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Implementing ISO 9001 - Getting whole team buy-in?

C

CATERAF

#1
Hi,

I have a question about the implementation of ISO 9001 and how to get people to be 'on-board'.

We have several company members who 'can't wait to get started' and see ISO 9001 as beneficial and useful. However, we have a few others (mainly software) who are very resistant for a number of reasons, the most of which is they feel that they're going to be spending too much time documenting and not enough time producing products (software and hardware). We are a small company of ~15 people and they think ISO 9001 can be achieved by a big company but it's really not feasible for a small company.

To help them we are trying to use software programs that offer them a facility to map inputs and outputs (and our ticketing is integrated too) so it's easier on their part to complete documentation. We also stressed that it doesn't mean they do oodles of documentation, but they need to do enough to get by. I also tried to stress just how useful the documentation is -- it's here to identify problems earlier, get everyone on the same page and working together etc.

Our company also does very little documentation with little to no testing of software which is a problem and, again, the resistance is that we 'haven't got time to do that'.
The other issue that appeared is that they have said that 'they don't work like that' (meaning the software process proposed). The tricky part is that most of the team have reviewed the proposed process and think that yes, that's the right way to do things and we can do it (they even helped me write it).

I'm just wondering if anyone has any help as to how we can help persuade the last few to come around? I think they're issues are valid, but I'm stuck for how to address them...

oh, i also have found some research articles with statistics of the usefulness of the system but have yet to give them to the team.

Thanks for your help!
 
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Big Jim

Super Moderator
#2
Re: Getting whole team buy-in?

I'm not sure if I can offer enough help, but I do have some ideas that may help.

1st, get full buy-in from top management. If you don't get it from the top, there will always be some hold outs. Everyone needs to hear it from top management.

2nd, there is a hold over misconception from the early days of ISO 9001 that documentation and record keeping was very extensive. There was an attitude that you had to be able to prove to an auditor with some sort of piece of paper, either a document or a record, that you were living up to each and every "shall" in the standard. I don't know how many there are, but one treatment on the subject shows 284. There are only six topics in the standards that require written procedures and something like 19 topics that require records. That's a whole lot less than "everything" or 284. Your holdouts may think that it is harder than it is.
 
F

Frankie11

#3
Re: Getting whole team buy-in?

So you've got most of the team on-board, excited and helping set up the system. That's more than a lot of people have to work with!
I think you may have to accept that the few who are resistant are just being anti-change. And there's really not much more you can do at this point.

Showing how well 9001 has worked for other similar companies may help but I reckon you won't get buy in from these people until the system is in place, enforced and they actually experience the benefits first hand.

So I would focus on planning:
1. how you're going to implement and enforce the changes you're going to make without getting the naysayers even more offside, and
2. ways to promote the improvements you'll begin to see and using those improvements to engage these employees.
 
C

CATERAF

#4
Re: Getting whole team buy-in?

Thanks Big Jim,

Fortunately I have full support from the general manager (he called for it!) but it's the executive director (2ic) that is one of the software team having reservations.

As for the amounts of documentation required -- it's good to know there are only 19 topics that require records. I do feel like there is a lot of 'approval' required though and that each topic may need multiple records so perhaps my portrayal of the system is that we do need to keep lots of documents. That said, we are trying to minimise the work required as much as possible... But having never even heard of ISO before being required to implement it in our company I do wonder whether I'm asking them to do too much (particularly our templates). In saying that, when they don't have a template to go by they make mistakes so it's tricky to know how much or how little (a common problem with ISO it seems).
 

Golfman25

Trusted Information Resource
#6
I wouldn't mention ISO 9001 again. There are too many "bad" reactions -- some based on experience, some based on rumor. It needs to be couched in terms of process/business improvement.

90% of ISO 9001 is good business practice. If you're a successful business in today's marketplace I'll bet you have 80% already done. So don't reinvent to wheel. Don't add anything which is not valued added to your company just because some ISO guru says you need to.

Most importantly, work with your people. Not against them. Their fears of too much documentation are well founded. Many systems are over documented. Figure out ways to document what you need to in the least intrusive way and leave it at that. You can go back and make improvements if necessary.

Unless there is a strong customer demand, don't have a target date for your certification audit. Wait. Get your system up and running. Run it for a year or two. Maintain discipline. Then when you call the auditor you will pass without much trouble. Good luck.
 
K

kgott

#7
Hi,

I have a question about the implementation of ISO 9001 and how to get people to be 'on-board'.

