Archive for the ‘The we know best department’ Category

How do I develop my organization’s management system?

August 5, 2013

As Quality Manager recognize that your organization already operates according to its management system. Recognize that quality is primarily the responsibility of the people doing the value adding work. Also recognize that an individual’s performance is largely determined by the system in which that individual works.

Understand the organization as a system. Define the scope of the system. Assess its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Determine system objectives. Analyze what the organization does with its suppliers and customers to turn customer needs into cash in the bank. Determine the cross-functional key processes from the core process and as necessary to sustain and direct the core process. Assign and brief the process owners.

Analyze or design the key processes and their interactions. Obtain feedback (reality check or feasibility check) from the process teams. Incorporate feedback in the process descriptions (procedures). Correct minor nonconformities within two weeks (and issue corrective action requests for any remaining nonconformity). Train process teams in their new processes and in any new controls for existing processes.

Train leaders to run the management system awareness sessions so employees can see they are committed to requirements coming from customers, regulators and their management system. Have them promise management system performance reports.

Facilitate improvements of the system, its processes and products. Audit the management system for how well it helps employees to determine and meet requirements. Facilitate reviews of management system performance with top management so they initiate the changes necessary for their management system to improve the organization’s efficiency and effectiveness.

Monitor top management’s engagement of employees in the use and improvement of their process-based management system to fulfill the organization’s purpose or mission.

Who is responsible for quality?

June 17, 2012

The top manager is responsible for quality. He or she cannot effectively delegate this responsibility. Quality (good and bad) is the result of the organization working as a system.

The organizational management system exists to help the organization’s employees (and suppliers) to determine and fulfill requirements in creating more successful customers.

Some of the leader’s authority can be delegated to a competent manager who reports direct to them. This person can then:

– Ensure the processes necessary to fulfill requirements are in place

– Respond to suggested improvements to the system

– Ensure the system makes the team aware of customer requirements

– Facilitate actions to improve the system

– Run the internal audit programme to fulfill top management’s objectives

– Recommend system improvements to the leaders

– Report on the performance of the organizational management system

Making this person report to someone other than the top manager may remove the strategic focus on emerging and future customer needs.

Process improvement remains the primary responsibility of each process owner (or their boss). These process level improvements would be coordinated via this person who, instead of being called VP Quality, is the VP Management System.

Without this person the top manager has to do all this herself or himself.

This approach enables all of us to remain responsible for the quality of our work.

Reasons ISO 9001 projects fail or succeed

September 26, 2011

Big Q thinking says everything the organization does is for quality. Organizational thinking in this way can result in highly successful holistic system development projects. Some organizations, though, are stuck in little-q thinking, perhaps kept in that state of mind by their dying QC department.

Since 1986 here are four reasons we have observed for organizations failing to obtain the full benefits of ISO 9001:

1. The leaders are not willing volunteers in developing their system.
2. The leaders ignore the system that actually is their organization.
3. The leaders delegate implementation of procedures written around ISO 9001 instead.
4. The quality professionals do not include the financial processes in the management system.

The key to developing a process-based management system is to go with the flow of work in the organization.

Embark on a voyage of discovery rather than implementing a standard:

A. Discover what the organization already does to determine customer requirements (and get paid for meeting them).
B. Discover what the organization already does to fulfill these and other requirements.
C. Discover the processes in the management system (and determine any new ones needed by the management system).
D. Discover what is done in each process to prevent nonconformity instead of how nonconformity is detected.

Telling an individual to implement ISO 9001 is not a good idea. The system development project needs a cross-functional team that is able to analyze its system, determine its key processes and analyze each of those key processes and their interactions.

Just a few of the management system’s processes need to be newly designed and implemented after training of the process team.

Respect the system that is the organization otherwise the system development project will fail. One way to do this is to use the “as-is rule”. Document the process lightly as it is not as you would like it to be. Then, by using and improving the management system it will cause any needed improvements and grow the detail where needed.

What if the process is so bad it does not conform to the standard? Well then, use the two-week rule: record the nonconformity and say “you have a fortnight to correct the process then we will re-document the improved process as it is”. If too difficult to correct in two weeks then feed the nonconformity into an early corrective action using the newly developed management system.

A summary of common mistakes:

i) Leaders not showing their commitment to requirements.
ii) Putting the documented procedure ahead of the process.
iii) Ignoring the system that is the organization.
iv) Implementing ISO 9001 instead of developing the organization’s existing management system.

The system should help people to determine and meet requirements including the requirement for continual improvement. The procedures should be owned by the people not the “we know best department”. That way QA is delivered as a result of everyone using their management system to fulfill requirements.

Learn how to do this for yourselves here.

A Quality Manager asks for managers who will listen

February 1, 2011

Replacing the leaders, managers and quality manager with people who have the preferred attributes or personality traits suggests they are all incompetent!

We are unlikely to solve the problem of managers not wanting to help the quality manager by replacing everyone.

Perhaps the message is wrong.

Too many leaders of the “we know best department” alienate other fellow managers instead of being seen as person providing the really useful management system.

I am talking about the system that actually runs the organization not the quality system documented to obtain certification.

Too many quality managers by their words and deeds take the responsibility for quality away from their colleagues. Everyone then thinks the quality manager is responsible for quality!

Change the message so everyone appreciates the role of the quality manager is to advise on how best to optimize the organization as a system delivering quality.

The management system is designed and run to help everyone to determine and fulfill requirements. The management system then enables its users to add value faster and prevent loss sooner while providing confidence to leaders, managers and customers that requirements will be fulfilled.

Failures to prevent nonconformity are blamed not on the employees but on the system so it is optimized by repeated cycles of corrective action.

The quality or system manager can achieve more success initially if she or he stops talking about quality and talks about requirements instead.

Perhaps the unifying message for the leader is:

“We work together to create more successful customers by converting their needs into cash in the bank without delay. We invest some of the cash and our time to better understand and optimize our organization as a system. If our system is not helping you and your colleagues to achieve this then please bring the problem to our System Manager”.

Please note the universal nature of quality when it is translated into the language of system and requirements.

What manager can argue with the need to use and optimize their system to understand customer needs, design services to fulfill those needs, maintain standards, eliminate waste and use money efficiently to fulfill those needs?

Everyone sharing the same understanding and enthusiam for quality (as our favorite company) may follow as the organization matures.