Implementing an Agile Standard Operating Procedure Manual for your business

Implementing an Agile Standard Operating Procedure Manual for your business

Career Management Series

By Laura Lee Rose

Hello, this is Laura Lee Rose – author of TimePeace: Making peace with time – and I am a business and efficiency coach that specializes in time management, project management and work-life balance strategies. I help busy professionals and entrepreneurs create effective systems so that they can comfortably delegate to others, be more profitable and have time to enjoy life even if they don’t have time to learn new technology or train their staff. I have a knack for taking big ideas and converting them into smart, sound, and actionable ideas.

At the end of the day, I transform the way you run your business into a business you love to run.

Many organizations either create an unrealistic Standard Operating Procedure manual or omit one altogether.

What is an SOP?

SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) are what smart organizations use to create consistency in how processes and tasks are performed. They consist of clearly documented, step-by-step procedures and checklists that are easy for employees to follow and greatly reduce the chances of mistakes. When mistakes occur, they give managers a REAL basis for redirecting or disciplining an employee because there’s little room for an employee to say, “That’s not how Bob told me to do it,” or “I didn’t know I was supposed to do that.”

But in today’s fast-moving organization, we want our SOP’s to be as agile and useful as our business. One way to do this is to actually structure your SOP to fit the way your organization.

Real World Scenario

For example, I have a client whose agency didn’t really have any “true” account managers.

· Their sales department was focused on selling, and their product teams were focused on executing tasks.

· This agency was strictly focused on “billable” hours.

· Account managers and project management are seen as non-billable and costly roles.

This left no one to actually manage the current accounts as the sales teams were bringing in new accounts. Since the agency had no intention of hiring account or project managers, the critical tasks still needed to be accomplished.

In this example, using the SOP to fill in the account management role is the solutions. The SOP should also be structured and implemented into the everyday duties.

This is how I structured it for their organization.

Overarching Concepts:

1. This agency doesn’t really have any Account Managers. Therefore, we should structure our procedures to fill in that gap (as well as any other gaps you see).

2. SOP should be in the agile form and one that this agency will actually use. The form of the SOP would be in Workflow descriptions.

3. The overall outline could look like:

a. Customer Experience Workflow – all other workflows should support this one.

b. Account Management Workflow

c. Sales Workflow

d. Digital Content Workflow

e. Voice/Audio/Video Workflow

f. Website Design Workflow (pretty much already done)

g. CEO Workflow

h. Accountant/Invoicing Workflow

i. President Workflow

j. etc….

4. Within each workflow, there will be roles and responsibilities for accomplishing and monitoring the work. Within each workflow, there will be communications (meeting outlines: both internal and external), and project management procedures

5. I also recommend a project management tool that supports "defining your own workflows", This tool would be used to actually implement the SOP — making the SOP a living and usable document. Every role (even the client role) can be supported in this fashion.

I know your unique situation is different. If interested, please setup a complimentary one-on-one discovery call, so that I can learn more about your circumstances and supply a more customized recommendation.

For additional information on this topic, please contact

I am a business coach and this is what I do professionally. It’s easy to sign up for a complementary one-on-one coaching call, just use this link