RE: ISO-9000 certification

Subject: RE: ISO-9000 certification
From: "Jane Carnall" <jane -dot- carnall -at- digitalbridges -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 6 Aug 2002 16:27:14 +0100

<ISO 9000 is only useful if the procedures documented and followed are the
actual procedures in use. Unfortunately many document ideal procedures and
continue following the same awful work process as before.>

I've worked for two ISO 9000 certified companies, for one company that had
consciously rejected ISO 9000, and for two companies that weren't likely
ever to get certified.

Delia Smith writes perfect recipes. If you follow her directions EXACTLY,
you will produce a perfect product, every time. Delia is an ISO 9000 chef.

I find this incredibly boring, and don't cook like that. Recipes irritate
me - when I have to follow the directions, I memorise what I'm doing and the
reason for it, so that when I make the dish again, I *won't* need to follow
an exact process: just do it from my head, making variations where
variations are possible. I'm not an ISO 9000 cook. But if I cooked for a
living, I would have to be.

Everyone has processes. The point of ISO 9000 is to write those processes
down so that everyone can follow the SAME process. If there's only one of
you, this matters less, but even a sole technical writer with an excellent
memory and high standards needs SOME processes written down, or their
successor will have a terrible time trying to figure out what was happening.

ISO 9000, if misused, is a crock. If used rightly, it's a useful tool.
IM(limited)E, what makes ISO 9000 misused is when it's NOT being treated as
a useful tool, but as a marketing thingie: when management is imposing ISO
9000 without themselves fully understanding what a useful tool it CAN be
when rightly used, and when the staff aren't cooperating because they don't
see it as acquiring a useful tool but as a timewaster for marcom imposed by
managerial fiat.

In order for ISO 9000 to succeed, ALL employees involved have got to be
accurate and knowledgable about the processes they use, and have got to be
allowed to have their say about CHANGING the processes as required - it may
be that the newest technical writer in the corner has figured out a faster
and more efficient way to do Process B, and is going to be justifiably
irriated and recalcitrant if told that they have to do it "the ISO way" even
if their way is better, because there's no time to make changes now or ever.

Equally, management have got to budget time (stitch to the Average Hours
thread) to let the employees document the processes and to allow the
processes to be changed as necessary or if an improved method is worked out.

Incidentally, the company I worked for that (IMO) turned ISO 9000 into a
complete crock went bankrupt a couple of months ago. Tra-la-la.

Jane Carnall
Delia says: freeze leftover wine as ice-cubes to make stock.
Real women say: what leftover wine?
Apologies for the long additional sig: it is added automatically and outwith
my control. Home: hj -dot- carnall -at- virgin -dot- net


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ISO-9000 certification: From: eric . dunn

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