The new ISO 9001:2015 has introduced updated management system standards that override the requirements presented in its predecessor, ISO 9001:2008. In particular, the original standards identified in ISO 9001:2008 under 4.2.3 Control of Documents and 4.2.4 Control of records have been overridden by the new standards in the 2015 version under 7.5.3 Control of documented information.
As part of the alignment with other management system standards a common clause on ‘Documented Information’ has been adopted. The terms “documented procedure” and “record” have both been replaced throughout the requirements text by “documented information”. Where ISO 9001:2008 would have referred to documented procedures (e.g. to define, control or support a process) this is now expressed as a requirement to maintain documented information. Where ISO 9001:2008 would have referred to records, this is now expressed as a requirement to retain documented information.
To better understand the changes presented in section 7.5.3 over the previous standards outlined in 2008, it is important to identify the difference between Documents and Records:
ISO 9001:2015 outlines the Control of Documented information in section 7.5.3 and is broken down into two separate requirements:
126.96.36.199 Documented information required by the quality management system and by this International Standard shall be controlled to ensure:
a) it is available and suitable for use, where and when it is needed;
b) it is adequately protected (e.g. from loss of confidentiality, improper use, or loss of integrity).
188.8.131.52 For the control of documented information, the organization shall address the following activities, as applicable:
a) distribution, access, retrieval and use;
b) storage and preservation, including preservation of legibility;
c) control of changes (e.g. version control);
d) retention and disposition.
With the new standard structure in place, don't get confused by this "new requirement" as it really isn't new. We used to have "documents" and "records" and now we "maintain" (i.e document) and "retain" (i.e. record) documented information.
The ISO 9001:2015 standard introduces Organizational Knowledge in their 7.1.6 Clause. It defines requirements for the handling of organizational knowledge in the following four phases:
Clause 7.1.6 aspires to raise the awareness of the management team to provide them with adequate and proper knowledge placement for the future. Identifying the four focal points from start to finish provides a path to make this section of the standard really work for you.
Some quick guidance to get started
Complete an assessment of the current knowledge base in order to gain a clear understanding of organizational knowledge as it exists today. As a part of this assessment, it’s important to be able to include the knowledge that exists with regard to customer expectations and requirements.
The goal of this is to answer the question, "what knowledge do we currently have?"
Next, identify the knowledge that is required to adequately and efficiently run the business and fulfill the expectations of the customer base. It is important to do these as separate activities. I have found it to be a rare event where the knowledge a business has is a perfect match for the knowledge they need.
The goal of this is to answer the question, "what knowledge do we currently need?"
In the next phase, work to understand the gaps between existing knowledge and needed knowledge, prioritize those gaps and take action. The action could potentially be through training and hands-on learning, educational courses, seminars, etc.
A second important consideration of this phase is to understand the logistics of the organization's knowledge - how is information that is "known" by some of the organization spread to the rest? Are there "pockets of wisdom" that are not evenly shared with the people who could benefit from the knowledge? Take intentional action to set up a system to share organizational knowledge. This should include specific methods and procedures that should be followed to exchange knowledge internally and maintain the information. Passing off lessons learned from successful and failed projects in the past to colleagues is a great way for managers and employees to share their knowledge.
Because we all know this is an evolving world, it is important to have your "ears to the ground" to monitor changes in your specific market and analyze the extent of how it affects the knowledge the organization requires. Is there a brand new piece of technology available that could be utilized? Are their opportunities in the market to create a new product line? Stay tuned in to the ever-changing marketplace, and make sure to have systems in place to acquire and maintain the necessary organizational knowledge to be successful.
Organizations must continually evaluate their current knowledge and assess if it is adequate to help achieve the company's mission. Like many of the clauses in ISO 9001:2015 there needs to be a system in place to periodically assess, plan and execute. Special note here: this should not be once per year right before the 3rd party auditor shows up! Seriously, though - they can tell if you are faking it.
Not only that, but in the words of my high school football coach, "You are only cheating yourself!" Use this clause of the standard to really drive improvement in the knowledge possessed by your organization.
The Context of the organization is a newly added requirement in Clause 4 of ISO 9001:2015, which requires the organization to evaluate itself and its context. To properly perform this evaluation, there is a lot to consider: you must define the culture of the company, objectives and goals that must be outlined, the complexity of products, the size of the company and its customers, the flow of processes and information, identifying risks, and recognizing opportunities regarding the context of the organization.
