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Proposed Reply to Tom

Dear Tom,

Thank you for your email. Your question is a good one!

First, let me tell you that we take the approach that quality is everyone's business. We develop work instructions on how things should be done, procedures to follow. As something new comes up, we develop a work instruction for it. Then, those who are working on a particular item can modify it to make it better. Having collaborative efforts really fosters teamwork, plus people don't want to put bad information in there since they receive "credit" for their contribution.

With the wiki, you can see not only the changes made, but who made them and when. You can review previous versions to see what changes were made. Various people, including supervisors and senior management, use the notification system for when changes are made, so that they are looked at quickly.

Since each document is a living document, continuous improvement is truly continuous. As documents/procedures are updated in the wiki, everyone (who has the need) has access to the most recent changes. We use the wiki for discussion of items as well. (For example, your email and my response have been posted in the wiki. I will notify our quality manager and the owner of the company of the link so that they will have input to this response.) This eliminates emails going back and forth or being missed and we can have the appropriate people involved.

With regards to review and approval, our "approval flow" consists of two parts, and both are procedural requirements in our Document Control process:

  1. Self-approval: We charge employees with modifying only those documents with which they are thoroughly familiar, and only provided that they judge themselves competent to edit. (If they do not feel they meet both conditions, then they must raise a CAR instead.)
  2. Review: Upon an edit, the owner of the process to which the edited document belongs receives an RSS notification of the change, and he must review the change asap.

During QMS training, users of our documentation are reminded that they are reviewing the documents during their every use, and that they must compare the document with their own knowledge. If they spot typos or minor errors, they are free to correct them, subject to (1) above. And they do. Often. Whenever a document has been changed, the wiki immediately issues an email or RSS alert. If the person does not think the change is proper, he or she can go back and undo it, or open a Corrective Action to further discuss. Process owners have the last word in their documents when conflicts arise, and anyone that is still dissatisfied with a particular decision can raise a CAR or appeal to management.

Hope this covers your concerns. We are surprised that more people do not use wikis to help them in their business. It provides such a streamline way of working and eliminates so many mistakes. It is a great training tool - allowing employees a way to learn and review procedures. It brings consistency in the workplace and allows you to go back should the need arise to see what was in place at a particular time.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have more questions.

Kindest regards,


Posted at May 16/2012 04:00PM by Francisco Castano:
Hi Pattie,

Great writeup. I made only a few changes and think it is ready to go.