In any organization, quite a few projects are running at the same time. Now, who’s in charge of handing them?
"Nearly 60 percent of project managers are running between two and five projects. A small group – 11 percent – are running six to ten projects, and 15 percent run more than 10 projects," according to the 2021 Project Management Report by the RGPM.
In that case, project managers and their teams must adhere to the defined set of rules and guidelines. This can help ensure success for the project at hand. That’s where having a project management SOP comes in handy.
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What are project management SOPs?
According to the Project Management Institute (PMI), “Project management is the use of specific knowledge, skills, tools and techniques to deliver something of value to people.” The main objective of a project manager is to complete all of the goals and objectives of the project while adhering to limitations, such as often time, budget, quality, and scope.
The first step in managing a project successfully is having a clear knowledge of your objectives. A project management SOP can help you better understand workflows and processes.
Standard operating procedures are a crucial component of your project management toolkit since project managers and their teams undertake several routine tasks. They can help with project revisions, file expense reports, and plan and execution of complicated projects. Apart from that, more benefits come with implementing a project management SOP.
Why are project management SOPs so important?
If there’s no proper structure your team can follow, you’ll likely struggle to monitor and track the performance of the multiple projects you own. That doesn’t reflect well on your project management skills. How does an SOP help overcome project management challenges?
- Ensure consistency across departments: Remembering every step of completing a task can become difficult. A standard operating procedure in project management ensures everyone masters completing a routine function using the same processes. It can assist the team in avoiding any errors or inefficiencies that can negatively affect the production of goods or services.
- Improves communication among the team: When handling multiple projects at the same time, it’s easy to miss out on passing information. Sometimes, misunderstandings can easily arise. The best way to tackle that is to refer to the SOP since it has all the necessary documentation in one place.
- Increases sense of commitment: With an effective SOP, it’s easier to track employee performance and growth. That way, employees can check how well they’re doing, boosting their confidence in themselves. Furthermore, they’ll aim to improve their results and maximize the use of resources.
- Helps pass on organizational information: Not every employee stays with the company indefinitely. The key point of contact for a project might leave. In that case, an SOP ensures that other team members can navigate and complete the project. Moreover, the experience and expertise live on even after the best employees leave.
🎓 Related resource: The Importance of Project Documentation for Productive Teams
Moreover, a project management SOP keeps managers accountable for their tasks. That way, everyone knows what they are supposed to do. So there’s no confusion.
Project managers can create thorough standard operating procedure documentation with tools such as Scribe. Employees can also exchange advice on completing jobs successfully thanks to the collaborative tools available to them. But what steps should one keep in mind to create an effective SOP?
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How to build project management SOPs: 6-step guide
The 2020 PMI Pulse report revealed that companies building strong project practices enjoy a host of benefits.
In comparison with businesses without mature value-delivery processes, they are more prone to fulfill their project goals (77 percent vs. 56 percent), stay within budget (67 percent vs. 46 percent), and deliver on time (63 percent vs. 39 percent), and less likely to suffer scope creep (30 percent vs. 47 percent) or outright project failure (11 percent vs. 21 percent).
So, organizations must really think about how they’d like to document their processes. Luckily, we have an easy guide breaking down all the steps for you.
Step #1: Determine project scope
The scope of any SOP is to look into what the outcome of their project should be. What do stakeholders and project managers aim to get from finishing a certain task? What steps are needed to complete that task and who should facilitate that process? Once you’ve answered all those questions, you can move on to the next step.
Step #2: Identify project infrastructure & characteristics
Most projects often fail in the design and planning stages. That’s because it’s difficult to determine where a project fits. What you have to think about is where the standard operating procedure fits in. How much of the project’s process can you involve in the SOP? You’ll also have to think about what features the end product/service should have.
✨ Use these 14 customizable project plan templates to enhance communication, save time and achieve your strategic planning goals.
Step #3: Factor in time & supply chain movement
Use process mapping and think about the goal of each step as it changes ownership. Every project should have a definite start and end date. However, setting deadlines ultimately depends on how long the process takes. So plan it out to get the right results on any given day.
Step #4: Assess the risks
Understanding the project's progress is necessary to identify potential problems and take corrective action. You’ve to look into the future and consider what risks you can encounter.
There will almost certainly be redundancies between teams that affect the efficiency of operations. These need to be eliminated to streamline how managers and teams get work done.
📌 Related resource: 7 Risks of Project Management: How to Avoid Disaster
Step #5: Decide what tools & resources to use
Complete a task or process can be challenging without tools and resources. These should be identified in the SOP along with relevant information about them. Directing team members towards the proper resources and ensuring their workload is distributed evenly.
Step #6: Write, write & write
Like any SOP, there should be clear instructions for completing each step. You should also define the criteria to follow when working towards your goals. The document's purpose should be concisely formulated in one or two sentences.
Start with a SOP template and outline a clear and complete description of what the SOP contains. You should also include:
- Other documents referenced in the standard operating procedure.
- Definition of terms.
- Organizational terms.
Jargon should also be simplified for any new employees.
💡 Scribe top tip: Once you’re done with your project management SOP, review it yourself and with other team members. This way, you’ll ensure there were no mistakes made. You can also evaluate if it's an effective SOP by performing an analysis after each process is completed.
Use Scribe to create your own project management SOP
Project management SOPs can certainly take a business to a new level when implemented correctly. An easy way to generate such documentation is using Scribe as a tool. It’s a collaborative way to generate a step-by-step guide along with screenshots, clicks and links.
You can share it in any format you’d like as well, and it only takes a few seconds. Want to know what our users say? Here’s a trusted review from a professional who has actually used it:
So, why don’t you turn on your recorder and Scribe your SOP the right way? We can guarantee it’ll be ready by the time you finish your morning coffee.