Work Scenario #7 – Developing SOPs

September 23, 2011 at 5:36 pm | Posted in Business Ops, Work Scenerios | Leave a comment
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Disclaimer: So that some work scenarios make more sense, I’d like to describe the organization I worked with. A mobile mental health team served severe and persistent mentally ill people in a county in Maryland. Some descriptions may seem vague or cryptic; it is to preserve the identity of clients, organization, and co-workers. Some documents are redacted via pixilation. My specific duties will always remain intact.

My team was ramped up at a new office when I was hired.  Sometimes when this happens it takes workers some time to be assimilated into the organization’s rules, needs, and even the culture.  I found a way to take advantage of the situation.  I created and developed standard operating procedures for many of my responsibilities and documents needed to keep all aspects of our office organized from office supplies to recording received checks.

Here I like to briefly present the process I used to create an SOP, especially for the handling of Social Security checks.  The entire process is described in Work Scenario #5 – Entitlement Checks.  I’m not going to go over the process here, that can be reviewed in my earlier scenario, but rather how I used my background as a programmer to write a clear, concise, specific document.

As a programmer, I already knew the benefits of creating a flowchart for projects. [see figure below] As an administrative assistant, I used those benefits in creating standard operating procedures and documents.  SOP’s helped to increase productivity.  It’s best to remember before you write your flow chart and document that the people you are writing for need to understand priorities and the impact of a deadline, that they are part of a bigger picture, and it should explain the necessity of a certain step.
Once I got through the all the steps of the entitlement check process, from request to distribution and tracking I created a document in the form of an outline.  Steps on the flowchart are extremely general and short.  On the outlines in the SOP documents they were much more detailed, yet still short.  Notes can be added at the end to clarify certain more complex points.

The last step was a short training for my team to be sure everything was clear and team members had their own copy.  I assured them that I would be available for any questions.  Usually there weren’t any questions because the drafted versions included advice from the team.  I think it cuts down on interruptions if I include all users of a document or SOP in the beginning of the process.

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