Re: Total Quality Leadership and Writing

Subject: Re: Total Quality Leadership and Writing
From: Chris Goolsby <goolsby -at- DG-RTP -dot- DG -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 22 Oct 1993 13:04:09 -0400

> From: Linda Wolf <tscom010 -at- DUNX1 -dot- OCS -dot- DREXEL -dot- EDU>
> Subject: Total Quality Leadership and Writing

> I am curious about how the total quality leadership movement sweeping the
> corporate world affects technical and science writers. Does anyone out
> there:

> 1) Have personal experiences they can share?
> or
> 2) Know of any references on this subject?

> Thanks
> *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*
> Linda Wolf
> Drexel University

My company has been working on getting ISO9001 registration for
our facility for the past year or so. We have already had the
pre-audit and will have the real audit in December. For those
who don't know, ISO is the International Standards Organization
(or something like that). ISO has a set of quality standards
that companies can try to meet to be declared ISO registered.
Note that I'm not directly involved with the ISO effort here,
so some of my facts may be off. . . .

We are an R&D facility, so we are going for ISO9001 registration.
Other types of facilities, such as manufacturing, have other
standards -- I think the one for manufacturing is ISO9000. What
the standard basically involves is developing a set of procedures
that documents every task that the employees in your company do.

In the documentation group, we developed five procedures including
producing or revising a manual, developing on-line documentation,
archiving, problem resolution, and so forth. After you have all of
these procedures in place, an independent auditing company will
come and check to make sure that the company both has properly and
completely documented it procedures and is adhering to those
procedures. The audit is kind of like a job interview. The auditor
interviews selected employees to make sure the procedures are being
followed. They require documentation of compliance with the
procedures. After a facility is ISO registered, the auditors come
back periodically to make sure the place is still following their

Now as to my opinion. I can't really say that preparing for the
ISO audit has improved the "quality" of the work we do. It has forced
some of the software development groups to actually produce functional
specs and other documentation, so that has helped our documentation
effort. In general, we have viewed the ISO stuff as just meeting
generator and hoop to leap through at work. However, ISO registration
is becoming an important requirement for a lot of sales these days,
especially in Europe. In short, we haven't learned much about quality,
but we've gotten pretty good at jumping through ISO hoops. Not the
same thing, really. . . .

goolsby -at- dg-rtp -dot- dg -dot- com

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