• Bent Ear Solutions

Ensure Effective Crisis Management with Comprehensive Standard Operating Procedures

Ensure Effective Crisis Management with Comprehensive Standard Operating Procedures

Align Technology and Operations to enhance your organization’s performance and efficiency

If 2020 has demonstrated anything, it’s that disasters come in many forms. From COVID-19 to social unrest, to the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season, the first on record in which nine tropical storms formed before August 1.

Every year across the U.S., local government agencies and businesses of all sizes experience crises of all kinds, both natural and man-made. And the cost is significant.

Crisis preparation cost organizations anywhere from $60,000 to $500,000, depending on the industry and range of geographies and missions they are responsible for. But don’t let the numbers fool you. The cost of not preparing can be far worse.

Effective crisis and disruption management is not a single static or series of events. It's an ongoing process that requires planning, preparation, and most importantly, strong Governance. When effectively implemented, Governance assures the organization understands priority missions, stakeholder expectations and the roles and responsibilities each person in the organization performs. In order to achieve the Goals and Objectives identified through the Governance Process, standard operating procedures (SOP’s) are developed and documented to ensure efficiency and consistency.

The Importance of Standard Operating Procedures

Standard operating procedures are step-by-step instructions compiled and documented to help carry out routine and complex operations. SOP’s are developed to achieve efficiency, quality, accountability and uniformity of performance while reducing miscommunication and failure to comply with industry regulations.


SOP’s are an essential component of highly effective organizations. Many believe that any organization or business unit without a robust procedure system is doomed to fail in today’s complex environment. Organizations that perfect their day-to-day activities are have more time to focus on being agile and responsive to the forces that affect it in a proactive way. The ability to increase agility is partially realized through efficient and effective standard operating procedures. SOPs by design, should be based on the best way of doing things within the organization, often reflecting the best practices of the industry. The purpose of SOPs is to make organizations perform better and faster, with higher quality, increased customer service, and accountability. SOPs ARE NOT the end product, nor are they designed to be so rigid to make conducting business painful. SOP’s should not be cumbersome and time consuming and must keep up with the changing organization and changes in technology.

Effective SOPs codify how things are done and memorialize what’s been done in the past to serve as tools for future events. They bring together technology and operations and develop a synergy between the two. This helps to ensure communication and alignment so technical staff knows what their stakeholders need and expect, and leadership understands what functionality is available to automate.

No matter the organization size, industry, or geography, well-defined SOPs document and empower staff to perform tasks effectively to improve meeting the mission, whether it's everyday business or responding to any incident impacting the organization.

Developing effective SOP’s require an investment of time and resources. It should follow the discovery of what's possible and should be organized, codified, shared, and updated regularly. Important first steps in developing SOP’s addressing technology to support an organizations mission include:

1. Review and validate the organizations mission and priorities

2. Identify tasks and workflows technology can support

3. Configure and optimize existing technology and acquire additional technology resources if required

4. Determine data requirements, information products required and timelines for development and distribution

5. Document SOP’s and identify roles and responsibilities

6. Develop and execute training to exercise and drive familiarity and proficiency with SOP’s

7. Review and update SOP’s every 6 to 12 months as the organization or technology changes.

With the recent impacts of Covid 19 and the need to work differently (remote operations, social distancing, virtual EOC staffing, etc.) the necessity to evaluate existing SOP’s and perhaps establish new ones is even more important. Training and exercise scenarios are essential to familiarize staff on new procedures to determine their adequacy and effectiveness.

Implementing Standard Operating Procedures

Public and private organizations often work with consultants to assist in the development of Standard Operating Procedures. Consultants that intimately understand the organizations mission and the capabilities of technology are often more effective in facilitating objective communications between technology and operations personnel.

Partners like Bent Ear Solutions (BES) help identify priority missions, the technology capabilities needed and write step by step SOP’s that align software, configurable applications, and technical support with operations. BES deploys proven methods and best practices, seasoned staff who have decades of public safety and IT experience

BES’s methodology begins with a collaborative process to answer specific questions to understand the mission, objectives, roles, and responsibilities. Specific desired outcomes are mapped to information products, data, and applications.

BES is uniquely qualified to bring together technology, operations and executive staff to create alignment and synergy though hands-on issue identification, problem-solving, and actions that increase performance and efficiency. Bent Ear understands the dynamics and pace of emergency operations as situations change and understands what information products executives and decision makers need and when they need them.

Conclusion

Every organization has a unique style of management, but structuring work in a way that is synergized across departments and team members is key to consistency, quality and sustainability. Ensured business and operational continuity, whenever an employee is absent or not present, the work of the organization cannot stop. With the help of SOP’s, others can take over and complete pending urgent tasks when needed. By implementing well designed and written SOPs others can take over important tasks. Standard Operating Procedures explain the practices of each and every department in the organization. SOPs are the procedures required in executing the operations of the organization to ensure success.

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