Are you involved with ISO, Lean Management, Six Sigma or another quality management initiative? Each of these has its own protocols and requirements, but they all require clearly written, accurate and up-to-date documentation. Here are 4 suggestions for creating documentation that will ensure the success of your quality management system.
1. Observe users as they work with your documentation.
Time them to find out how long it takes them to access the information they need. Watch them work to see how well their performance matches up with what’s written. See for yourself how well the documentation supports quality and continuous improvement initiatives.
2. Encourage users to provide feedback.
Enlist their help in identifying unclear information, errors or omissions in the documentation. Interview novices as well as experienced users. If you write for multiple audiences, make sure you’re addressing everyone’s needs. User feedback can help you drive down error rates and increase quality and efficiency.
3. Establish regular review cycles.
Documentation that’s difficult to revise or update will quickly become obsolete. Creating content in small independent modules can make it easier for you to make revisions without causing “ripple effects” that compromise the integrity of the documentation. Develop a review schedule that reflects the frequency with which changes occur.
4. Apply the concept of continuous improvement.
Stay alert for opportunities to increase the efficiency with which you create, implement and manage your documentation throughout its life cycle. Develop processes for taking timely corrective or preventive action to optimize its quality. Always be on the lookout for ways to make documents more accessible, accurate and user-focused.
Download the guide to better documentation
This compact 7 Step Guide to Better Quality System Documentation contains practical tips you can apply immediately to improve your documentation.