the Standard Operation Procedure (SOP) game is a lean game that helps you to show the importance of SOPs.
A standard operating procedure (SOP) is a document that describes step-by-step instructions for the routine operation carried out by operators. The goal of SOPs is to generate in an efficient way a uniform output that compliance with the quality requirements.
The goal of the Standard Operation Procedure SOP game will be to throw some paper airplanes as far as possible in two rounds. In the first round, all the trainees can build their own airplanes in their own way. After a first trial, the best performing airplane is used to create a SOP. in the second round all the trainees have to build their paper airplanes according to the SOP. The airplanes are thrown again and the performance of the two rounds is compared.
- 4 to 10 persons (per group)
- A4 or letter size paper, 8 per person to create paper airplanes
- 3 for the first round
- 2 while making the SOP
- 3 for the second round
- flipchart and pens in different colors (2 or 3 colors would be good), to generate the SOP's
- A place/room where you can throw paper airplanes (hallway, outside, meeting room, ...). At least 15 meters / 50 feet is needed.
- measuring tape (5m/ 16feet or more), to measure the distance the paper airplane has traveled.
- measurement sheet (you can download the sheet here is A4 or letter format).
- If you have more then 10 people it is recommended to divide the group into smaller groups.
- Give every person 6 papers
- Set up one flip chart per group
- Give every group one measuring tape
- Define the starting point from where people will have to throw the airplane
- introduction: explain to the trainees what will happen: We will play 2 rounds where we will throw paper airplanes as far as we can. You will have to make 3 paper airplanes Per round. During each round, the trainees have to create the paper airplanes without discussing the design with each other. Explain where you will throw the airplanes (outside/inside).
- First-round airplane manufacturing: create 3 paper airplanes. All 3 airplanes have to be created in the same way. You are not allowed to try them out, you are not allowed to discuss your design with somebody else. You get 5 minutes. You can use whatever design you want (do not use the internet). The goal is that your airplane will travel as far as possible.
- First-round airplane throwing: Go to the throwing spot and let each trainee thrown one of his airplanes, repeat this with the other two remaining airplanes. Note each time the traveled distance on the measurement sheet. After everyone has thrown his 3 airplanes count up the 3 different throws and see who has the biggest total. the design of this person will be used to generate an SOP. Count up also all the persons total to get a grant total of round 1. We will use this, later on, to compare it with round 2.
- Create an SOP: Divide each group into two parts. the half in which the person with the chosen design is part of creates an SOP on the flipchart. They get 10 minutes for this. The SOP has to describe step by step how to create the airplane with the chosen design. The second half will have to be able to create the airplane using only the SOP. No communication with the other part of the group will be allowed.
- Test and improve the SOP: the second half of the group gets 10 minutes to create the airplane and write down what is good and what not.
- Improve the SOP: the group sits back together and discuss the findings. Improve the SOP on the flipchart.
- Second round - airplane manufacturing: Everybody creates again 3 airplanes. this time following the design from the SOP.
- Second round - airplane throwing: Go to the throwing spot and let each trainee thrown one of his airplanes, repeat this with the other two remaining airplanes. Note each time the traveled distance on the measurement sheet. After everyone has thrown his 3 airplanes count up the 3 different throws and see who has the biggest total. the design of this person will be used to generate an SOP. Count up all the persons total to get a grant total of round 2.
- Summary: Have a look at the grant total of round 1 and round 2. Hopefully, the grant total of round 2 is bigger. Discus shortly why and write down your conclusions (10 minutes).
I will not go into detail here on how to make an SOP. But while creating and discussing the SOP, they will learn that creating an SOP is not as simple as it looks. Some of the points that can be discussed are text vs image, level of detail needed, way of reviewing/training, adding additional information (e.g. reason why, safety), ...
the grand total of round 2 should be bigger than the grand total of round 1. Indicating that an SOP helps to increase the output and give a higher guarantee on quality.
If this game is a part of a six sigma course then you could use hypothesis testing to let them compare the results from round 1 and round 2. If you are teaching on sampling and/or pilot it would be great if you let them decide how many aircraft have to build and in which order they have to be throw.