Personable ISO 9001:2000 Quality Manual???


Jimmy Olson

Personable Quality Manual???

Howdy everyone. I just finished a rough draft of our quality manual for the 2000 standard. Thanks for the information and assistance. But now I have a different problem.

A couple managers have looked at tha manual and have complained about it being to dry and reading like a sicence manual. They want a lot of reworded so that it is personable so that our customers will enjoy reading it. :rolleyes:

Some of the changes that have been mentioned will invalidate the manual (I think). Does anyone have any ideas on how to add personality to a quality manual so that is pleasant to read, yet still compliant? :confused: :frust:
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What makes those managers think that the customers are actually going to read the manual?????? Much less, ever find pleasure in doing so?

Don't they just get tossed over to the Purchasing Dept. for their files?

Jimmy Olson

I tried explaining that the only people that would actually read it would be quality people, and their used to reading dry stuff. :D

Chris May

Not really serious..but..

When I quickly scanned this thread, for some reason, (old age probably), I had a sudden thought about writing the QA Manual in the style of...........Clive Barker, Steven King, Hans Christian Anderson etc; etc;

Might make a more enjoyable read.

But if I have something constructive to say...I'll be back.



M Greenaway

You could throw in a few jokes, a crossword maybe - or even a Page 3 girl.

Sorry - just returned from my hols and I am still in a good mood, normal service will resume by about lunchtime.

Mike S.

Happy to be Alive
Trusted Information Resource
Tell those managers that if they think your manual is dry reading, try reading the standard itself!

I assume you already told them that a QM isn't generally filled with purple prose. Perhaps you could show them a few other companys' quality manuals -- I think you can find at least one 2000 version to download here on the Cove in Marc's files. You can find lots of 1994 version manuals to read on the internet by searching for "quality manual" on Google. None I have seen are really "personable" or "fun reading". Some people put introductions and company profiles, company history, etc. in the beginning of their manual -- not an ISO requirement but something they do, so I think that would be the best place to put in some flowery or "non-dry" stuff if you wanted.

Finally, see if you can find one of those complaining Managers' official reports, proposals, etc. that are destined for their bosses or customers and see just how "non-dry" their stuff is. If it is dry as well you have a bit more leverage. Good luck.


I heard of someone writing their manual in a free-flowing prose style. Not divided up into sections, just pages and pages of words. Not an easy read, but yes it was different.

If you really want to personalize it, try to use small and simple words and write it as if you were speaking to a seventh grade class. Mention "why" you identify and segregate non-conforming product, or "how" using a document control system adds value to a process. Adding these qualifiers makes a document more personable and understandable to people who are learning something.

But making the QM more friendly isn't going to make your clients enjoy reading it! If it's read by your clients at all, the person at their facility will be scanning it for all the same buzz words that are recognized by those of us who write these things. They'll be looking for the compatibility (in words at least) of your system with their own. Using the same language makes it easier to do this.

Making a user-friendly QM for employee use is a good thing. If you want to provide this document to employees as an overview of your QMS, then use those qualifiers mentioned above.

So first determine the primary use of your QM and make it fit accordingly. Or try to make it do both if you can.
Short is sweet

I'll start rewriting our manual soon, and I'll try to do what I do with the procedures: Keep it short... Using lots of words is fine if you're writing a novel, but in a manual it just hides the facts you really want to find. Our current manual is too thick by far. :eek:



I think you should try hiding "Where's Waldo" figures throughout the manual and give a prize to the first 10 people who come up with the correct number of Waldo's. (Or, you could do a word search and instead of Waldo's use "shall's") It would help ensure people read the document :)

Seriously though, if THAT'S what those managers are worried about, they need some projects. Haven't they ever MET (most) registrar auditors????? They don't have a sense of humor...
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