Part 4: Time to Effectiveness in Text Based SOPs

By Dee Carri, Wednesday, 23rd April 2014 | 1 comments
Filed under: Process Thinking, Business Process Management, SOPs, Work Instructions, TPSoP®.

How Much Do You Love Your SOPs Part 4: Time to Effectiveness

By Dee Carri

Read the introduction to our 'How Much Do You Love Your SOPs' blog series here >

Comments from the frontline:

“Our quality management system is critical to our business, but it creates a huge burden for employees. New hires need to read hundreds of procedures, employees find it difficult to understand the bigger picture, it is impossible to remember all the content and it takes a long time before employees can effectively perform their job.”
- IT Director, Pharmaceutical Company


“I wouldn’t like to be tested on my knowledge of my SOPs, particularly the ones I use infrequently”
- Associate QA Director, Chemical Company.


“It is not possible to get an overview of the end-to-end process or understand where my role fits in.”
- Production Supervisor, Pharmaceutical Company.


“I had a niggling suspicion that staff were not following SOPs properly. This was born out by a review that indicated we have lots of errors in SOPs but also that everyone is suffering from information overload. We have to innovate and find new and more effective ways to help people learn and maintain their knowledge levels”
- VP Global Quality, automobile manufacturer.


Process-based Training

Whether you are orchestrating a clinical trial with a geographically dispersed multi-lingual group, rolling out a new IT System, implementing a new process, or training a new employee, process-based training is proven to be better, cheaper and faster.



End-to-end overviews are available as standard, providing Users with an understanding of their individual contribution to the business. Similarly, interdependencies between processes (and roles) are visible and navigable, enabling a deeper and wider understanding of where, and how, processes interact.

Top down integrity is designed into each process level and defects are eliminated, increasing User trust in the procedures.

Roles are defined for all activities and training is role-based, so it is easy for Users to find their own role and there is no dilution of responsibility.

Visual, step-by-step instructions make processes easy to follow, together with attention activators if required (warning signs, colours, and graphics).

Additional information is accessible from within the process, e.g. IT applications, checklists, forms, videos, drawings etc.

Training is continually verified and refreshed as Users step through processes each time they execute them.

Feedback loops for Users supports continual improvement and the “Learning Organisation”. In a paper entitled 'Teaching Smart People How to Learn', Chris Argyris refers to 'Single Loop' and 'Double Loop' learning. He uses the analogy of a thermostat; each time the temperature drops below 68 degrees, the heat turns on – this is a single loop. In Double Loop learning, the thermostat would question why it was set to that temperature and whether or not a different temperature might more economically achieve the goal. Process-based training allows this to be built in facilitating better learning, but also creating greater room for innovation and change at any level of an organisation as a result.

Paper is eliminated. For example, an eighteen page document that describes how to write an SOP becomes a one-page virtual diagram.

It is possible to provide feedback to those responsible for executing processes by adding the real-time measures or Key Performance Indicators to process diagrams, improving User awareness of the status and the need to “do it right” every time.

It is possible to track and report the consumption and use of role-based training, informing deviation / human error root cause analysis.



Because process-based training capitalises on the initial investment made when developing accurate processes, process-based training is less expensive to develop, implement and maintain.

For example, an ERP systems implementation project that takes a process-based approach to training will spend 42% less than they would if they follow a more traditional training development and implementation approach.



Users learn faster with a process-based approach. A recent study of process-based training indicated time to effectiveness improvements are available in a range of 67% to 86%. This is particularly important for organisations that need to train or perform knowledge transfer fast e.g. those implementing new facilities, those in growth mode who are inducting new employees, those involved in the rollout of clinical trial processes.



Process-based training is better, cheaper and faster.

It addresses the human error categories of learning gaps, memory gaps ad poor procedure;

It reduces training development and implementation by more than 40%;

And, it improves time to effectiveness in a range of 67% to 86%.


In the next blog in our SOP series, we'll focus on the topic of “Compliance Infrastructure." And if you missed the introduction, you can find it here >
In the meantime, we invite you to provide feedback, comments and your experience in the comments section below.


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