Projects are busy beasts. It is their very nature. Lots of processes running in parallel on the critical path. Soon you start noticing a déjà vu feeling. Hiring consultants. Procuring goods. Communicating on the 5th event the project organises. Organising the 3rd board/steering committee meeting. Handing over project results….
Many of these processes require lots of decisions. And we have a limited decision making capacity (read more in Thinking fast slow, by Daniel Kahneman, if interested).
Here is where Standard Operating Procedures, also knows as SOPs, come in handy. They are nothing glamorous, but are very practical. SOPs may exist in the organisation or the Project Management Office. Or may be crafted by the project team.
In a Project Management Office I once worked, I was in charge of developing SOPs. I found that SOPs served well at least three purposes. They:
- give clear instructions on ‘What to do When…”;
- organise and record the information and its flow;
- simplify the communication within and between teams.
See for example, a SOP for the Acceptance of the Project’s results/deliverable. Feel free to use it and/or adapt it to your project’s needs.