Archive for March, 2010

Some systems are overly dependent on auditors

March 12, 2010

The management system should be helping its users to do good work. System auditors evaluate evidence and report how well the system is fulfilling its objectives (effectiveness) and other audit criteria.

Auditor questions and the ensuing discussions quite often enable the auditees to determine where the system needs to be improved before the auditor has to declare the ineffectiveness or other nonconformity.

Improvements should first flow from planning and monitoring by operators, their supervisors and managers. Auditors, therefore are at least the fourth entity to look at process effectiveness and perhaps among the first (behind the project manager?) to bring a system view to the project and its processes.

In a mature system no more that 20% of the improvement actions should come from audit.

Systems that depend on their auditors for improvement are dysfunctional. Trouble is too many auditors just issue the oft too common OFI (opportunity for improvement) and do not investigate the reasons for the users not being informed by their system of the need to improve their system. Instead, the system weakness (failure to inform its users of needed improvements) remains in the system.

How do auditors avoid propping up a weak system that depends on them?