Let me set the stage for you. You have dozens of IT processes to document for your team, and you’re falling behind the original deadlines every day. Creating SOPs takes time and effort; we get it.
But to make matters worse, the few SOPs you rolled out so far are collecting dust (virtually) in some corner of a Google Drive folder because nobody uses them. They’re jargon-heavy, painstakingly lengthy, and challenging to locate.
All your efforts seem pointless at this point. You’re ready to call it quits and shut down your documentation campaign.
But we have the silver bullet to make documentation more seamless than ever — no exaggeration.
Read our quick and easy guide on designing IT SOPs and stick with us till the end to find the easiest solution for creating intuitive how-to guides and standard operating procedures in minutes.
What are IT SOPs?
An IT standard operating procedure (SOP) is a set of step-by-step instructions explaining a repeatable process or task related to the IT system in an organization. These SOPs specifically cover performing an action or completing a task within the IT infrastructure.
IT SOPs record all the information employees need to implement routine processes. By documenting these processes, you can maximize efficiency and reduce the scope of error within your team. Not just that, IT SOPs can help you achieve higher quality benchmarks. Let’s discuss the five most important benefits of IT SOPs.
Why does your business need IT SOPs
If documentation feels tedious and never-ending to you, you’re not alone. With so much on your plate already, making SOPs naturally takes a backseat at the slightest hurdle. But stalling your documentation efforts comes with a price.
Here’s everything you’re missing out on without good IT documentation:
IT teams consider compliance a do-or-die mission. Violating any regulations or legal requirements is a ticking bomb waiting to damage your operations.
SOPs empower teams to maximize compliance by clarifying different checks and audits to conduct. They also inform employees about necessary regulations and reiterate the importance of complying with these rules.
A common pain point for almost every successful IT team is the centralization of knowledge with critical talent. What happens if a senior engineer leaves the team tomorrow? Mayhem.
That’s a crucial reason for transferring all their knowledge into SOPs that help your team function smoothly even when key members leave. With an SOP library in place, you’re protecting your business against turnover crises, sudden layoffs, and long-term absences.
High degree of efficiency
A well-known benefit of creating SOPs is the boost in efficiency among teams. Since IT teams rely heavily on collective contributions rather than individual efforts, building operational efficiency can be challenging, especially if your team includes many rookies or new hires.
This is where SOPs can turn things around by giving your team just-in-time information for any task or process. These documents eliminate hiccups to support your efforts to work swiftly.
Seamless employee training
High-growth companies are always onboarding new talent. But training these employees can be a huge headache. Employee training takes up a lot of time from your existing team’s schedule, leading to project delays.
Instead of going through this hassle of onboarding every new hire, SOPs can train employees effectively without disturbing your team’s schedule.
Greater consistency in outputs
Have you ever felt that your IT could produce better outputs at a higher quality if employees were more consistent? Probably at some point.
SOPs can streamline the work for every member of your team to drive consistency in outputs. This means, you can say goodbye to discrepancies and errors in your overall work.
5 tips for building effective IT SOPs in a few minutes
One thing is clear: well-documented IT SOPs can be a massive differentiator for your business and get the best out of your team. So, let’s look at five actionable tips to tackle your pain points and make documentation a breeze.
Develop a list of processes that need SOPs
First order of business: create a list of all the processes you want to document. Think of this step as preparing the itinerary for a trip—you’ll be lost without it and won’t have as much fun.
Here are a few common IT processes you can turn into standard operating procedures:
- Security: Document your policies, controls, and procedures for maintaining your IT infrastructure’s security. These SOPs will cover access controls, data protection, incident response, and security incident reporting. You can also create runbooks for handling security threats or network issues.
- Network operations: Outline the exact processes for maintaining and managing the company’s primary network. These SOPs will cover network monitoring, network troubleshooting, and network configuration management tasks.
- Change management: Lay down the standardized workflows for managing changes and upgrades in your IT systems. This will mainly include change request procedures, approval, and implementation procedures.
- Backup and recovery: Explain the steps and protocols for backing up and restoring data in case of an outage or disruption. These SOPs will convey the data backup, storage, and recovery instructions, including backup schedules, backup testing, and disaster recovery procedures.
- Incident management: Define the processes for detecting and resolving incidents in your infrastructure. Create SOPs to follow a standard incident reporting, escalation, and communication approach.
Decide where you’ll publish the SOP
Most people create a Google Doc and call it a day. The result? Your SOPs get lost among tens of other documents and never see the light of day.
How you present your SOPs can make a huge difference in adoption rates. If the end-users find your SOPs boring and hard to comprehend, you must rethink how you give this information.
Wondering if there’s an IT documentation software that can help you design user-friendly and intuitive documents? The good news: there is.
Scribe is an intuitive documentation tool designed to simplify your documentation process. You can create step-by-step SOPs with annotated screenshots, text, videos, and more in a few minutes. Customize the entire document, share it with a link, embed it on a website—the possibilities are endless.
Jolita Kulbiene loves creating SOPs with Scribe because it makes the process easy and fun.
Not convinced how Scribe can help your documentation efforts? Here’s what Omid says about Scribe’s functionality to support business-critical procedures.
“Teams depend on documentation to support business-critical procedures. Scribe helps teams easily share knowledge so that each customer and employee has all the information they need. While team members rely on one another to learn, explaining the process can be disruptive and requires “let’s get together, I’ll show it to you.” – Omid A
Choose a format and design a template
SOPs come in various shapes and forms. A surefire way to accelerate your documentation process is determining the ideal format for your SOPs and creating a template for it.
You can choose from these three common SOP formats:
- Flowchart or workflow.
- Simple step-by-step.
- Hierarchical steps.
You can create templates for each format or design one for the most preferred format. In either case, a template will give you a pre-made structure to begin every SOP and save time spent on creating a good layout.
Here's an IT documentation template that you can use today.
And other IT documentation templates designed on Scribe can help you start right away:
Write the content & fine-tune your SOP
An SOP fulfills many purposes—training new employees, acting as a job aid, preventing errors, transferring knowledge, etc. With so much at stake, it’s essential that the information in an SOP has to be as accurate and reliable as possible.
The most important step of creating a meaningful SOP is collecting insights from subject matter experts to source correct insights for any process. If you’re not the expert yourself, interview the right people and collect their input before writing your draft.
Once you’ve done this legwork, create a new Scribe and record your screen performing the task to create a written guide in less than 2 minutes.
Here's a Scribe in action.
Review this guide for errors and edit the steps wherever necessary. You can also add more steps and visuals to present information nicely.
Establish a process for review, editing & approval
While most teams will take care of all the above tips, they drop the ball when it comes to reviewing, editing and approval. You're leaving room for error without a solid workflow to complete the final check.
So, define a standard process to review your SOPs, preferably by SMEs, and establish fixed timelines for the edits. You can also create a schedule to track performance, collect feedback, and update SOPs. It is important to ensure your documents continue to serve the purpose they were created and guide your team well.
Design & deliver IT SOPs effortlessly with Scribe
That’s a wrap on our quick guide on creating IT SOPs. Without a good process and platform to design SOPs, you’re setting yourself up for failure. You’ll likely create long documents filled with technical blabber that nobody wants to read.
Don’t be that person. Give all stakeholders a clear insight into your processes and prepare your IT team to achieve operational excellence with Scribe. Create IT SOPs in a few minutes and document processes effortlessly. Try Scribe today to see the difference yourself!