Talk:Standard operating procedure

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Suggested improvements to this Article[edit]

This article does not consider differing roles that SOPs can (should) play in various industry sectors. Also, this article contains information about military and business use of SOPs which seem contradictory at times. Suggest moving the military component of SOPs (irrelevant to business) out of this article to a perhaps more appropriately named 'Standing Operating Procedures' which may, perhaps, be for routine tasks but in a less predictable environment.

Reference 1 ( does not contain a definition for improvement. Should reference 1 be removed?Skierbrian (talk) 14:06, 11 May 2010 (UTC)

The paragraph headed Military use contains poorly constructed sentences and needs to be rewritten. Rossmcm (talk) 03:04, 7 April 2011 (UTC)

clinical sop's[edit]

The general use section focus' completely on SOP's in clinics and says practically nothing about general use of SOP's in industry. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 13:57, 2 March 2007 (UTC).

General use: Standard operating procedures, as the term is used in the world of 'Quality Assurance' (visit to view International Standards for Quality Management Systems - ISO 9001:2000 and 15,000 other International Standards)refers to a document that describes how a process is carried out. It may be called 'the way to do something' and should show (in a header or some kind of title block) its name, who wrote it, who authorized it, when it was put into circulation and have some kind of revision control so the user can tell if he or she is looking at the most current version.

It also helps to have the 'scope' of the SOP defined so that the user knows whether the document applies to the activity they are doing. If there are forms that need to be filled out or records filled in, they should be referenced in the 'method' section of the SOP. In an electronic environment, the SOP could have a hyperlink to the form or database to take the user to the place where they need to enter information.

As a process improves, obviously, the SOP needs to be updated to reflect the most current way of doing things.

A 'checklist' can also act as a type of SOP since the checklist tells the user what they have to do as they go down the steps and check off their activities. A checklist would not be called an SOP by 'purists' because it likely wouldn't contain enough information.

A great tool to include with an SOP or use as an SOP is a flowchart or workflow diagram. Once you use the 'cross-functional' flow chart (see Microsoft Visio software) you now have the steps described in order showing who does the step. It has it all. You can include a title block on a flowchart, too, that includes all the things that your 'Document and Record Control' SOP require. So that means you can create an SOP to show you how to write an SOP!

A typical SOP could include this information in the title block or somewhere visible: Author, approval, date approved, date put into use (could be the same date and your Documentation SOP would explain that), page number and total number of pages.

SOP Template headings could include: 1.0 Scope 2.0 References (documents that were used as reference material to create this SOP) 3.0 Definitions and/or acronyms 4.0 Method (This can include a flowchart and a grid or table describing the process steps. You can also hyperlink the boxes of your flowchart to 'sub-processes' that show more detail) 5.0 Related documentation (forms, checklists, databases, other related SOPs, equipment manuals, software manuals, related websites, intranets, internal storage systems, or anything the user could benefit from while they're following the SOP) 6.0 Contact information if it was not included in the title block

The beauty of SOPs is that it gives an organization a place to start from. Continual Improvement is important for survival, and SOPs give you a platform to do improvements from. "If you're not getting better, it's going to feel like you're getting worse", especially to employees using these SOPs. That's why they (the employees) are the best people to write them. And make your SOPs easy to update so people will keep the documentation current for new hires - SOPs make it quicker for new people to become productive. SOPs are also handy for actitivities that your organization doesn't do too often and people need a refresher for.

SOPs are also a great training tool. When standard operating procedures accurately describe the way to undertake a task and that task involves an element of OHS safety, the SOP can be used a training tool to ensure compliance with workplace safety. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:41, 1 June 2010 (UTC)

Set up the 'flow' using the 'Process Approach'. Inputs - Process - Outputs. And remember to put some resources into the picture (Human, infrastructure and work environment) and finally, controls (SOPs, checklist, laws, regulations, Policies, Acts, etc.) that make the process run smoothly.

Retrieved from ""


Well before the European series of programmes for homologation, the phrase was often heard with reference not only to tedious bureacracy and wastefulness but also to the illegal, immoral, or dangerous -- but nonetheless prevalent -- activities that get performed by the functionaries of massive organizations, starting with the military and continuing to all bureaucracies and also some idiosyncrasies of private firms (not corporations, which are themselves bureaucratic, but partnerships or family firms). (talk) 00:45, 14 February 2011 (UTC)

Standing Operating Procedure NOT Standard OP[edit]

Even a cursory investigation would show that SOP actually stands for Standing Operating Procedure, it apparently has been bastardized over the years into Standard OP. (talk) 21:52, 2 March 2011 (UTC)

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