Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) are essential for managed service providers (MSP) to provide outstanding service, consistently. SOPs help MSPs scale their processes as their business grows. However, when you first start writing an SOP, you might not know where to begin.
While documenting your standard operating procedures might seem intimidating, it doesn’t have to be. Our simple how-to guide on writing an SOP for your MSP will help you document your processes and reap the many benefits of an SOP.
How to Write Standard Operating Procedures
Step 1: Deciding Upon A Format for your SOP
The first step to writing an SOP is to choose a template that best fit the needs of your business. Your layout will be determined by the kind of information you share and if there are any international standards you need to adhere too. At https://www.mspwerks.com/ we provide MSPs with access to many pre-built templates to make the process of writing an SOP for your MSP smoother.
There are three main approaches you can take when deciding on how to present your SOP:
Simple Checklist For smaller teams, you don’t necessarily need detailed complex instructions. A simple checklist which lists all the different tasks involved would work well too. A simple checklist provides smaller businesses or startups the most flexibility to adjust their SOPs while they try out new processes.
Complex Linear Checklist A complex linear checklist allows companies to include all details possible. Each task could be broken down into a sub checklist to further elaborate on the process. Greater details can help take into consideration more variables. The advantage of a complex linear checklist is that you can make your processes so detailed that even new hires could complete the process successfully.
Process Flow Diagram Process flow diagrams are a valuable tool to visualize your SOPs and to understand the entire process, instead of in parts.
Step 2: Collaborate with stakeholders
When writing an SOP, it is important to collaborate with your employees. For a comprehensive procedure, you need to include the people who are or will be responsible for specific tasks or processes. When you create SOPs as a team, your processes are more open to discussions and your employees feel more invested in the task and your MSP.
Step 3: Define your purpose
As you begin to write standard operating procedures, you need to define the purpose behind creating SOPs. In case you are trying to define new processes or set up new systems, you need to make sure that these processes can function smoothly and align with your business priorities.
If you are trying to write SOPs for existing processes, you first need to understand what pain points are you trying to address and what changes are you hoping to achieve.
Step 4: Define the scope and structure of the SOP
The next step to writing an SOP for your MSP is to set a scope for them and focus only on the predefined scope. It can sometimes be too easy to extend beyond the teams or processes you set out to define and make the process of writing the SOP a very cumbersome task. Therefore, it is important to break larger processes into smaller tasks and limit an SOP to smaller tasks.
Another thing to determine before setting out to create SOPs is the structure that would best suit your business. Standard operating procedures for larger businesses can resemble a formal report with the title, reference details, and chapter index before the processes themselves.
Smaller businesses might prefer to keep things simpler or adopt the more formal approach too.
Step 5: Detail the process
This is the crucial step where you collaborate with your team and write down all the steps involved in a process. When writing down these steps, it is important to heed the inputs and feedback from your team to streamline the process better.
Once all the steps have been noted down, revisit the document to see if you should include any more details or sub-tasks to further explain the process better.
Step 6: Be consistent with the writing style
When writing an SOP for your MSP, it is important to adopt a consistent language. Your document should be concise, easy to read. Since SOPs traditionally involve action items, it is a good idea to begin each step with a verb.
Step 7: Implement the SOP
Once you’ve defined the SOP, you can go ahead and implement the process. If there are any flaws in the process, they will become obvious over time as the SOP is implemented. If and when such flaws occur, update the SOP accordingly.
Step 8: Maintain the Process
Business processes are constantly evolving and so the work of creating a standard operating procedure doesn’t end here. You should ideally review and update all SOPs for your MSP at least once a year.
Creating an SOP is a time-consuming process. A lot of smaller organizations believe SOPs to be lengthy, cumbersome and difficult to understand documents. This couldn’t be further from the truth. A well-written SOP is not only easy to understand but can increase the efficiency of your business process and help your business grow. With www.MSPwerks.com you won’t have to worry about creating all your SOPs which are critical to your business, instead you can trust veteran MSP experts to take care of the heavy lifting. We provide customized SaaS business solutions that best fit the needs of an MSP including creating and maintaining SOPs.
Ready to create SOP's for your MSP business? We can help! Our mission at MSPwerks is to develop MSP tools targeted to help MSP's run their business, reduce employee stress, increase overall productivity, and generate healthy revenue. Our MSP tool, SOPwerks, is an easy-to-use, online platform that makes creating quality SOP's simple and fast. Create your own SOP from scratch or use one of our MSP SOP templates filled with checklists designed by MSP industry experts. Learn more here: MSPwerks.com