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How to Create Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) That Work

Jun 18, 2020

SOPs improve the quality and consistency of your products and services.

Use Our SOP Template to Create Your Own SOPs Today

Click here to Download PDF

Who is it for: Names of people in the company this SOP is for to follow. (ex: WordPress team, WordPress management team, HR, Everyone in Team, PHP team etc.)
Prepared by: Ronik

Outcomes:

  • What do you hope to achieve from this SOP?
  • How will it help you?
  • How will it help others?
  • How will you measure the success of this SOP?
  • Why must this SOP be followed by everyone?

Critical Steps:

  1. Step by step instruction 
  2. Easy to follow steps
  3. This steps must happen to ensure SOP is followed 
  4. What to do if they have a question on any step?
  5. List other acceptable alternative 
  6. Leave a message in the slack channel if confused.
  7. Notify X person once this is completed.

Click here to Download PDF

You can’t produce consistent, predictable results without standardized processes.

As a digital agency owner, you often have to solve complex problems for your clients, and you will often run into obstacles along the way. With time and experience, you will develop a formulaic way of approaching problems you’ve dealt with time and time again.

But as your agency grows, you won’t be able to do everything yourself. You will have to delegate tasks to employees and third-party vendors, who may not have had the same experiences you have.

Many growing agency owners find out that while everyone wants to do the right thing, very few developers will consistently agree on what the “right thing” is in any given situation. Minor changes in process can lead to significant complications down the line.

Standard operating procedures (SOPs) solve this problem directly. They establish a single, documented way of solving problems by providing a specific set of rules to follow. This ensures  a predictable, uniform result regardless of who is doing the solving.

What Are SOPs and What Do They Aim to Achieve?

SOPs are just instructions for achieving certain goals. Companies create them to list the specific steps they use to solve certain problems and produce uniform results. SOPs simplify complex processes into a set of reproducible steps that anyone can perform.

This offers some key practical advantages. With SOPs in place, you can delegate processes to different employees – no single person holds the keys to completing that particular process. It also enables you to start measuring and improving the results of your processes.

Without SOPs in place, undocumented processes will become part of that company’s tribal knowledge”. If the person responsible for onboarding customers or performing cybersecurity audits gets sick or quits, you are left with no way to accomplish the tasks they were responsible for.

Use Our SOP Template to Create Your Own SOPs Today

Click here to Download PDF

Who is it for: Names of people in the company this SOP is for to follow. (ex: WordPress team, WordPress management team, HR, Everyone in Team, PHP team etc.)
Prepared by:
Ronik

Outcomes:

  • What do you hope to achieve from this SOP?
  • How will it help you?
  • How will it help others?
  • How will you measure the success of this SOP?
  • Why must this SOP be followed by everyone?

Critical Steps:

  1. Step by step instruction 
  2. Easy to follow steps
  3. This steps must happen to ensure SOP is followed 
  4. What to do if they have a question on any step?
  5. List other acceptable alternative 
  6. Leave a message in the slack channel if confused.
  7. Notify X person once this is completed.

Click here to Download PDF

SOPs Reduce Errors and Improve Quality Assurance

Standardized processes are reproducible processes. Having a documented set of steps to follow makes it easier to train new employees and divert manpower to different tasks whenever needed. This, in turn, reduces errors and enables quality assurance.

In most cases, new agency owners will have to do almost everything by themselves. Over time, they will identify opportunities to optimize processes by delegating them to employees and third-party service providers. SOPs give those people a clear, consistent set of rules to abide by when performing the tasks they’ve been assigned.

How to Create Standard Operating Procedures for Your Agency

Most agency owners already know how valuable standard operating procedures are. The problem is that SOPs are not easy to create. Clients can call and ask for any number of things – if their requests are not uniform, how can the service you provide be?

This is where offering niche services can pay off for digital agency owners. If you focus entirely on creating great subscription-based e-commerce websites, you will already know what kinds of problems website owners in that particular niche are likely to have. These may be obstacles than the ones that product-based e-commerce website owners don’t have to deal with.

The better you can zero in on exactly what the standard outcome of your work is supposed to be, the greater a candidate for standardization it becomes.

But that doesn’t mean that there is no place for generalized SOPs in the world of web application development. Even jacks-of-all-trades can identify tasks that are common to all of their projects. Those are the best places to begin creating standard operating procedures.

Once you’ve identified the process that you want to document, you can simply follow the steps outlined in this example SOP, which describes exactly how to create a comprehensive set of standard operating procedures for a general task.

If you’d rather look at a real SOP that more than two dozen developers use every single day, feel free to check out our previous post on WordPress Maintenance. WP Care Plans are a great example of the kinds of processes perfectly suited to standardization.

Six Elements Every SOP Should Have

A comprehensive SOP should include the following information:

  • Who It Is For. Start your SOP with a list (by name, team, or organization) that describes who is supposed to use it. This will help reduce ambiguity and ensure that you don’t accidentally tell the wrong people to perform tasks they can’t accomplish.
  • Who Prepared It. Make sure your name is on the document. Anyone reading it should know exactly who to reach out to if the SOP is incomplete or outdated.
  • What the Desired Outcome Is. The SOP should describe the result it is supposed to produce. You may also wish to write down how success will be measured after the tasks are completed, and what they should expect while going through them.
  • Every Step Needed to Produce That Outcome. This will be the main part of every SOP document you create. Be sure to include contingent scenarios and basic troubleshooting into any steps with more than one possible result.
  • Examples. Showing examples of how to complete standardized tasks can be incredibly useful. This is especially true when dealing with visually demanding tasks, like navigating a graphic user interface or looking for mistakes in a complex array of data.
  • Actions. At the very end of your SOP, you should offer some context on what comes after all of the tasks are completed. This is also a good place to solicit suggestions about how to improve the document.

Use Our Template to Create Your Own SOPs Today

Feel free to use our standard operating procedure template to start committing your most common processes to writing. Having a single point of reference for the tasks your business relies on to deliver value to its clients will help you delegate work more effectively and earn more consistent results.

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Have questions? Leave us a comment, we’re here to help.

ronik patel

After building my web agency JD Softtech in both Boston and Ahmedabad, India, I wanted to find a way to help other agencies.

So we took our team of highly qualified website developers and web designers and launched UnlimitedWP, a white-label WordPress partner for growing agencies.

If you’re frustrated by how much time working in WordPress takes, consider UnlimitedWP.com.

For one low monthly fee, you can create and assign an unlimited number of tasks to our team of WordPress experts—with a typical turnaround time of 24–48 hours.

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