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Formatting Procedures, Task Lists, Work Instructions?

Discussion in 'ISO 9001:2015 - Quality Management Systems' started by AdenaBurnette, Mar 29, 2016.

  1. AdenaBurnette

    AdenaBurnette Member

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    I am curious about what the recommendation is when it comes to formatting procedures, task lists, and work instructions. I have created a procedure template in Microsoft Word which I believe will be easy for all authors to follow, but I guess my real question liest within task lists and work instructions. Depending on the job needing done, I can see how Excel spreadsheets, Word bulleted lists, or even Power Point slides could be the best way to structure a task list or work instruction. Should I create a template for each of these formats or should we try to stick to one program/format?
     
  2. Andy Nichols

    Andy Nichols Moderator Staff Member

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    What are you trying to achieve with these formats/templates, Adena? Most formats or templates I've seen are a monster which no-one wants to feed. They become a burden and have no use for the people who use the documents, but often provide some "picture" which looks like someone knows about document control. I've yet to see a template which gives the user what they need, without wading through a lot of "formatting" which simply delays the use of what could be a useful document to read...
     
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  3. Candi1024

    Candi1024 Well-Known Member

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    I like to keep templates simple with reminders of things that should be considered, but not necessarily included if not needed.

    Things like Author, title, date, revision history, scope/purpose, tools, plan, results, ect.
     
  4. AdenaBurnette

    AdenaBurnette Member

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    I guess what I am trying to achieve is just something that has some structure to it, so procedures/tasklists aren't just completed however anyone wants w/out the necessary elements (purpose, scope, procedure, revision record). I figured if I had something that I could give employees to use as a format then we'd be on a similar page when we were done documenting our procedures and task lists. I think it helps to provide this structure and then gives users a good sense of where something will be found in a document.

    What would be your suggestion, if not utilizing a template, to get different departments to create procedures/task lists around the same format?
     
  5. AdenaBurnette

    AdenaBurnette Member

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    Yes, I think this is a good suggestion as well. I plan to do the same. I think it helps to educate procedure authors who may not necessarily know what a given section is for. For example, the Purpose section of our procedures should explain WHY the procedure exists, not how or what the procedure is. Secondly, I don't want it to be something that becomes a blanket generic statement on every procedure because what value does that really add?
     
  6. PaulJSmith

    PaulJSmith Well-Known Member

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    I'm going to somewhat agree with Andy. While I understand the appeal of document templates, I've also seen the beast they can become.

    If you are going to go that route, it's best to get input from the end users on what will be most useful for them, rather than just dictating to them what must be used.
     
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  7. pkfraser

    pkfraser Member

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    Agree with most of your list - but how about... what has to be done, by whom, what risks should you consider, what documents do you need...? A standard format is far easier for anyone to pick up and navigate. That is why narrative procedures, or Visio-style diagrams, can be a lottery unless you can impose a simple, clear format.

    Say as little as possible to get the message across, and make sure that the people who refer to the documents are competent.
     
  8. Andy Nichols

    Andy Nichols Moderator Staff Member

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    Give them an example of a simple format and educate the (few) authors on content and, where needed, get them to provide/own the content and one person do the formatting. Here's what my past 25 years tells me out document templates:

    • They give an "official" look to documents - not a winning reason.
    • They add lots of content which isn't useful - who needs to have "definitions", really?
    • They force a format on people which isn't actually required to use the document - take a look at the user manuals you get with a toaster and similar home appliances - once you get past the safety warnings (because people are stupid and lawyers like that) they have NONE of the typical QMS format headings and yet, as if by magic, people can actually follow them, without training, too!
    • They delay people getting to the bit that actually IS useful - once they've waded past "purpose", scope", "definitions", "responsibilities", "ISO references" (and there's some I've missed here) they have been cured of their insomnia...
    If it makes you "feel good" doing it, be very worried... (I'm teasing)
     
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  9. Andy Nichols

    Andy Nichols Moderator Staff Member

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    If the written document starts: "This is our process for XXX" isn't that enough? Why are we forcing people to use "headings"?
     
  10. tony s

    tony s Well-Known Member

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    Should I document a procedure, I'd see to it that the "purpose" statement is consistent with the "planned results" or "expected outputs" of the process. For example, a purchasing procedure purpose statement will have something like this: "This procedure defines the activities and controls to ensure that products/services/materials are purchased within our specifications, timely and cost effectively." Once the objectives are clear, the details of the procedure (i.e. planned activities) should ensure that controls are stipulated to support the fulfillment of the "planned results". This can also provide a clear reference for determining the "effectiveness" of the process.
     

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