How detailed do Procedures and Flowcharts need to be

U

unueco

#1
HELP!!

How specific and detailed does a procedure and accompanying flowchart/swimchart need to be??

I am working on developing a set of documentation for anticipated ISO9001:2008 certification and am getting a lot of flake from management criticizing lack of specif details in my procedures and flowcharts.

Specific example:
6.2.2 -- not including details about educational planning and the establishment of a training budget
7.5.3 -- lacking details about the forms that will be completed when raw material arrives at the warehouse notifying QA of need for inspection and not including information about the IQC and resulting output forms.

Admittedly, its been a while since I last worked on an ISO certification project, but has the philosophical mindset changed that radically? Used to be the philosophy was KISS. Now I feel as if I'm being pushed to develop a TS16949 system under the guise of ISO.

Have auditors gotten more strict?

Advice and guidance greatly appreciated!
 
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Peter Fraser

Trusted Information Resource
#2
Re: HELP: Procedures/Flowcharts How detailed to they need to be???

You do not necessarily need a "procedure" AND a swimlane flowchart - a good deployment flowchart that describes a process (esp if it uses RACI to define role involvements) can be far clearer (and more concise) than narrative. If they are published electronically, they can also link to supporting forms and instructions (ref 7.5.3)

The competence of the intended reader should determine the level of detail - does it give enough information and direction for a new start either to follow the process OR to know that they need to ask for advice?

It is up to the organisation to decide the level of detail required when you define your processes - say as little as possible to get the message across clearly and safely.
 
T

TigerLilie

#3
Re: HELP: Procedures/Flowcharts How detailed to they need to be???

Level of detail is usually a judgment call. I find if you include excessive detail, it puts people in a box and makes keeping the procedure updated more challenging. In your second example, I would just reference the form in the procedure like this, " Form XXX must be completed when raw material arrives at the warehouse to notify QA of need for inspection. If there is a discrepancy, Form XXX must be completed and submitted to...."
 

Peter Fraser

Trusted Information Resource
#4
Re: HELP: Procedures/Flowcharts How detailed to they need to be???

In your second example, I would just reference the form in the procedure like this, " Form XXX must be completed when raw material arrives at the warehouse to notify QA of need for inspection. If there is a discrepancy, Form XXX must be completed and submitted to...."
Agreed, other than that I would say:

"Complete Form XXX when raw material arrives at the warehouse to notify QA of need for inspection. If there is a discrepancy, complete Form XXX and submit to...."

Active verbs work best!
 
R

Richard W

#5
Re: HELP: Procedures/Flowcharts How detailed to they need to be???

I've done a load today and I always think "how do I make this a useful document"

Adding loads of details to impress people with how much you know is not always useful

As long as when you read it back it makes perfect sense and someone else could follow it and understand that's is ok.

Often a simple use or words is best
 

Golfman25

Trusted Information Resource
#6
Re: HELP: Procedures/Flowcharts How detailed to they need to be???

The answer is as little as possible but as much as necessary.
 
#7
Re: HELP: Procedures/Flowcharts How detailed to they need to be???

HELP!!

How specific and detailed does a procedure and accompanying flowchart/swimchart need to be??

I am working on developing a set of documentation for anticipated ISO9001:2008 certification and am getting a lot of flake from management criticizing lack of specif details in my procedures and flowcharts.
This is the root of your problem, right here! When anyone states "I am working on documentation..." and then there's push back from others, you are creating a problem for yourself. It's NOT what anyone here thinks your instructions should have in terms of details/active verbs etc. You are, in effect, creating a monster and YOU will have to feed it later. The trick is NOT to create anyone else's documentation, but to facilitate the creation by helping them - that way, with you help, they will describe whatever details they feel is appropriate...
 

John Broomfield

Staff member
Super Moderator
#8
Re: HELP: Procedures/Flowcharts How detailed to they need to be???

HELP!!

How specific and detailed does a procedure and accompanying flowchart/swimchart need to be??

I am working on developing a set of documentation for anticipated ISO9001:2008 certification and am getting a lot of flake from management criticizing lack of specif details in my procedures and flowcharts.

Specific example:
6.2.2 -- not including details about educational planning and the establishment of a training budget
7.5.3 -- lacking details about the forms that will be completed when raw material arrives at the warehouse notifying QA of need for inspection and not including information about the IQC and resulting output forms.

Admittedly, its been a while since I last worked on an ISO certification project, but has the philosophical mindset changed that radically? Used to be the philosophy was KISS. Now I feel as if I'm being pushed to develop a TS16949 system under the guise of ISO.

Have auditors gotten more strict?

Advice and guidance greatly appreciated!
unueco,

Work with your process owner not with a copy of ISO 9001.

The process owner knows how detailed the procedures need to be for competent people to fulfill the process objective (see 4.1c and 4.2.1d). Flowchart the what, why, who, where and when.

Describe the how only where strictly necessary either in a separate note, cue sheet, video clip, image or textual doc as preferred by the users. Indeed, these "how to" documents usually already exist in testimony to their value.

Remember, your employees are made competent mostly by your organization's recruiting and training/coaching processes not by reading procedures.

Do not write anything to keep your auditors happy. They are looking for your evidence of effectiveness. Your process owner can advise you on this too.

Respect the undocumented procedures and show the interactions between processes.

Do this and you'll develop the process-based management system that actually runs the business. And it will meet the requirements specified by ISO 9001.

This approach is more natural for users than you flowcharting and writing procedures from clauses in ISO 9001 and imposing these "works of fiction" on your colleagues.

John
 

Eredhel

Quality Manager
#9
Re: HELP: Procedures/Flowcharts How detailed to they need to be???

I have recently gone through this. I went to our receiving person and asked him if he would write down everything that needs to be done. I took his notes, made some adjustments, and called that our "Receiving Procedures and Training Form".

It also helps because it gets others involved and then they will take ownership, plus it gets great feedback. That's how I'm approaching every department as we make our training docs.
 
U

unueco

#10
Re: HELP: Procedures/Flowcharts How detailed to they need to be???

Firstly, a big THANK YOU to all who have replied.:thanks:

Seems I neglected to click something when I posted my original message. I have not been getting email notifications that any replies had been posted. Just came back to check and found there had been many. Thank you!!

Secondly, I **HEARTILY AGREE** with the advice given. Especially things like:

Work with your process owner not with a copy of ISO 9001.
...and...

The trick is NOT to create anyone else's documentation, but to facilitate the creation by helping them
This was my initial approach!

I am beginning to realize just how "cultural" the concept of quality is.

I am working for a foreign owned - Chinese managed company. We are highly distributed and international both in our location and workforce. I as an American currently work under a Chinese GM. Whereas my outlook and initial "cut" at this project was very much along the lines of what has been suggested, his response was very unfavorable. The attitude expressed was basically (though not specifically) "I thought you were the QA/ISO expert. You should either write the procedures for the people or give them copies of the procedures you wrote for other people so they can copy and make modifications." Its been a hassle and tussle ever since. Each updated plan I present is shot down for "lack of detail".:argue:

Well, at least now I feel more confident that the problem is not my lack of knowledge in the basic principles of Quality System Development -- or that there has been some shift in way audits are conducted since I last did this.

Now its just a question of how to get thru/overcome a cultural barrier.
 
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