Stage 7. How to Test Standard Operating Procedures

In Part 7 in our series on writing Standard Operating Procedures we look at how to test the Procedures. The first question is who tests the procedure? One of the risks of testing your own procedure is that you’ve become snowblind to how the process actually works and fail to see steps that need to be captured. Also, you may take things for granted which the reader needs to be aware of, such as security precautions or items that need to be in place for the procedure to work.

Stage 6 – How to Write Standard Operating Procedures

This is Part 6 in our series on writing Standard Operating Procedures. If you’ve missed the first five, sign up for the newsletter and the while set of tutorials will be sent to you automatically.

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 You can also collect data from reading historical documents which may give more background to the project.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 4 – Sherlock Holmes & The Tale of the Information Gathering Phase

This is the part I like the most about writing procedures. It involves walking around and getting to know those who work with the actual procedure and know how it works ‘warts and all’.

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 […]

10 Step Plan For Writing Standard Operating Procedures

The aim is to introduce the key concepts involved in: Designing Writing Formatting Testing and Maintainingg Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) These tutorials will look at how you can put together a team of writers who can write procedures to an acceptable level so that your company is better organised, both internally and customer-facing. … Some of the other topics will include: Role and Function of SOPs How to conduct a Needs Assessment How to implement SOPs How to Evaluate SOPs How to create SOP templates How to format SOPs, Process, and Flowcharts How to define a SOP At the end of the course, we’ll share some free sample SOPs and other resources that will help you write your procedures.

6 Examples of Standard Operating Procedures

What I’ve done this week is share 7 examples of different standard operating procedures examples (also called SOPs) so you can see how different organizations write, formant, and design their own procedures. Over the coming weeks, we will anaylze these documents and prepare a series of templates that will help you write SOPs for different industries and different sectors.

Business Process Design Tutorial # 1: Why, What & How?

At the end of the workshop, our client confessed, ‘I didn’t know our business worked like that’.

We’d come onsite and over three months mapped out the processes in his Finance, Sales and Operations Depts. For me, one of the most rewarding aspects of Business Analysis is discovering how a business works and then mapping it out in Visio.

How to Stop SOP Templates From Crashing

Is there anything worse than writing Standard Operating Procedures all afternoon and then… Word crashes! If your Microsoft Word files suddenly become huge and start crashing, here’s one way to fix it. I’ve creating some very large SOPs in Microsoft Word and learnt a few ways to control these documents.

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.

The Gil Grissom Guide to Microsoft Word 2007

Sandra wants to know where is the Styles menu option in Microsoft Word 2007.

She wants to update her new business plan and add Notes, Messages, Quotes and other pre-formatted styles. The Styles in Microsoft Word 2003 and 2007 seem to be different.

Even Gil Grissom would have a hard time doing this.

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 […]

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14 Questions For Interviewing Technical Writers

Here are some tips for interviewing tech writers, for example, if your company needs to hire a contractor to complete some documentation. I’ve worked on both sides on the fence in the past, (i.e. interviewed and been interviewed) and picked up a few things in the process. Hopefully, these will be of some help. A […]

Ten Tips When Writing for the Web

Writing for the Web requires new a different approach to the writing process. Before you start writing web content, try to understand the basics of information architecture and how navigation systems work. As readers scan text on the Web, make sure that you: Write short paragraphs instead of large blocks of text Use bulleted lists […]

[Video] How To Stay Motivated 7 Days A Week

Once the initial wave of enthusiasm wears off, where do you find the motivation to give yourself a kick start? What do you do to make your next video or blog post? Here’s what I do to get myself working again. Video Blogging – How To Stay Motivated Making videos is not hard. But, the […]

How to Fail…Very Slowly

Have you noticed this obsession with speed? Everyone is doing things, real fast. Even failure has to be fast. Fail fast is the new mantra. Christopher S. Penn takes up this point, ‘Ever done this? You see a traffic jam ahead, get off at the next exit, and spend 30 extra minutes on side and […]