This weekend I succumbed to buying a barbecue. I bought one from a local shop and thought it would be fun to build and use for the first time. I was quite impressed with the packaging and the instructions were pretty good... until I got to about three quarters of the way through the assembly.
I know what you're thinking at this point, why does Giles need to use instructions in the first place. Despite the fact that I am an engineer I respect instructions. I like to think, like SOPs, they are designed to speed up the process.
Anyway, there was one step where I found the instructions genuinely difficult to follow. It was this point that I recalled the issue of perspective when writing instructions. In my book 'Effective SOPs' I write about the use of writing pairs to try and get away from this problem.
If I had been with the person who wrote the instructions I would have asked a couple of questions which would have made the instructions a lot more effective.
So, who writes your SOPs, and do they create them in isolation?
And, finally, we enjoyed our barbecue... I got there in the end!
...fixing MRP systems and re-engineering business processes