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Seeking help in making a decision - Project behind schedule

K

Ka Pilo

#1
The ISO 22000 project is 3 weeks behind schedule due to dependencies from the organization side (e.g. process owners, etc). I've requested to extend the timeline, but the management has declined this request because they have committed to a timeline with the business. The company will be exporting products and the customer requires their suppliers to obtain ISO 22000 certification before making a business with them. The QA Manager has also agreed with the customer not to move the date and has suggested for my team to go on weekend work for 4 weeks. My team has been working long hours for the past 3 months and I know if I give in to the request for the weekend work, there is a high probability that I will receive resignations from the team due to a perception that the leadership team does not support "work-life balance" environment.

Please advice on the best thing to do.

BTW, I am directly reporting to the QA Manager.
 
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B

Barbara B

#2
Re: Seeking help in making a decision

A precarious situation!

If I'm in a situation which seems to be unsolvable, the first thing I rely on is "There are always at least 3 solutions for a problem." (And I haven't found a situation until now where this isn't true.)

So the work load which you have to deal with is too high regarding the personnel by hand and the available time:
managable work load = work load total * working time * timeline

Currently you have tried to enhance the timeline and this was refused by the QA manager and management.

Here are some thoughts about solutions:
  • Reduce the work load. Do a Pareto analysis and focus on the 80% most relevant things (and risk findings in the audit).
  • Enhance the staff. More people will get things done faster. Three areas where you can find additional personnel are
    • the QA manager himself (since he wants the things to be done)
    • internal employees, perhaps from different divisions
    • external consultants.
  • Let the staff work 24-7. Maybe you can announce some time off after the audit.
  • Set up a meeting with everyone in your team, the QA manager and a management representative. Present the actual problem as objective / based on facts as possible (e.g. "We have to deal with task A, B and C. For A there are 120 hours necessary, for B 200 hours and for C 240 hours to meet the minimum requirements of ISO 22000, that is 560 hours work load total. At the moment the team has four members at 100% and the tasks have to be completed within the next 8 days. Every member of the team has to work 560 hours/4 members/8 days = 17.5 hours per day. This is too much for each team member, even for the next 8 days as the team has already worked overtime for the last 3 months with 500 hours additional to the contracted working time.") Search for solutions and use the power of the whole team + QA manager + management representative.

And keep in mind that even if this project is going down the toilet, the earth will keep on rotating and the sun will be rising in the morning :bigwave:

Regards,

Barbara
 
P

pldey42

#3
The ISO 22000 project is 3 weeks behind schedule due to dependencies from the organization side (e.g. process owners, etc).

[..]

if I give in to the request for the weekend work, there is a high probability that I will receive resignations from the team due to a perception that the leadership team does not support "work-life balance" environment.
Sometimes, crisis is the opportunity to change management behaviour. I would suggest making everyone -- not just the QA team, everyone -- part of the solution:

Identify the activities that must be completed ...

If there are too many activities to fit into time available, ask management to define the priorities and identify the activities to drop.

If there is a risk of resignations due to 24/7 working, ask management if they agree to the risk of losing skilled people who are up to speed at a critical time, and if they are prepared to pay the costs of replacing them (recruitment, training, etc).

Also, losing just one will critically compromise the completion date. Even if they stay to work out their notice, their morale and commitment will be low, productivity will be low, and they will lower the morale and productivity of the team.

Identify dependencies upon the rest of the organization and its managers and make it clear to management that if they do not play their part in full and on time, they -- not the QA team -- will be responsible for any Certification failure

Oh, and freshen up your resume!

Hope this helps - tough situation.
Pat
 
#4
It would seem that you have alerted your management about falling behind schedule, and given them reasonable information about the reasons, which according to you lies elsewhere in the organization. :cool: Yet their sole action is to suggest that your team work weekends for 4 weeks?

The last time I checked, management was responsible for providing adequate resources for the tasks they hand out. Is there any way to get more resources for your team or the parts of the organization that are behind schedule without actually rubbing it in (which would probably not be a good idea)?:cool:

/Claes
 
K

Ka Pilo

#5
Is there any way to get more resources for your team or the parts of the organization that are behind schedule without actually rubbing it in (which would probably not be a good idea)?
Need to identify people from other departments who can help out with ISO 22000 project without jeopardizing their existing/own work.
 

Jen Kirley

Quality and Auditing Expert
Staff member
Admin
#6
Need to identify people from other departments who can help out with ISO 22000 project without jeopardizing their existing/own work.
Management needs to exhibit how badly they want this by extending the priority to people besides you and your team. How to get them to do that? If they refuse to add resources or allow people to shift priorities, your being behind schedule may be the lesser of your concerns... :(

The needs should be laid out in plain terms that can be left with people holding resources, so they can self allocate. This means tasks should be clearly described, along with what's needed to perform them and the estimated time required. Your Quality Manager is high enough on the food chain that he/she should be able to help get this done.
 
