Posts Tagged ‘Wiki Engines’

Burn the binders and get a Wiki

In Document Control, Elsmar Cove, Procedures, Quality, Quality Management Systems, Wiki on August 10, 2012 at 12:11 pm

Procedures can always be improved, but our goal is to make better products—not better procedures. So what could possibly be so interesting about document control that I feel compelled to write another post about “blah, blah, blah?”

          I read an article about using Wiki’s for document control.

For today’s entertainment I selected another famous Brit, but this song is the only piece I have heard him sing in French.

A Wiki is just a collaborative environment where anyone can add, delete and edit content. All changes are saved and Wiki’s can be controlled—while simultaneously being available to everyone. The most famous of all Wikis is Wikipedia.

In 2009, Francisco Castaño (a.k.a. – Pancho) began a discussion thread to explain how his company was using a Wiki to manage their documentation system. In the last month, ASQ published an update on the status of Pancho’s Wiki process for document control.

In most companies, the process owner writes procedures and other people in the company rarely comment on minor errors. In the most dysfunctional companies, the Quality Department writes the procedures for the rest of the company or outsources it to consultants. Reviewing and editing procedures should be the responsibility of everyone in the company, but I never considered the possibility of having everyone within a company edit procedures simultaneously—until I saw Pancho’s thread. Throughout the discussion others have indicated that they also tried using Wikis to optimize content. This is a genius idea that is coming of age.

Many QMS consultants, including myself, have written procedures for clients. Sometimes this is part of the consulting business model. In these cases, the consultant writes a procedure once and edits it forever—while getting paid a modest fee each time a client asks for a “new” procedure. I often think that it would make more sense to do something like Linux developers have done—use the collaboration of QMS experts around the world to create a generic procedure that is free to everyone. Using Wiki’s that are publicly available this is entirely possible.

In the very near future (hopefully 2013), the responsibilities section of our procedures will fundamentally change. Instead of reading and understanding, everyone will be responsible for writing and editing (oh no, I’ll have to create a new learning pyramid).

Quality will no longer be responsible for writing procedures. Instead, the quality function can focus on monitoring, measuring, data analysis, and improvement of processes and product. The downside is that we will need fewer people in document control.

If you want to learn more about Wiki for document control, follow this thread I found on Elsmar Cove. It rich in content and even the moderators have been forced to rethink their preconceptions.

You should also read two articles by Pancho:

  1. Using a Wiki for Document Control
  2. Using a Wiki to Implement a Quality Management System
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