How to develop a MODEL

Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for Scheduling



By Tijo Kurien

India and Libya




An effective Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for scheduling practices shows the procedures which are accepted and actually followed for schedule development related to Owner organizations and Contractors. In this paper, the author described scheduling practices from the tender stage to Asset realization, which involves Owner organizations’ and contractors’ procedures. The SOP shows the step by step procedures to develop a schedule and its associated areas. In this paper, how the contract department deals with scheduling practices initially then how the contractors develop Performance Measurement Baseline (PMB) for the comparison of actuals progress. Subsequently, the process flow from the Owner PMO department roles to Owner Finance Department until the Asset realization and start depreciation of Asset. By following the effective SOPs, the errors in the process can reduce and improve the productivity of the organizations.

Keywords: Standard operating procedure (SOP), Scheduling, procedures


Very few people use SOPs for routine tasks. Why? This is quite an interesting question, and there are many reasons for it. Some reasons are the SOP may be written badly, the process is cumbersome, It may be difficult to locate the right procedure, it may be out of date, lack of awareness that SOP exists in the company , people may rely on their skills and experience rather than rely on SOPs, and so on. Six “Sigma studies suggest the bottom-line impact of failing to use effective SOPs can range from 15-30% of the total operational cost of the business, and expose the organization and its management to significant reputational risk, penalties (particularly safety and environmental) and the cost of lost opportunity”[1]. From facts, it is important to develop effective SOPs and ensure that the right process performers apply new SOPs in the right way.

To systemize the business documenting routine tasks and activities can be a complete nightmare. In many companies, there should not be documentation on practice to perform any task. Experts in the company can do their work without reviewing the documents and but in the case of a new employee to an industry may not know the procedures to do the work. During these cases, it is important to have step by step procedures has documented to execute the particular task with step by step information. So its works as guidelines for the performer to execute the task. Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) is a step by step procedure to execute a particular task or series of tasks. “Standard operating procedure (SOP), also called standing operating procedure, set of written guidelines or instructions for the completion of a routine task, designed to increase performance, improve efficiency, and ensure quality through systemic homogenization.”[2] “Written procedure prescribed for repetitive use as a practice, in accordance with agreed-upon specifications aimed at obtaining a desired outcome.”[3] “A Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) is a set of written instructions that document a routine or repetitive activity followed by an organization.”[4] The term was first used in the mid-20th century. Initially, an SOP used by army based publications and later on it is modified and start used for private operational purposes. An SOP is a procedure specific to an operation that describes the activities necessary to complete tasks following industry regulations, provincial laws, or even just your standards for running your business. SOP lists all the tasks essential to carried out to attain the desired result, and it also mentioned how to do these tasks and who is responsible for the tasks listed.

“SOPs are utilized in various contexts by a vast array of entities, including those in the areas of business, education, government, health care, industry, and the military. Although categorical variations are inevitable, all SOPs have in common the systematization of the individual steps performed in the implementation of a repetitive task to create an overall quality system. SOPs first identify and summarize a task, describe its purpose, and specify when and by whom it is to be performed while simultaneously defining uncommon or specialized terms and addressing potential concerns (e.g., necessary equipment or supplies, health, and safety cautions, etc.). They then describe the sequential procedures to be followed, often utilizing activity checklists and graphic illustrations (e.g., charts, tables, photographs, diagrams, etc.) to help ensure that the procedures are being performed accurately and in order.

SOPs can also provide many other benefits, such as minimizing the chance of miscommunication, affording comparability, and ensuring regulatory compliance. However, they must be periodically assessed and modified to maintain the currency, thus enabling them to improve final results further. The disadvantages of SOPs include excessive paperwork and a reduction in workplace individuality.”[5]


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How to cite this paper: Kurien, T. (2020). How to develop a MODEL Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for Scheduling; PM World Journal, Vol. IX, Issue II, February.  Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/pmwj90-Feb2020-Kurien-model-standard-operating-procedure-for-scheduling2.pdf



About the Author

Tijo Kurien

India & Libya



Tijo Kurien is a project management professional with over 14 years of experience in upstream and downstream oil and gas projects. He is currently working as a Senior Project Engineer at Waha Oil Company in Libya. He previously worked with Samsung Engineering Co. Ltd, Bilfinger Berger Germany, as Project Control Engineer in various oil and gas projects. He holds a Degree in Mechanical Engineering from MG University, Kottayam and Diploma in Mechanical Engineering from DOTE, Tamil Nadu, India. He is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) from PMI, USA. He is pursuing MSc in Project Management from University of Salford, Manchester, UK and   some other project management/project control credentials from AACE, Guild of Project Controls, and PMI under the tutorage of Dr.Paul D. Giammalvo, CDT, CCE, MScPM, MRICS, GPM-m Senior Technical Advisor, PT Mitrata Citragaha. Tijo Kurien can be contacted at tijokurien007@gmail.com .


[1] Mosaic Projects. (2012, October 22). The value of Standard Operating Procedures. Retrieved from https://mosaicprojects.com.au/WhitePapers/WP1086_Standard_Operating_Procedures.pdf

[2] Encyclopedia Britannica. (n.d.). Standard operating procedure. Retrieved from https://www.britannica.com/topic/standard-operating-procedure

[3] Business Dictionary. (n.d.). Good one to know! Retrieved from http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/standard-operating-procedure-SOP.html

[4]  US Environmental Protection Agency. (n.d.). Guidance for Preparing Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs). Retrieved from https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2015-06/documents/g6-final.pdf

[5]  Encyclopedia Britannica. (n.d.). Standard operating procedure. Retrieved from https://www.britannica.com/topic/standard-operating-procedure