How To Write a Service Level Agreement The Right Way

Believe it or not, there are actually two ways to go about writing a service level agreement: the right way, and the wrong way. Let us examine what bad habits we should avoid when writing a service level agreement:

1. Using wordy language and statements. This is a common fault of many people who think that, when they become wordy in writing a service level agreement, they are being impressive and authoritative. Actually, what they are actually doing is making the language of the document more complicated and difficult to understand (in fact, they might even have trouble understanding a service level agreement that they personally drafted.) The danger with wordiness is that either party (or perhaps both the client and the service provider) might get confused or offended and misunderstandings result. 2. Using a confusing layout or design. There is a reason why service level agreement templates were created: they are supposed to simplify the process of drafting and writing service level agreements for the end-user. If you do not know how to go about drafting a presentable service level agreement, your best bet would be to use a service level agreement template that others in your organization or industry have used before successfully. Using a service level agreement will help you come up with a service level agreement document that not only looks good but will also have all the elements of an effective and valid service level agreement. 3. Leaving out important stipulations and information. Some people would really like to make the process of creating a service level agreement simpler, which is good actually. But problems will definitely arise if you simplify the document to the point that very important clauses are left out of the final version for approval. Many stipulations and pertinent information need to be included in the document because, in the final analysis, a service level agreement is a legal document that should be agreed upon by both the client and the service provider. If one or the other finds that the clauses that he preferred to see in the document are missing, it is possible your deal will fall through, simply because the document you came up with is unacceptable to the other party. 4. Not letting the service level agreement be examined by authorized authorities or decision-makers. You would be surprised how many employees actually do this, which basically amounts to bypassing critical decision-makers and taking responsibility for the final version of the service level agreement yourself. There is a reason why hierarchies of authority exist in organizations: these hierarchies are usually occupied by people who have a level of competence for their position. So never bypass a decision-maker because he or she might have vital inputs that are necessary to make your service level agreement authoritative and comprehensive (not to mention legally-binding.) 5. Not creating enough copies of the document. This is related to #4 but slightly different in that the service level agreement may pass all other requirements but is not disseminated to the right people in the organization. Communication is the lifeblood of all organizations, and creating adequate copies of the document for dissemination to those concerned is a must so that everyone knows just what is required of them, in relation to that contract.