Clause 4 states that the organization must consider both the internal and external issues that may possibly impact its objectives, strategies, and the planning of the QMS.
How do I do it?
Building from the scope of your Quality Management System, consider the following to determine the context of the organization:
Once the internal and external issues have been identified and approached with thorough consideration, the organization can identify the needs of internal and external parties, which simply means determining whose opinion your organization needs to be in tune to.
The parties in discussion may include customers, end users, regulators, suppliers, partners, owners and shareholders, and even society as a whole. Taking their perspectives into consideration will aid you in implementing efficient and effective practices that meet their needs. Additionally, they can provide feedback to help you identify what needs to be improved within your company.
Next, begin formalizing and documenting the context of the organization. This is often done so on a completely new document that the certification body will want to see. You could (and should) also include this information in your existing Quality Manual (even though the standard “doesn’t require” a Quality Manual, we HIGHLY recommend it).
Not just a one-time exercise
It is necessary for management to implement a process to monitor and review the internal and external issues and context periodically moving forward.
A simple tool to use for external analysis is called a ‘PESTLE’ analysis. PESTLE refers to the Political, Economical, Social, Technological, Legal, and Environmental factors that need to be evaluated regularly. Schedule this in conjunction with existing management reviews to ensure it becomes part of your management routine.
Political - Political factors refer to the degree of government intervention in the economy. The legal and regulatory factors include tax policies, consumer protection laws, employment laws, labor laws, environmental regulations, and trade restrictions.
Economical - Economical factors include the inflation rate, exchange rate, unemployment rate, and other growth indicators like interest rates.
Social - Social factors include different cultural aspects of society and its demographics. This is what forms the macro-environment of an organization. This can ultimately include career attributes, population growth rates, health consciousness and safety awareness, and age distribution.
Technological - Due to the constant evolution of technology, consumers are becoming very tech-savvy and have a high demand for organizations to adapt to new and emerging technology at a rapid pace. Technological factors include new changes, R&D activity, automation, and innovation.
Legal - There are specific laws than can potentially affect the business environment in each country, while there are certain policies an organization can maintain for themselves. This may include consumer laws and safety standards.
Environmental – These include influences from your business environment, such as tourism, climate, weather, geographical location, environmental offsets, etc.
Having an understanding of the PESTLE Analysis will develop a stronger foundation within management on how to adapt to external factors that may determine the future changes of your organization. Grasping the ground realities of the environment you are operating in is essential to operating effectively.
Don’t Make it Too Hard!
Clarifying the context of your organization should not be a monumental task. Simply talk through some of the tools mentioned in this blog and formulate your written context. After all, you are just trying to develop a written explanation of why your organization exists, what you provide, and who you serve – all of this should be pretty easy to identify.
My wife and I are currently going through the stage of life that I like to refer to as a sports frenzy. We have three children in grade school and are crazy busy all the time with their activities - but it is so much fun. I coach many of their sports teams and (hopefully) am able to teach the kids some valuable lessons like so many coaches did for me. Sometimes these kids even return the favor and teach me something that I can apply in my work.
Last fall I was a flag football coach for a group of second and third graders. The season started pretty quickly so there was really only time for a couple of practices before the first game. And I use the word "practice" pretty loosely (those who have ever had a group of 10 or so eight year old boys out in a field practicing a contact sport know exactly what I am talking about).
We were able to work on one offensive play. Yup, one. Well - I guess it could technically be two plays because we were able to run it to either the left or right side of the field. Good job coach.
Game Day...and we are not even close to ready
I'll admit it. I was extremely worried that at some point during our game the eight year old rendition of WrestleMania was going to be on full display for all the parents. Luckily, that didn't happen. In fact, on our first offensive play our running back took the handoff and ran the distance of the field for a touchdown. To this day, I insist this was because of a superior play design and had nothing to do with the fact that he was the fastest kid on the field (that was sarcasm, in case you didn't catch it).
The kids were so excited. And so was I. As the cheering faded and we lined up for the kick-off, one of the kids looked up at me and asked, "where is the scoreboard?"
