effective way of getting the diverse inputs required for this.

Assuming SOPs are Read and Understood by Employees

Just having a SOP library with SOPs in it is not enough to ensure the employee reads them. It is like having all your important company information on a notice board in one room and not telling anyone about it. The only people that know about it are the ones who put it there.

So as part of your SOP Management Strategy there has to be a means of ensuring that your employees read this, and other important material. This may be achieved in many different ways, from face to face sessions, through to constant email reminders and chasing.

One of the most effective ways to achieve this would be to use an all-encompassing system to deliver the SOP to the relevant audience :- automatically chasing and tracking the reading of it, assessing their comprehension and using a test as part of that process….Sound too good to be true?....well that can be achieved using SharePoint Add-on products such as DocRead and DocSurvey from Collaboris.

NB: Take a look at this blog on How to Improve Your SOP Training using SharePoint

Failure to Review and Maintain SOPs

One of the most common mistakes made within organisations is creating a full set of Standard Operating Procedures for every aspect of your core business; from making widgets to carrying  out change of some sort; but then neglecting to give any consideration in your SOP Management strategy as to how the process itself will be kept up to date. Remember that the consequences of not having an effective set of SOPs can far outweigh the effort required to keep them current.

Often defined in an Organisations Quality Manual, this process should be simple and flexible. It is one of those cases where just enough and just in time is better than unwieldy bureaucracy.

The update process should allow for different review frequencies to cater for varying SOP needs, and should ensure any changes go through full re-approval and are once again distributed and communicated effectively.