Using Checklists with SOPs

BY IT GLUE | August 07, 2018

So you’re curious about using checklists. How are they different from all those SOPs you’ve written? Great question. The difference lies between knowing how to complete a task, and ensuring that the task actually gets completed. Presumably, you’d like both to be taking place. Using checklists with your SOPs, rather than instead of, is what makes this a reality.

Your SOPs tell you how to do something, but your checklists make sure it actually gets done. After all, what holds you accountable to completing each and every step of your tasks? Perhaps team members, or maybe you’re just really on top of your work. But let’s face it, we all forget things. That’s nothing to be ashamed of, but it can be prevented by complementing your SOPs with reliable checklists.

How are SOPs and checklists complementary?

SOPs provide the knowledge necessary to complete a specific task. If you’re looking to get a new tech up to speed in 3 months or less, your SOPs are a great resource for accomplishing that. In fact, SOPs are awesome for training. Rather than taking time out of a senior team members day to explain processes, new hires can follow SOPs themselves. This kind of documentation is critical for your organization’s success.

What makes your SOPs even more valuable though? You guessed it! Checklists. In most cases, using a checklist doesn’t replace the usefulness of an SOP because while your SOP covers how to do something, your checklist is what ensures you actually do it.

Checklists promote consistency and repeatability

Using checklist templates for specific tasks ensure that something is done the right way the 1st time, and the 101st time. Similar to your SOPs, you want your tasks to be followed in the most efficient way possible, to save the most time. But in order to really leverage the value from your SOPs, you need to implement a checklist that keeps your team accountable to the tasks.

Consider some possible high value checklists that could be set up as checklist templates. These can be used for every repeatable task, like onboarding a new employee, or setting up a new workstation. You don’t have to waste time reinventing the wheel each time you create a checklist, but rather can leverage the consistency your checklist templates offer.

Checklists add accountability

You spent a good deal of time working on your SOPs. You have screenshots to match each step – they’re practically foolproof. If you put the time into explaining how to complete a task, the last thing you want is someone to skip a step. And as great as your SOPs are, they can’t prevent that on their own. Checklists add accountability to your tasks by allowing you to assign the person responsible for each step, and ensuring nothing gets skipped.

SOPs back up what’s in your checklist

Consider a checklist for onboarding a new employee. You might have several tasks that look something like this:

  • Create AD Account
  • Create core software accounts
  • Sign contract

In many cases, your SOPs will be a valuable resource in actually being able to work through and complete checklists. Perhaps you run into complications setting up the core software accounts for your new hire, or maybe somebody new is taking on this responsibility. Here you can consult your SOPs to get the knowledge you need, before clicking that check mark and carrying on to the next step in your checklist.

At IT Glue, we just released our own Checklist feature and have created quite a buzz surrounding it’s efficiency. But that’s not the only thing IT Glue can do for you. If you’re looking to find out more, why not sign up for a demo?

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