My reply - "We don't keep score, we are just out here to play hard and get better."
And like any typical third grader, he had the next question all queued up and ready to hit me with it...
"If we don't keep score, how do we know if we are getting better?"
I paused for a second, looking down at him blinking back at me waiting for a reply.
I didn't get the chance to answer before the kickoff, but it didn't matter. Do you know what the kids on both teams started doing? They kept score. They tallied the touchdowns and did the math themselves.
Now why would they do that? Why can't they just play?
They want to know how they are doing. They want to know if they are performing well. They want to know if they are getting better. In the absence of a score, they have no basis to judge their own performance. They have no way to judge their team's performance. These are kids. When we take away their performance measure (the score) they instinctively measure performance themselves.
What is the score in your business?
People working in your business or department need the same visibility to the team's (your company or department's) performance as those kids did. So many people come to work and are asked to do their best and work hard. They are even told - "be engaged!", "improve!", or "we need to continually get better!". Even if they try their best - how can they be sure their efforts are making things better?
Put up the scoreboard.
1) Determine your limited set of key business metrics. Do not try to measure everything. Think of how confusing a football game would be if there was a giant scoreboard tallying every single statistic as the game went on.
2) Make them visible. Yes. Hang them on the wall. For everyone to see. If you are not proud of what they tell you, hiding them won't make it better. They don't turn off the scoreboard when a team falls way behind. Simply knowing where things stand often causes an uptick in performance, and as performance improves, enthusiasm will build.
3) Repost results as frequently as practical. Revealing the results of the 1st quarter halfway through the 4th quarter won't help a football team all that much. Shorten the loop between execution and metrics - monthly is typically adequate.
Most people want to be engaged and work hard, but do they know if their actions are making a difference? Does your team know the score?
Way back in 1957 a British naval historian named C. Northcote Parkinson observed something striking about human behavior and formulated what is known as Parkinson's Law of Triviality. The quick version of the story goes (something) like this. There was a Board of Directors Finance Committee meeting set up with a two hour agenda comprised of three items:
1) A $13 million contract to build a nuclear power plant.
2) A $460 proposal to build a bike shed for the employees to store their bikes while at work.
3) A $27 annual proposal to provide refreshments for the Joint Welfare Committee.
And here is how the meeting played out...
Agenda Item #1: $13 million nuclear power plant
Discussion: A brief overview of the contract was given, and very little discussion followed. Time: 2.5 minutes. Decision: Approved. (Wait, what? This is 1957...nuclear power plants are a big deal...no discussion? Ok...I guess...)
Agenda Item #2: $460 proposal for a bike shed
Discussion: With the rising number of employees riding bikes to work, there needed to be a storage location established for the bikes while the employees were at work, and the idea was raised to provide a covered shelter to keep the bikes protected from the weather. This prompted a significant amount of discussion - what material should be used for the roof? Which will be most cost effective? Most durable? Where could it be purchased? Which contractors are to be used? Have bids been sent out? What color should it be painted? How large should it be? What is the best location? (I could go on, but I think you get the idea).
Time: 45 minutes. Decision: Approved. Yay!!!
Agenda Item #3: $27 annual proposal to provide refreshments for the Joint Welfare Committee.
Discussion: A lot. What type of refreshments? How much coffee? Do they really need sandwiches and fruit? Where is the best place to procure the items? We don't want to overpay for bananas...
Time: 1 hour and 15 minutes. Decision: More information is needed. (more information?!?!?! really?!?!?)
What is the impact of this silliness?
Huge. This committee meeting likely involved about 15 people. And they spent almost two hours debating the details of how to spend $487. Among them, they devoted a grand total of almost 30 hours to decide what materials to use to protect bikes from the weather and to not make a decision on refreshments.
Pause. Sigh. (hands over face, shaking my head)
And this is only one example of one meeting at one organization. If you start adding up all the meetings and all of the organizations, the lost time is staggering.
Parkinson's Law of Triviality points out that humans 1) have a tendency to devote a great deal of time and energy to unimportant details while crucial matters go on unattended and 2) have this uncanny ability to spread the work over the time allowed.
Because of Parkinson's story, this behavior has become known as "bike shedding". And it happens. A lot.
What to Do? What to Do?
