Standard Operating Procedure Creation

Demonstrate expertise and avoid common industry pitfalls.


Last Review: March 14, 2020

Product(s): Delta Methodology

Author(s): Kevin Fream


A cyberist created this article using the patented Delta Method by modernizing a typical approach.


The title should be concise and active using keywords first and ending with an action for search purposes. “How to Create a Standard Operating Procedure” is passive and has too many meaningless words for a search URL.

Don’t start a title with “The” and it is not necessary to include “SOP” in the title. Avoid marketing words like “Greatest” or “Ultimate” and subjective phrases like “Best Practice”.

Files should be saved by title keywords separated by dash like Standard-Operating-Procedure-Creation.docx. SOP(s) should be published on a public knowledgebase as reference for support cases and proven results for prospects.


Standard Operating Procedures are published publicly on as part of the patented Delta Methodology to demonstrate expertise.

Most instructions on the Internet have dated or incorrect information and are not trustworthy, having an unknown or anonymous author and no referenced source. Even manufacturer instructions are either too basic or leave out important steps.

The summary should concisely tell the “why” or the general approach such as an upgrade or cutover migration. (A heading for this section is not required). Make a factual argument or tell the business benefit and avoid the obvious “This is a standard operating procedure for …”. Tell things that are largely unknown providing value in each section. SOP(s) don’t stand alone as practiced procedures, often having separate concept drawings, system settings, and scenarios.


Before starting a task, begin with this template SOP. By filling in sections and the list of understood steps first, you can verify or modify while performing the task and reduce SOP update time afterward.

Use this section to prevent surprises and list essentials upfront to confirm feasibility.

  • Specify hardware, software, and information required.
  • Specifiy if there is potential for data loss and if a backup is required.
  • Specifiy if a restart is reqired for management authorization and staff announcement.
  • Specify dos/don’ts and specify any common problems.
  • Specify an estimate like 2-4 hours for time to complete the task.


  1. Don’t just copy some generic steps from a manual or web page.
  2. The proper mix is a low-risk, efficient, best practice approach that does not require inordinate time to create or maintain.
  3. Provide short action statements and specify the desired settings rather than stating a generic choice.
  4. Make it clear at a glance the action item or entry by making it bold.
  5. Use a table to show settings instead of a long list of confusing steps that often change.
  6. Don’t insert unnecessary screen shots with obvious instructions to click Next.
  7. If a step takes more than 3 sentences or appears confusing, then it is appropriate to insert a picture. However, each SOP should have a video for a visual demonstration.
  8. The average SOP will usually be 1-2 pages and likely no more than 5-6 pages for complex tasks.
  9. SOPs should take approximately 1-2 hours to create.
  10. Don’t leave steps off and force the reader to find information in the reference.


Provide specific steps on test procedures or other verification and troubleshooting steps. Don’t end with “contact your administrator”. SOPs are not “official” until published on the public Knowledge Base. The SOP Title and Knowledge Base URL should also be added to the CRM database for selection when resolving support cases.

You should have a link to a reputable source (not Wikipedia or unknown blog or forum) like manufacturer information or government reference.