How to Write Shorter (SOP) Procedures

Write your procedures so that reader can perform the task correctly. Sounds obvious, right? Most procedure writers make the mistake of adding too much information, and cluttering up the text, or leaving critical information out, so the reader can not perform the task. In this tutorial, let’s look at how to reduce the word count […]

5 Procedure Writing Guidelines

Want to improve your procedures? Today we look at five simple ways to sharpen your SOPs. Let’s look at five terms frequently used in procedure manuals, instructional guides, and process design. 5 Procedure Writing Guidelines In procedures, the following five words are often used incorrectly. To avoid these mistakes, do as follows” Button Names – […]

How to Write the ‘Benefits’ Section in Procedures

Before you start writing your procedure, give some thought to how this will benefit them both from a personal and business level. In other words, you can encourage the reader to use your procedures if you describe the ways their life will be easier if they follow the steps exactly as you have written them. […]

[How To] Number Procedures Correctly

When writing procedures, should you write one or 1? It’s a small detail but how you use numbers in SOPs influences how others interpret your instructions and perform tasks correctly. In some situations, you should use one whereas in others 1 is the correct word to use. So, which one should you use? And where? […]

Warren Buffett’s 10 Steps To Better Report Writing

Buffett writes like he speaks. Direct, immediate and without pretension. “For more than forty years, I’ve studied the documents that public companies file. Too often, I’ve been unable to decipher just what is being said or, worse yet, had to conclude that nothing was being said. If corporate lawyers and their clients follow the advice […]

Stage 5 – Analyzing Alternatives and Contingencies to the As Is Business Process

Yesterday we looked at the Information Gathering Phase and described different ways you can get that information from Subject Matter Experts and those in the frontline who use the procedures. In general, Business Analysts gather data through workshops and interviews. Emails work too but I prefer to see the white of their eyes. You can also collect data from reading historical documents which may give more background to the project. These may include Specifications, Requirements and Flowcharts. Gather all these and hold them in a centralized location.

Stage 3 – Establishing SOP Writing Procedures

The third stage of the procedure writing process involves setting up a framework whereby all the different writing activities are formalized.

This means that before the team starts writing the procedures, you can explain to them how the writing process to works and what is expected of each person.

Stage 2 – Organizing the Procedure Writing Team

Yesterday we showed how to get support from the Management team for the Procedure Writing project. We looked at how you need to sell the importance of the quality procedures to the Executive team and how they in turn can pass this message down the line.

Now that we have that in place we can look at the Procedure Writing team. This involves gathering the best writers (or hiring freelance contractors) and then showing them how to write the procedures based on your style guides and SOP templates.

Stage 1 – Get Management Buy-In Before Writing Your Procedures

Yesterday we looked at what needs to be in place before you start writing your procedures. This involves getting the funding, creating a project plan, needs assessment and/or scope of work depending on how complexity of the assignment. Once you have the budget, the next stage is to get support from Management and to find someone at an executive level who will Champion the project.

Stage 0 – Before You Start Writing Standard Operating Procedures

Yesterday we looked at the lifecycle of writing Standard Operating Procedures. We outlined ten different stages in the writing process. What we’ll discuss today is what needs to be done before you start the actual writing. This includes the prep work necessary before the writing team is assembled and also other issues such as getting […]

29 Ways to Write SOP Procedures Faster

Doing business in China has meant more business analysis, process design, proposal development, case studies and writing standard operating procedures.

As some friends on LinkedIn are also moving into business analysis and SOP writing, I thought I’d add a few tips here. While there is some overlap with technical writing, it does require a different mindset, for example, to understand the process flows and narratives that hold the procedure together.

How to Fix Corrupt & Damaged Microsoft Word Documents – Part 2

Last week we showed you how Bullet Lists can crash MS Word. We outlined some techniques to reduce the file size, mostly by creating pre-formatted bullet lists in advance. But what happens if you’re given a Standard Operating Procedure whose file size is already bloated to massive proportions. It’s too late to create new styles […]

Procedures Writing Guidelines

Image via Wikipedia A Standard Operating Procedure is a set of instructions having the force of a directive, covering those features of operations that lend themselves to a definite or standardized procedure without loss of effectiveness. Standard Operating Policies and Procedures can be effective catalysts to drive performance improvement and improve organizational results. Most quality […]