How to Prepare Standard Operating Procedure (SOP)?

How to Prepare Standard Operating Procedure (SOP)?

What is Standard Working Procedure (SOP)?

An SOP or Standard Operating Procedure is a step-by-step document that can be followed consistently to perform repetitive work regularly in an organization. It is targeted at a set of people who need to do the same task again and again on a regular basis. The SOP can be created for the HR department, it can be for production or just for training and development for selected personnel in an organization. Whoever it is targeted for, it establishes the company’s own ways to take care of things. That’s why an SOP is a major document for a department or a set of employees. 

In Particular, you need a standard SOP document for onboarding new employees in your organization. With that, they will be able to understand company and work standards at a glance at the induction.

My experience in HRM says that you may need an SOP template from time to time to define all types of SOP. For simple understanding, I will let you know about the major components of an SOP and how to prepare it in short steps.

After going through the article you will be able to – 

  • Prepare an SOP template for any work-process
  • Understand the components of a genera
  • Understand why it’s important for the organization
  • Get a few tips to prepare a good SOP

Prepare An SOP Template

You should learn to prepare an SOP template step by step. You can relate the template to any of the departments or working processes and create a separate SOP for each of the departments or working processes.

How to Prepare SOP

We are going to describe in general how you should write an SOP in ten easy steps:


An SOP is specifically a goal-oriented document. It can be for all the departments or for a specific working procedure. In either case, you must learn to create an SOP with utmost precision and keep in mind what will be the ultimate gain from it.

For example: If an SOP is made for any particular product’s production, then the end will be the finished product and you need to start from pre-production and go till finished good in the SOP.

Format of SOP

After selecting the goal, you must choose a format to create the SOP. You can choose:

  • Hierarchical steps format, which consists of one or two starting points with lots of subpoints in the next steps.
  • Flowchart format, which shows the steps through a flowchart and gives end results through the flowchart.
  • Step-by-step format, which describes simple steps to be followed as a guide to the last step.

Contents of SOP

Contents of SOP can vary from format to format and from work process to work process. We are going to show you content of a Step by Step format of SOP:

  • Title
  • Objective                                                                                                 
  • Scope                                                                                                        
  • Responsible Persons and Departments                                        
  •  Flowchart of the Instructions                                                           
  •  Details Procedure                                                                                 
  • Glossary of the Terms                                                                         
  • Record Forms                                                                                        
  • Attachments                                                                                           
  • Amendment of Document                                                                 
  • Distribution of Document                         

Flow Chart

Even in a step-by-step format, you may need to include some flowcharts as necessary for the specific working procedures. A flowchart is a diagram including various steps from starting to the endpoint of a process. It can even show instructions to complete a job as well as the responsibilities of different departments according to the instruction. You must include suitable flowcharts in your SOP whether it’s a step-by-step format or hierarchical steps format, for understanding the process in a visually effective manner:

Figure 1: Flowcharts In SOP

Teammates involvement

Team mates from different departments should be asked about their working process to have a clear idea about their work. They can give you a proper idea about the whole process. Their inputs may cause you to go through multiple drafts. But the end result will be a perfect one.

Scope of SOP

An SOP can be independent or it can be associated with other departments in backward and forward ways. It is your duty to find out the necessary scopes regarding the backend and front end of the SOP. And then if you think it necessary, then you can allow the other department SOPs to be included in the one you are working on.

Figure 2: Many Departments Can Be Involved In One SOP

Audience Definition

Some SOP are meant for only the department heads, while others may be intended for laborers. You must have a clear idea for whom you are making the SOP. You should consider:

  • Audience Background and Qualification
  • Familiarity with the working procedure
  • Language skills
  • Interpretation capabilities
  • The existing period in the organization

After that, you should create a draft of the SOP. 

Creating the SOP

This is the step to create the draft of the SOP. Here you should include all necessary points stated in the components of SOP, and then describe them according to the needs of your audience. 


After creating the draft, you should share it with particular personnel with decision-making powers within your organization and ask for their feedback. If you need any kind of editing, subtraction, or addition, you must find it out at this step. 


At this step, you must incorporate all necessary changes and finish the draft. After you are satisfied with the final version which includes all necessary changes according to the feedback of the necessary personnel, only then you can decide it is finished and implement it for testing. If it’s alright, then you can circulate it to the stakeholders.

Why Do You Need Standard Operating Procedure (SOP)?

You need SOP because it shows the structure and backbone of a process or the whole organization which makes the work structured and easier.

The step-by-step document certainly can give a good introduction to the organization’s procedure for the new employees in the induction process.

Besides, the SOP establishes criteria for a process so that no steps can be missed and end results come out successfully.

Tips to write an effective Standard Operating Procedure (SOP)?

Here are some tips to write a good SOP

  • Keep the language simple and understandable for everyone.
  • Keep a checklist of components always at hand.
  • Always take feedback on the SOP from the employees and try to understand if it is necessary to make any change.
  • Revise the SOP every six months or one year for possible changes.
  • Be logical in every step


An effective SOP can work like Kaizen to develop good working procedures and balance within the organization. So you should take time and go to lengths to prepare it as perfectly as possible. 

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