Personal names in docs - Goes against every documenation practice I know!

AmandaMusser

Quality Rules!
#1
Hello Fellow Covers!
I have yet another Quality issue that I'm fighting and I need some input from you so that I am armed when I head into battle!

One of the many hats I wear is Quality Documentation. I have a Process Engineer who is trying to get all of our control charts in the same format, so he's created a template. They'll all look alike & we'll be able to read them :) GREAT IDEA!

The problem is, he is calling out specific employees names on the charts themselves as the persons responsible for filling out the forms! :nope:

Example: Control Chart - Freezer #1, "Persons Responsible for Completion - James".

This goes against everything I have ever learned about documentation & I've been doing this for 20+ years! Unfortunately, I'm not able to find anything anywhere that says you shouldn't do it.

Have any of you ever run into this issue & how do you handle it?

:popcorn:
 
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Pancho

wikineer
Super Moderator
#2
Re: Goes against every documenation practice I know!

Hi Amanda,

If you have a good org chart, then this is easy. Just instruct doc authors to use positions rather than persons.

If not, then you have an opportunity.

Using folks names is easier than using positions when positions aren't so well defined. With a missing or outdated org-chart or vague position descriptions, document authors will often resort to using "James" rather than trying to figure out what post should be doing it. Maybe James does it because he's always done it and no one else wants to touch it, even though he really shouldn't be doing it.

Sorting that out is complicated. But that is the opportunity.

As a bonus, cleaning up the org-chart is like the proverbial low tide: those not wearing their shorts will have to put them on.
 

AmandaMusser

Quality Rules!
#3
Hi Pancho,
The Process Engineer is attempting to create accountability for the completion of the charts and he believes that calling out names in the charts will accomplish this. He lists himself as the document owner, the manager as the person responsible for the chart & the employee for filling it out. (Of course, I told him that if the manager is the ultimate responsibility, why do we have to also have the employee names.)

That's minimum 3 persons names on each document. When a person leaves for better (or worse) employment, someone will be responsible for making sure that a QDO will be done to update the documents.

I'm currently sitting in a customer audit with an ISO 13485 company, their Senior Engineering Manager is here performing the audit. I asked his opinion on this subject and he said he wouldn't allow it in his company.

What if James isn't here for a week because he's on vacation? The document states that he fills the chart out. If someone else does it, technically, we could get an NC for that, right?
 

Randy

Super Moderator
#4
Doomed for failure before it even starts :lmao:...

Hey tell the Engineer to go for it, step back, give him all the credit in the world, and enjoy the results :ca:
 

Pancho

wikineer
Super Moderator
#6
Hi Pancho,
The Process Engineer is attempting to create accountability for the completion of the charts and he believes that calling out names in the charts will accomplish this. He lists himself as the document owner, the manager as the person responsible for the chart & the employee for filling it out. (Of course, I told him that if the manager is the ultimate responsibility, why do we have to also have the employee names.)
I wonder why he thinks that calling out personal names provides more accountability than calling out positions.

That's minimum 3 persons names on each document. When a person leaves for better (or worse) employment, someone will be responsible for making sure that a QDO will be done to update the documents.
What's a QDO?

Regardless, you've hit upon one good reason to give your Process Engineer: If he would use posts rather than names, then no document updates are required when folks leave, get transferred or are absent.

(BTW, in any policy you could provide for automatic responsibility reassignment up the chain of command to cover any type of absence, whether or not your docs use personal names. But your Process Engineer might not think of that. :) )

I'm currently sitting in a customer audit with an ISO 13485 company, their Senior Engineering Manager is here performing the audit. I asked his opinion on this subject and he said he wouldn't allow it in his company.

What if James isn't here for a week because he's on vacation? The document states that he fills the chart out. If someone else does it, technically, we could get an NC for that, right?
Guess so. Unless you have that auto-responsibility reassignment.

I agree with you and your customer auditor. It's better to avoid personal names in docs. But the whole thing might not be worth a fight now. It's good that the standard forms and instructions are being created. You might let your process engineer use them like that for a while, and leave the corrective action for your continuous improvement cycle. Eventually (quickly) a NCR will come up, and the corrective action may be to remove the personal names from docs. That will then be reflected in your [SOP: Document Writing], and no-one will use personal names anymore.
 

Randy

Super Moderator
#7
Amanda I'm an auditor, I do nothing else but audit, mainly for CB's and this is a case that if we auditors were awarded the status of Ace, like a fighter pilot, in a scenario like you've described, I would only need one mission to make it.
 

Golfman25

Trusted Information Resource
#8
How big is the company? What is the turnover? You may be making a mountain out of nothing.

Can work ok in a smaller company. Not the best practice in the world and can complicate things due to personnel changes, but hardly worth "fighting." Good luck.
 

drgnrider

Quite Involved in Discussions
#9
Had a similar problem when I took over as ISO Mgnt. Rep.

MANY documents had names, I spent too much time revising documents when someone no longer had that responsibility, a minimum of three every time: document, document register, org chart. Used the time savings, (doc owner requesting changes, modifying, proofing, publishing (written & electronic), notification to all, etc.), to justify using positions... and this was my annually required 6-Sigma project. :lol:

Other than the org chart, I have only been changing documents as process change, not people.
 

msec0990

Involved In Discussions
#10
While I agree that the size of the company and turnover rate can factor in, I don't think it's enough to justify such a practice. It just feels unprofessional to me. As Pancho already mentioned, if you have a good organizational chart you have job titles and structure in place. If not, it would be a great time to implement such a chart. Hopefully, it doesn't become a knock down drag out fight.

One of my former bosses actually implemented the ISO framework when he updated that company's quality manual even though it was a definitely non-ISO environment. This is a bit extreme in my view, but it was what he was experienced in and comfortable with. Besides, I was still the "new guy" and wasn't going to tell him he was wrong :lol: In quality as in life, sometimes what you don't say is as important as what you do say.

Just my thoughts.

Mark
 
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