SOP’s aren’t for SAPS (Why you need SOPs and what they are) part 2

In part 1, of my SOP blog post, I described why you need to use SOP’s (SOP’s aren’t for SAPS (Part 1))  and now I will describe what has to be in an SOP and what needs to be documented by an SOP.

An SOP is a living document that describes any process and/or assay. It is a document that
covers anything where standardization is involved.

So, what needs to be in SOP? Think of the SOP as a pedantic, step by step description of your process.  Every little step, detail, manipulation, etc. If you, in a step, stand on one foot and bay at the Moon for 5 minutes, well then that has to be included. Leaving out any step or detail, no matter how trivial, will result in others not being able to exactly reproduce results from your SOP. This is important since an SOP is your document which all employees will refer to.

It can be a daunting task, writing down every step you did in an assay, a fermentation process, or even writing for an SOP, and for most, that is what makes SOP’s such a daunting document. But, once it is written, you have a document that everyone can use and can be trained with. It is basically a little pain at the beginning for a big reward later.

David Slomczynski, Ph.D; Geometrick Enterprises

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One thought on “SOP’s aren’t for SAPS (Why you need SOPs and what they are) part 2

  1. I agree SOPs need to be sufficiently detailed for different personnel to produce the same result. However, there are a couple cautions I would add, especially when working in an accredited laboratory environment. First, ranges should be used instead of exact values unless the exact value is critical. Even though you may howl at the moon for exactly 5 minutes, if howling for 3-8 minutes produces the same result, specifying the range reduces non-conformences and helps emphasize precise values when needed. The second caution is to avoid to much detail on a process that has several equivalent options. For example say “Open the file”. Do specify right click on file and select open from the drop down box since there several ways to accomplish the same operations and one can again leave yourself open to unnecessary non-conformances.

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