K

Ka Pilo

#7
Management needs to exhibit how badly they want this by extending the priority to people besides you and your team. How to get them to do that? If they refuse to add resources or allow people to shift priorities, your being behind schedule may be the lesser of your concerns... :(

The needs should be laid out in plain terms that can be left with people holding resources, so they can self allocate. This means tasks should be clearly described, along with what's needed to perform them and the estimated time required. Your Quality Manager is high enough on the food chain that he/she should be able to help get this done.
Problem is... the QA Manager has no work experience in food industry before. In short, she is new to HACCP and Food Safety Management System. The top management didn't know that. She has knowledge in ISO 9001 because she was a MR of his previous company, but it will not suffice.

While the top management thinks that the QA Manager is an expert in Quality Assurance and Business Process, the QA Manager is pretending that she is quite good at it. Given this, I don't expect that the management will hire a consultant to guide us in developing the FSMS. Also, I don't think that she has an idea of how much work is there to be done to bring the system into compliance with ISO 22000. What she knew is to present whatever my outputs are in the mancom. I really don't think she can even make a "Task List" with timeline for the project.

To give you a little background, we have appointed food safety team. We were able to establish and implement some prerequisite programs (e.g. hygiene, cleaning and sanitation, etc). We developed some procedures and instructions as well. I must confess, I am new to this field too, but due to heavy research I acquired a quite good understanding of the fundamentals of ISO 22000. I am thankful that this forum is a good source of support for any technical questions I may have. At first, I found the QA Manager's ignorance as a good way to learn since she keeps on relying on me. But as we go further... epecially when we started developing HACCP plans, I realized how difficult it is without having vast knowledge of HACCP and food science.
 
K

Ka Pilo

#8
Re: Seeking help in making a decision

Set up a meeting with everyone in your team, the QA manager and a management representative. Present the actual problem as objective / based on facts as possible (e.g. "We have to deal with task A, B and C. For A there are 120 hours necessary, for B 200 hours and for C 240 hours to meet the minimum requirements of ISO 22000, that is 560 hours work load total. At the moment the team has four members at 100% and the tasks have to be completed within the next 8 days. Every member of the team has to work 560 hours/4 members/8 days = 17.5 hours per day. This is too much for each team member, even for the next 8 days as the team has already worked overtime for the last 3 months with 500 hours additional to the contracted working time.") Search for solutions and use the power of the whole team + QA manager + management representative.

And keep in mind that even if this project is going down the toilet, the earth will keep on rotating and the sun will be rising in the morning :bigwave:
I created a "role clarity" chart outlinning exactly what each team member (including myself) will be responsible for. I requested a meeting to further discuss the role of individual or team to be played with regard to the ISO 22000 project, assignment, timelines, boundaries of authority and control, etc.

As for your last sentence, the "sun rising" is chiefly from the rotation of the Earth. I'm pretty sure it will rise tomorrow except for those who died today. There would be no tomorrow for them.
 

Jen Kirley

Quality and Auditing Expert
Staff member
Admin
#9
Problem is... the QA Manager has no work experience in food industry before. In short, she is new to HACCP and Food Safety Management System. The top management didn't know that. She has knowledge in ISO 9001 because she was a MR of his previous company, but it will not suffice.

While the top management thinks that the QA Manager is an expert in Quality Assurance and Business Process, the QA Manager is pretending that she is quite good at it. Given this, I don't expect that the management will hire a consultant to guide us in developing the FSMS. Also, I don't think that she has an idea of how much work is there to be done to bring the system into compliance with ISO 22000. What she knew is to present whatever my outputs are in the mancom. I really don't think she can even make a "Task List" with timeline for the project.

To give you a little background, we have appointed food safety team. We were able to establish and implement some prerequisite programs (e.g. hygiene, cleaning and sanitation, etc). We developed some procedures and instructions as well. I must confess, I am new to this field too, but due to heavy research I acquired a quite good understanding of the fundamentals of ISO 22000. I am thankful that this forum is a good source of support for any technical questions I may have. At first, I found the QA Manager's ignorance as a good way to learn since she keeps on relying on me. But as we go further... epecially when we started developing HACCP plans, I realized how difficult it is without having vast knowledge of HACCP and food science.
I was actually responding to what seemed to me an apparent issue of insufficient resource allocation - getting ready to certify to a standard is supposed to be an effort that receives full cooperation, especially from those who hold the resources and influence.

Specifically, I believed I was reading that the project was falling behind because of priorities being placed on you instead of the people whose dependencies are holding up the project; they are late on their input but your team is being asked to work overtime to meet deadlines that were set without benefit of a full appreciation of this project's needs. Please forgive me if I misunderstood and mis-identified this.
 
K

Ka Pilo

#10
Please forgive me if I misunderstood and mis-identified this.
Not a problem Ms Jennifer. It's was entirely my fault. My statements are very broad and perhaps that is why few have replied. I should have asked/stated smaller more targeted question/statement.
 
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