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energy
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Posts: 228
From:New Britain, CT
Registered: Nov 2000

posted 26 December 2000 03:52 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for energy   Click Here to Email energy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Can anybody tell me where the Documentation Pyramid originated? I've even seen reference to Tier 5 ( Ad Hoc Temporary Documents )? Is it in a guideline? Maybe I can't see the forest for the trees. Thanks.
Is this question so basic that I should know the answer, or is this documentation tier one of those things that have been around so long that no-one remembers where it started?
Well, I have visited several ISO sites and asked this question. The response is the same as this one. I'm beginning to get the feeling that the practice began with the Pied Piper. This question was put to me by an employee who was being "familiarized" with the standard. I couldn't answer him and, it appears, that I'm not alone.
[This message has been edited by energy (edited 29 December 2000).]

[This message has been edited by energy (edited 09 January 2001).]

[This message has been edited by energy (edited 09 January 2001).]

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Marc Smith
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From:West Chester, OH, USA
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posted 12 January 2001 10:41 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Marc Smith   Click Here to Email Marc Smith     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I don't know what the origin of the pyramid is other than to say it is 'typically representative' of a structured documentation system in business.

It is not a requirement per se. The thing is, how else can you represent a documentation structure. You almost always have a high level guidance document, etc. But - as I have told all my clients -- don't be fooled into thinking there is a 'pure' document'. This is to say, a level I is not always (and typically is not) just a policy manual, for example. You can look at a document with respect to what it does and most of the time you can classify it. But it will almost always have elements of a level III as well as elements of a level II.

I have seen some companies where the distinction is only between the quality manual and 'other' procedures and related documents. Typically small companies (5 to 20 people) have very few procedures, etc.

Take a look at Elsmar.com/pdf_files/Doc_Matrix.pdf - It's from a small company. Distinguishing level II from level III (well, you have to read them and BTW most are flow charts) is difficult.

By the way, I added 'Tier 5' about 5 years ago to 'my' pyramid. I did this because in an early ISO audit the auditor started jumping up and down about an employee taking data for an investigation. "How does it fit in your system?", "How are these test procedures controlled?" and similar questions. If you look on the pyramid I have here you'll see 'Tier 5' as 'Ad Hoc' documents such as these.

Don't get caught up in a trap where you think all your documents have be 'pure to the tier' in content. That said, the pyramid DOES represent the structure most found. I think it is a good structure to build a documentation system around.

[This message has been edited by Marc Smith (edited 12 January 2001).]

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Marc Smith
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From:West Chester, OH, USA
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posted 12 January 2001 02:40 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Marc Smith   Click Here to Email Marc Smith     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
My document hierarchy is at Elsmar.com//level2/doc-hier.html

I recently saw, for the first time, another pyramid with a 5th level they labeled 'Corrective Action Requests' which I think is sorta silly, but then again....

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