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The SOP Lab

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Creating a New Standard Operating Procedure (SOP)


Name your document
Name it with a simple title
Start with the subject. Do not add ‘How to’ in the title
If it's a step-by-step procedure, add the word “Process”
Add Procedure Description
Write a description that includes the who, what, why, when
Consider including a workflow or screencast/video
If it's a policy (for reference only) enter the information in the description (you can skip the "Add Steps" section)
Add Steps
Add all the steps and give each one a short, simple name starting with a verb (i.e. Log into Mailchimp)
Use the active, second person voice. For example, "Place the file..." vs "The file should be placed..."
Include instructions to trigger next action (i.e. go to next step; change due date; reassign to team member)
For missing info, include instructions and highlight in light yellow using [brackets]
Try to keep it under 9 steps (between 5-9 items is ideal for a checklist)
If you have many steps, consider adding visuals to help explain or break up the info
Format It
Use bulleted lists or numbered lists for easy reference and punctuate consistently
Use standard headers to break up long lists or text (less than 7 bullets per header)
Bold keywords and actions
Limit the typefaces and font sizes (Use only 1-2 diff typefaces and font sizes + stay consistent)
Add Visuals
Embed visuals when helpful (images, screenshots, video, diagrams, etc) but keep to a minimum (ideally 1 or less per step).
If creating a video/screencast, max it out at 2 minutes (create multiple videos if needed) so it's easy to update and watch. If you break up the video, make sure to add a title or description for each video.
When using video also include text. Don't only post the video in the document. Some people prefer to speed read, and in some cases a video will be more helpful.


Department: [what department does this fall in]
Who: [who is responsible for this]
When: [when or how often does this happen?]
Resources: [any resources to reference]
Created: [date]
Revised: [date]

Step 1. Create the SOP
Create a master template that you can use as a draft guideline for future SOPs

Step 2. Create the SOP
Once you have your master template and are ready to create an SOP, make a copy for each new SOP
Rename the copy using the following format: [SOP-DEPARTMENT] NAME
File the SOP to the correct folder: Company Folder >> Operations >> SOPs
Create the SOP for the process / task activity
Record a Loom video of the steps performed
Double-check your finished work
Review, re-read and refine any steps missed or for duplicate details
Update any formatting issues
Include screenshots, links, or videos where necessary to define steps
Update your master SOP doc with new document details

Step 3. Initiate SOP Review (if you have a designated person — otherwise, skip this step)
Copy file link and add to task in your task manager app.
Create a task under “REVIEW SOPs” task list (If there isn’t a list or section started, create one)
Assign to the Operations Manager and then add a comment and tag using “ @name “ to notify the Operations Manager that the SOP is ready for review.
If revisions are required, Operations Manager will complete updates until refined
If no revisions are needed, Operations Manager will update the task to review again quarterly.

Step 4. Team Notification (if necessary, otherwise, skip this step)
Communicate to team in your project manager or communications app.
You can use the following as a template:
@channel, there is a new SOP “ SOP NAME”.
You can find it here: << Insert File Link >>
If you have any feedback, please add it as a threaded comment here.

Step 5. Continuous Maintenance
Schedule in quarterly maintenance to review SOP under
Update whenever a new or revised step, change in interface or policy, etc.
Archive SOPs by filing them in the “ARCHIVED” folder, and remove them from

Storing Your SOPs
Use shared drives such as Dropbox, G-Suites or Microsoft Office 365 to store all your company’s documentation. It is highly recommended for easy access on all stored files, so you can have the collaboration features.
Some great places to start:
Create an account (or log into an existing one) and create a master shared company folder for your SOPs. You can create sub-folders for your different departments to help organize your documents.
Master SOPs Folder
Department folders (Sales, Marketing, Operations, Social Media, etc.)
SOPs related to each department

Use the guidelines in the previous lesson to template your SOPs and keep them consistent.
It might also help to have a master document or sheet that links out to each doc to make them easy to find. You can of course use the search feature in your cloud storage account, but some people are more visual so it is more helpful.
Here is an example template for documents: or
Here is an example template for spreadsheets:


Project management options: , , , ,
G-Suite (Google Docs, Google Sheets, Google Drive)
Screencast options: ,
, QuickTime Player (Mac)


Keep it short, sweet, and SIMPLE!
Use visual when it's helpful and/or necessary
If you have no SOPs, take it one at a time and create them the next time you do the task
Always have buy-in and feedback from the team

Want to print your doc?
This is not the way.
Try clicking the ⋯ next to your doc name or using a keyboard shortcut (
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