Wiki vs. Controlled Documents - Eliminating Conflicts

E

ehatheway

#1
My company is struggling with having Controlled Documents and a Wiki that co-exist peacefully.

The Wiki is very easy to edit, so employees are much more eager to make updates when they see a problem... this does not happen as with our Controlled QMS documentation since there is more process in place (ie reviews and approvals).

The problem really comes in when information is put on the Wiki that conflicts with a Controlled Document. Employees become confused about what resource to use to do work, and it a compliance issue.

We have posted guidelines as to what is allowed on the Wiki, but they aren't always respected.

Has anyone else encountered similar issues? What suggestions can you offer? We are presently working on setting up the Wikis so that any updates made are automatically flagged and reviewed.
 
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Le Chiffre

Quite Involved in Discussions
#2
Re: Wiki vs. Controlled Documents

The solution may depend on the acceptance of the Wiki and adherence to its guidelines within the organization. Perhaps you could indicate what guideline is causing trouble as there may be an alternate way of managing it.

In my experience, the Wiki steadily replaced the conventional online documents. Initially Wiki articles containing links were created for every document and an indexing system was created within the Wiki. As changes were made or new "documents" created, the contents were placed directly in the Wiki article where possible.

When documents were being developed and had a "Draft" status, the Wiki would indicate this and provide a link to the last "Controlled" version or article revision. Changes that occur to "Controlled" Wiki articles would bump their revision, leaving the last controlled link pointing at the reviewed version. The document controller would revise the last controlled link once a review had occurred. It's a process that is working for us and impresses the auditor!
 

Pancho

wikineer
Super Moderator
#3
Re: Wiki vs. Controlled Documents

My company is struggling with having Controlled Documents and a Wiki that co-exist peacefully.

The Wiki is very easy to edit, so employees are much more eager to make updates when they see a problem... this does not happen as with our Controlled QMS documentation since there is more process in place (ie reviews and approvals).

The problem really comes in when information is put on the Wiki that conflicts with a Controlled Document. Employees become confused about what resource to use to do work, and it a compliance issue.

We have posted guidelines as to what is allowed on the Wiki, but they aren't always respected.

Has anyone else encountered similar issues? What suggestions can you offer? We are presently working on setting up the Wikis so that any updates made are automatically flagged and reviewed.
Why not place the controlled documents in the wiki? Document control in the wiki can be almost automatic, collaboration on documents is much easier, and the wiki's version history fosters improvement and prevents vandalism.

John has suggested one successful way to deal with reviews and approvals. We use another approach that has worked for us: users are trusted to modify documents and process owners are automatically notified of changes to their docs. For more info, see Using a Wiki for Document Control.

With either method you can bring your controlled documentation into the wiki and improve faster.

As a thought experiment, think about which of the following two situations is more common in your company:

  1. A controlled document contains obsolete information (the documentation was written a while back and it no longer matches how the process is actually done), or
  2. A controlled document contains erroneous information because somebody changed it incorrectly.
In most organizations, problems like #1 are much more common. A wiki is a terrific tool to eliminate them, as every reader is an editor. But a wiki is also a terrific tool to eliminate the second one, in the rare instances where it occurs, particularly if, as you are implementing now, process owners are notified of wiki changes.

Good luck!
Pancho
 
#4
Re: Wiki vs. Controlled Documents

Thanks Panco for this informative post. I'm three months into a new job with a relatively small metal fabrication company. My role at my new job is to implement and maintain ISO 9001:2008. I've read your "Using a Wiki for Document Control" and your "Using a Wiki to Implement a Quality Management System" I like the approach that you've taken and have played with the ProjectForum software. My question you you is. Is there any layout examples that you could direct me to. Starting from scratch, I'm not quite sure of the direction or layout I should work towards.

Thanks
APenn
 

Pancho

wikineer
Super Moderator
#5
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