Work instructions inaccurate - Need to update and improve documentation system

M

MeganM

I work at a small translation company that was purchased last year, and since the merger there has been a great deal of change. As a result, many Work Instructions are not up to date. For one, we can't update the documentation as fast as the changes occur. More importantly, in many cases we know that a WI is out of date, but we don't have the information needed to fully update the document. For example, I have a Employee Set up and Orientation checklist that mentions old HR practices, but at present I don't know exactly what all the new HR practices are, and I probably won't find them all out until we hire someone again. The managers of each department have updated many WIs, but there are still several that are not high priority to fix.

For a long term solution, I'm looking into moving our docs to a Wiki so they can be more easily updated, but that won't happen for a while. I've seen some helpful posts regarding Wikis here in the forum.

At present, is there anything I can do with these partially incorrect WIs?
1. Can add comments to individual WIs that note which sections need to be updated? If I add a comment, then the document should be given a new revision number, right?
2. Should I just make these documents "for reference only" instead of WIs?

Thanks in advance for your help!
 

Randy

Super Moderator
Re: Work instructions inaccurate

2. Should I just make these documents "for reference only" instead of WIs?
Right off the bat...NO! The fact that you "refer" to them demonstrates intent and thus requires their control...Maybe not as documents but as records. However if they tell people how to do their work then and they actually use them, what you ask is a big Bozo No-No

Review what you have an ask "Can my people effectively perform their work without these WI's and without impacting product conformity?" If the answer is yes, then you may have evidence of competence and competent people don't have to have a WI telling them how to turn on the light at their desk (figure of speech).
 
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MeganM

Re: Work instructions inaccurate

"Can my people effectively perform their work without these WI's and without impacting product conformity?"

For the work instruction I mentioned, can I complete all the steps to set up a new employee in all the systems without this document? No, most likely not. I don't hire people often, so I would probably overlook something. Therefore, the document is needed.

However, there is some information in the document that may not accurate any longer. Is there a way for me to indicate sections that should be updated in the future? Since things are constantly changing, it'd be nice to have a way for everyone to indicate parts of WIs that are in the process of changing. It'd be even better to be able to instantaneously update all WIs as changes are made but alas, we are mere mortals...:)
 

Randy

Super Moderator
The requirsment for documents is...4.2.3 b) to review and update as necessary

When have you determined it to be necessary?

The only real answer is that you own the process so make it work for you and not the opposite.

You're going to told 40-11 different things but in the end the above will always be valid
 

Jim Wynne

Leader
Admin
Re: Work instructions inaccurate

For the work instruction I mentioned, can I complete all the steps to set up a new employee in all the systems without this document? No, most likely not. I don't hire people often, so I would probably overlook something. Therefore, the document is needed.

However, there is some information in the document that may not accurate any longer. Is there a way for me to indicate sections that should be updated in the future? Since things are constantly changing, it'd be nice to have a way for everyone to indicate parts of WIs that are in the process of changing. It'd be even better to be able to instantaneously update all WIs as changes are made but alas, we are mere mortals...:)

Process changes and documentation changes should occur concurrently. If, as you suggest, a document is needed in order for the process to be operated according to intent, just inserting "This needs to be updated" doesn't help anything. The answer is to stop changing processes without changing the documentation.
 

SteelMaiden

Super Moderator
Trusted Information Resource
Re: Work instructions inaccurate

For the work instruction I mentioned, can I complete all the steps to set up a new employee in all the systems without this document? No, most likely not. I don't hire people often, so I would probably overlook something. Therefore, the document is needed.

So, when you get ready to hire someone, sit down with HR or whomever makes these decisions and decide what needs to be changed, and then change it.

However, there is some information in the document that may not accurate any longer. Is there a way for me to indicate sections that should be updated in the future? Since things are constantly changing, it'd be nice to have a way for everyone to indicate parts of WIs that are in the process of changing. It'd be even better to be able to instantaneously update all WIs as changes are made but alas, we are mere mortals...:)

If there is information that is innaccurate make the revisions. If the work is being done using inaccurate information you have a nonconforming process. If you show me a document that says "revise section b because we don't do it that way anymore" you would get written up. If you have the time to make comments like that on the document, you have time to do it right. imho.

Why does it seem like revising a document where you work takes months? I am not sure if it does, but the way you describe it, it sure seems like it does. Here? the goal is 24 hours. and more than not, we can have it done in less than 3 or 4. We've changed things in less than 2 including the time it took to mark up the existing document.
 

Wes Bucey

Prophet of Profit
OK, it's a foregone conclusion many replies will cite chapter and verse on "document control." Some of those will dip into reams of advice about the revision process, itself (authors, checks, balances, approvals, etc.)

I could do all that, too, but, somehow, I get the impression you already know the mechanics.

I intuit you need a quick tutorial on the politics of revising documents, especially post merger, when corporate cultures have not been smoothly assimilated (the fact you pose the question indicates this as a fact.)

As I see it, somebody (on site or off site) has the power and authority to make a decision about who will author any changes to ANY documents (work instructions, procedures, forms, formats, etc.) including any changes to all the processes and activities for which those documents dictate the "company way."

This is the person you need to identify in your organization. Once identified, prepare a brief memo for that person outlining

  1. the situation you identify as being a potential issue
  2. how absence of updating [revising] could cause a future problem for the organization
  3. what documents you see requiring earliest change (priority)
  4. approximate cost (in man hours) and time table to accomplish the revisions, circulate them for approvals, issue the revisions and recall or destroy obsolete versions, ensure all pertinent [affected] personnel are aware of and competent in the revised procedure or process.
  5. what part you are capable of playing in this activity and who [to your knowledge] is competent to assist, review, whatever, to mistake proof the process.
The one thing you do NOT want is to give the impression you are trying to make someone (boss or coworker) look incompetent for not doing this earlier. Your demeanor should suggest you are trying to be helpful and provide value to the new people in charge.
 

SteelMaiden

Super Moderator
Trusted Information Resource
A much more helpful way of expressing what was in my mind, but just didn't translate to the written media, Wes. Thanks!
 

Pancho

wikineer
Super Moderator
For a long term solution, I'm looking into moving our docs to a Wiki so they can be more easily updated, but that won't happen for a while. I've seen some helpful posts regarding Wikis here in the forum.

I'd suggest you set up the structure of the documentation on the wiki and then take the plunge and assign moving documents to each owner. During the move a lot of the documentation will get cleaned up. Here is a description of how we organized our QMS wiki: https://articles.geometrica.com/574.html

At present, is there anything I can do with these partially incorrect WIs?
1. Can add comments to individual WIs that note which sections need to be updated? If I add a comment, then the document should be given a new revision number, right?
2. Should I just make these documents "for reference only" instead of WIs?

As others have pointed out, this is not advisable. But you could set up issue-tracking software, such as Bugzilla, where you may log in the problems, assign them to someone and track progress. We find the tracking software to be a great motivator, as it makes plain who is contributing to the effort.

Good luck!
Pancho
 
S

sixsigmais

At present, is there anything I can do with these partially incorrect WIs?
1. Can add comments to individual WIs that note which sections need to be updated? If I add a comment, then the document should be given a new revision number, right?
2. Should I just make these documents "for reference only" instead of WIs?
You shall actually update all the WI. However, you can set a period for the updating, this is allowed when there are some major changing on the company.
1. Yes, you can. But please note that all the WI shall be update too
2. No, for reference only is not control document but the WI shall be a control document.
 
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