Must a registrar employ a certified lead auditor?

Step Three: Formalize As-Is Procedures and Design New Ones to Fill Gaps in the System

Formalize as-is key procedures

"As-is" means the processes exist and, even though they all could be improved, you are happy to put it into the system as-is so the system can improve them later. Do not impede progress in developing your system by creating lots if little process improvement subprojects. Improving processes in the context of a system enables teams to see that usually there is more than one root cause and that out-of-harmony processes disrupt each other.

Start with the objectives (outcomes) of each process. Find out what they are and define them for an effective system. Do not be lulled into making benign purpose statements that describe why the procedure or piece of paper exists.

Use deployment flowcharts (we recommend TeamFlow) to show what process teams do to meet their objectives. Keep each flowchart to a single page with links to other flowcharts, textual instructions or forms. Obtain review comments from the process team answering the question "is this the way it is?" and reconcile all comments.

Design new key processes

New processes are expensive to implement because they require training to become truly effective. Do not sneak in a new process and attempt to implement it with a hammer called audit! This damages credibility and morale.

Keep new processes to a minimum to keep the system development project on track and below budget.

Again, for a new process, start with objectives but this time flowchart the process without resources (team members) at first. Once the new process is verified, assign the resources required and available within your organization before validating the new process. TeamFlow is the software we recommend.

Why not design new processes in line with process design procedures? Yes, for many, design or redesign of a process is another key process!

What about when as-is needs some new process?

Some as-is processes need something new to comply with the chosen system standard. For example, contract documents are reviewed but the result of these reviews is not recorded. This falls within the very useful two-week rule.

The two-week rule allows this amount of time for the changed process to become the new reality. In other words, the records from reviewing contract documents would immediately be kept with the responsibilities, facilities and duration in files and archives decided upon and put into the updated as-is procedure. This avoids procrastination in tweaking existing processes so they comply.

Plan for control of management system information

Management System information, including documentation and analyzed data, must be controlled so it is readily available as and when needed. It is preferably stored electronically to reduce waste, increase speed and accuracy of retrieval, and facilitate effective document control. System savvy organizations use software developed around the process approach to accomplish this because it helps everyone visualize how the management system works to add value.

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