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> From: Tim Altom[SMTP:taltom -at- simplywritten -dot- com]
> We recommend PDFs to our ISO 9000 clients for precisely that reason,
> nobody can futz with them, and thereby endanger the document control. We
> always recommend that comments be gathered separately, never in the
> electronic copy. That way, they stay pristine, yet comments can be
> incorporated by the "doc cop". It irritates engineers, of course, because
> anything that interferes with the immediate task irritates them, but the
> needs of the company should come first. Or, to be precise, the preferences
> of the ISO auditor must come first if the certificate is to be retained.
Here is a classic example of a formal process interfering with the needs of
the people who use the information and do the work. In addition to many
other things I've done in my working life, I've worked in organizations that
got themselves certified as ISO 9000 (or any of the 9000 series) compliant.
Almost without exception they created unnecessarily convoluted "processes"
that served more to interfere with information flow than to facilitate it.
You CAN have a process that both allows the "bean counters" to have plenty
of beans to count AND allows users access to the documentation they need
when they need it. ISO 9000 was never intended and should not be used to
create processes that impede the flow of work and information.
If you're more concerned with document control than with information flow
and utility, you make people like me work all the harder to subvert the very
processes you are trying to protect. Wise up and work WITH your user base
rather than throwing roadblocks in their path. Maybe then they would start
cooperating with you in developing the information.