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How to Prioritize SOPs When Controlling Documents

What’s the simplest way to control numerous SOPs documents, especially if you’re managing a team across different business units?

How to Prioritize SOPs? Keep It Simple

My first suggestion is to keep it simple.

I’ve used some very complex Document Control software. The problem is that larger systems are so feature rich that you can spend more time learning how it works than actually managing the procedures.

I prefer to use an Excel spreadsheet. This is something I can share with colleagues, has no learning curve, and is available on most all PCs. Expensive software locks out many users and also requires training, which is more time gone.

Create an Excel Spreadsheet

In the Excel file, create rows for all the items you want to track.

  • SOP #  – assign a unique number assigned to each procedure. It never changes. Its status or version may change but, like a car registration number, it never changes even when it goes from one owner (writer) to the next.
  • Date Issued – enter the date when the document was officially released.
  • Assigned To – for example, the writer been assigned to write the document, or the reviewer whose job it is to review it.
  • Role – Writers, Reviewers, Tester, Or Project Manager.

Low, Medium or High?

Again, keep it simple and use Low, Medium and High for each procedure.

L/M/H – in one column, enter Low, Medium or High next to each procedure. This helps you capture each SOPs as you write them and also make sure that the most important ones are done first. Some SOPs are more critical than others.

Give it Status

When I’m reviewing and/or controlling documents I usually assign a status to the document depending on its level of importance.

These three – L/M/H – help me prioritize those that need to be actioned first, whereas others can wait a while.

Also, I use this field to highlight to other writers which documents need to be completed first and also highlight what’s most urgent.

What have I missed? How do you prioritize your SOP documents?