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How to enforce my colleagues to update SOPs?

How to enforce my colleagues to update SOPs? as they ignore my and my Manager e-mail and the top management somehow didn't show support!

Sidney Vianna

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How to enforce my colleagues to update SOPs? as they ignore my and my Manager e-mail and the top management somehow didn't show support!
Hello SelimStan, I noticed that you registered here 4 years ago and just posted your first question. Congrats on making the jump.

As for your question, we obviously have to make some assumptions, as you have not provided a lot of background information and context concerning the situation.

I suspect that your colleagues don't think it is very important to have up to date SOP's. Why? Hard to tell, but it might be the case they think the SOP's are an unnecessary burden. Many organizations develop and maintain non value added documents. In an attempt to demystify the excessive focus on documentation, the ISO TC 176 has been reducing the emphasis on mandatory documents, for the last 20 years, and, at this stage, the number of minimum mandatory documents from ISO 9001 is very small.

Maybe your colleagues don't have the time to perform the function of updating the SOP's.

Let's remember what SOP's do, in the context of a quality system: they provide the definition of the process/activity to be performed and they capture organizational knowledge as well.

If we were to assume that the SOP's add value to the organization, then, as Andy mentioned, top management should be educated in the perils and risks of allowing for outdated SOP's to exist. If and when top management buys into the idea of process focus, organizational knowledge being captured and managed, etc... they will see the importance of current practices being documented and provide support and resources for process owners to update their respective SOP's. Until that happens, your nagging of colleagues will be perceived as whining and be either ignored or pushed back.

Until the leadership of an organization sees and understands a quality system as an asset, rather than a hindrance, it is impossible for co-workers to force any "external discipline" on to others. Until leadership sees the light, quality and doc control are annoying people for the rest of the company.

Good luck.


Super Moderator
Hi SelimStan,

Like with any other NC that merits corrective action, try to find out the root cause.

I’d start with some questions:

  1. Which documents are not being updated? All? Certain processes only?
  2. Even if not updated, Are documents being used for consultation at all? If so, how are differences between worker’s knowledge and documents resolved? Else, why are docs not being consulted? And were the docs ever frequently consulted in the past?
  3. If docs are not consulted, how’s the system producing quality?

In my experience, docs are used 10 to 20 times more for consultation than for editing (read “update” or “improvement”). At the very least, documents should be consulted by new employees and during training. If docs are not consulted, or if they are, but they are then “hand corrected” during training, then there may be accessibility issues. Are the docs available at points of use? If they are, are folks that spot an outdated doc able to update it? Are they expected to do so?

Many accessibility issues are inherent to the implementation of the document control system. Paper-based and shared-folder-based systems are obsolete these days for this reason, and it is misguided to try to maintain such systems when much better software is available. I’d recommend a wiki or dedicated qms software.

I think you have a great opportunity. Effective action to eradicate this NC will no doubt be a great improvement for your organization.
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