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Writing - the Foundation of Good Policies and Procedures

I spent a lot of time thinking about writing. I spend a lot of time reading about writing. And yes, I also write about writing. It is a baseline for most of my client conversations, because without writing you can’t get to the sharing and managing part of SOPs. You need content to share and manage, so you have to write. Learning to create clear policies and procedures is not hard. In many cases and for many clients it is taking a step back and recognizing SOPs for what they truly are- rules and instructions.
It may take a draft or two, but I have yet to meet a client who could not write SOPs. I have worked with a range of clients from CEOs to receptionists. I have worked with people for whom English was a second language. Lawyers, mechanics, accountants, shipping and receiving clerks, the list goes on and on. The Zavanta Database system is designed to help authors think through whatever they happen to be documenting. Often times the quickest way to get your SOPs up and running is by tapping into a wider range of authors. Let people write what they know.
This is not to say that you should open the floodgates and yell, “ready, set, write.” Actually quite the opposite, I am a big believer in strategy, having a project manager and a clear plan on what needs to be written is essential. Authoring should be a well-managed process. Authors should be clear on what they should be writing and they should be writing what they know.
The writing part of SOPs is essential, but it easy to learn and do well. After all they are simply instructions and rules. By front-loading planning, trying out a starter project and clearly defining your documentation process you can create a system that makes sense for your organization. A well-managed SOP system allows you to tap into a greater number of authors and ultimately generate useable content all the faster.