We have several company members who 'can't wait to get started' and see ISO 9001 as beneficial and useful. However, we have a few others (mainly software) who are very resistant for a number of reasons, the most of which is they feel that they're going to be spending too much time documenting and not enough time producing products (software and hardware). We are a small company of ~15 people and they think ISO 9001 can be achieved by a big company but it's really not feasible for a small company.

To help them we are trying to use software programs that offer them a facility to map inputs and outputs (and our ticketing is integrated too) so it's easier on their part to complete documentation. We also stressed that it doesn't mean they do oodles of documentation, but they need to do enough to get by. I also tried to stress just how useful the documentation is -- it's here to identify problems earlier, get everyone on the same page and working together etc.

Our company also does very little documentation with little to no testing of software which is a problem and, again, the resistance is that we 'haven't got time to do that'.
The other issue that appeared is that they have said that 'they don't work like that' (meaning the software process proposed). The tricky part is that most of the team have reviewed the proposed process and think that yes, that's the right way to do things and we can do it (they even helped me write it).

I'm just wondering if anyone has any help as to how we can help persuade the last few to come around? I think they're issues are valid, but I'm stuck for how to address them...

oh, i also have found some research articles with statistics of the usefulness of the system but have yet to give them to the team.

Thanks for your help!
Get the message across that 9001 is a framework for managing any business of any size. That it requires the business to do nothing more than what any well managed company would do.

They need to understand that certification to 9001 demonstrates to customers that the business can prove to its target market that it has, at a minimum, good basic processes in place.
 
J

JaneB

#8
Softly, softly, catchee monkee. Don't expect too much too quickly. Particularly in software/IT in my experience.
They're generally smart people, but are also generally convinced that their way is the best way, and not always inclined to follow systems. Or change what they're doing.
Some may come round in time, when they see the benefit of more consistent ways of working. Look for places where that is so and communicate, communicate, communicate. (One software development co I worked with recently it took almost a year before some of the more recalcitrant opposed began to see the point of some of the changes). Look for examples of where things stuffed up internally and gently use those to point out the boring/unproductive work of redoing/fixing. 'Not having the time to do that' becomes having to find the time to do it again. And again. And again. I am of course presuming the process IS practical and IS as simple as it can be and is NOT cumbersome! If it is, watch out.
Little to no testing of software? Little to no documentation? That's cowboy territory and not a good career path. Such companies tend to go belly up, big time.

Talk their language. Don't talk ISO!

Definitely sounds like you're already on the right track, getting management support, and getting the team to work out the proess. If most of the team agreed the process... it becomes a team and a management issue. Either the final few come on board (ultimately) ... or they don't. And then they may need a different career path.
 
#9
People talk about gaining "buy in" without saying anything about what that actually means. It's important to understand what the key issues the organization faces - staff turn over, product issues, later deliveries, changes - whatever it is.

You can then talk to these issues - and the people in management who own them - in a manner which will help them see that, by having a systematic approach to defining processes, measurement etc and so on (as Jane says without mentioning ISO because you know which "bits" are in ISO), you can make the implementation of an ISO based qms relevant to their achievement of objectives - which will help them personally.
 
Last edited:
C

CATERAF

#10
It's important to understand what the key issues the organization faces - staff turn our, product issues, later deliveries, changes - whatever it is.
There are so many it's hard to know which to address but I think the bottom-line is financial cost (too much documentation means time spent writing, not producing products which we need). Unfortunately it's hard to quantify their current costs because very little is recorded. I've started doing some digging to see if I can calculate some costs and try to compare it to the costs of putting a preventive measure in place. Unfortunately the two examples I have so far end up costing more to prevent than to fix.. Am going to dig deeper into some of the big financial losses that occurred due to mistakes.

I am a fan of the thread that somashekar linked me to which gives the idea of presenting to them the benefits of improvement. I've done some reading and identified many costs which may not seem apparent and am thinking of showing them these and doing a company-wide presentation.
Has this been a good technique for others?

As for whether our current procedures are cumbersome -- yese, they are cumbersome compared to what they currently do because they don't do much at all (no testing, no project management, no requirements, no formal design documents.. ). I think any kind of documentation is impinging on their 'product-generating' time. I'm finding it hard to gauge if it's too much documentation because it all seems to be too much to them. Fortunately we do have some members who have done ISO before and one in particular would be in a good position to tell me if he thinks it's too overboard (he's hardware though and it's software we're working with first).

I think their concern is that they have to generate documents -- but probably don't realise that I'm the one documenting the process, generating templates for them so there is less to do etc. Perhaps it's worth plugging this point?


Thanks for all the comments - very very helpful!
 
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