Watch for these moments to begin. And they will. Maybe as soon as today. Utilize these tips to prevent your company from being the world's largest producer of bike sheds!
Keep the magnitude of the discussion in perspective. I was able to hear a wage increase discussion for someone who was described as "outstanding" and "such a value to our organization" by her supervisors. And a 45 minute discussion ensued about weather to give her a standard 2.5% wage increase, or a 3.5% (the maximum allowed by the organization). The weekly difference in these two numbers? $9.61. Yup, basically a Venti coffee and a breakfast sandwich from Starbucks. Approve it and move on.
Schedule meetings for the exact amount of time you think they will take. Most scheduling software is set up to schedule meetings in 30 minute increments. Don't just blindly schedule. If you think you can get the meeting done in 17 minutes, schedule it for 17 minutes. Also, start the meeting on time and set the expectation right away - "we have a pretty tight agenda, so we need to stay on topic..."
Engage others to stop the madness. Introduce the concept of bike shedding at your organization. Tell the story of the finance committee meeting - and then encourage everyone to stop the conversation when it starts to get out of hand. A simple, "are we bike shedding right now?" will do the trick.
Have a good bike shedding moment to share? Please tell us about it in the comments below!
A woman named Dorothy recently called for advice on a project they were getting ready to "go live" with. I could tell in her voice that she was stressed out about this rollout. She and a small team were working on a project at their company and Dorothy was getting very anxious about how to reveal the change to the rest of their colleagues. I asked her to describe how far they’ve come and how they made the decisions and how the project was going. She said the group has been meeting for a month or two to analyze the situation, determine solutions and come up with an implementation plan. Everything she described sounded well thought out and organized.
"So what is the problem?" I asked.
"Everyone is going to hate it. There are so many rumors circulating about the project, people are saying they are going to refuse to change and that the whole project is waste of time. My team is questioning why we even started this project to begin with - none of them want to move forward."
I asked her how people responded when they talked to them about the project over the past two months.
"We didn't talk about it. We were trying not to reveal anything until we had all of the details worked out."
You know what happens when people have a sense something is "going on"? They start to talk about it. They talk about what they know and what they think they heard and speculate about what might happen. Just like a storm morphing into a full blown (pun intended) tornado - these "conversations" develop into damaging rumors strong enough to take Dorothy's project and fling it straight to Munchkin Land.
Engagement isn't a box you check at the end
It’s something you build along the way. And it doesn't just happen on its own. There has to be intentional conversations to build an understanding - not an understanding of how things will change, but an understanding of what will be changing. People need time to warm up to the idea that things are going to be different. The earlier on you start this dialogue, the better your team will be set up to implement changes - when that time comes.
Do yourself a favor - be open and honest!!
The purpose of communicating is to keep people informed - not to manipulate them so they "buy in" to your changes. Tell them what you know. Tell them what you don't know. Ask their opinion. Get their perspective. But never manipulate them. They will eventually find out and no one follows a leader they cannot trust.
I have observed people struggling with initiating these types of conversations, so I have a script to use that makes it more of a casual conversation (please steal this - it works quite well!). It goes like this...
#1 - Give them a brief overview
"Hi [interested person] I just want to let you know that a group of us have started talking about how we [improve something]. This is a really important initiative because [tell them why it is important to the customer/business/employees]. We are still tossing ideas around and I wanted to let you the general direction we’re heading in and give you a little background about what we’ve been discussing. [tell them about a few general ideas to give them a sense of the types of things that are being considered - this should not be long and drawn out!]"
#2 - Ask for their input
"We'd really like to know what your thoughts are..."
#3 - Give them time to process, think, and react
"...and you don't have to let me know right now, but if you could think about it and get back to me with your thoughts by [a couple days later], we'd really appreciate it."
And now, (drumroll, please) the two big what-ifs...
What-if they oppose the change? Then the project is doomed. They'll start telling everyone why its a bad idea and the status quo will prevail! Not true - here is something to remember: if they are going to oppose the change now, they will oppose the change later. If there is a bumpy road ahead, putting off the journey does not make the road less bumpy. Start involving them in the conversation now.
What if they get the impression that I am going to do everything they think needs to be done? Don't let them get that "impression". Be clear with the communication and set the expectation. Tell them that you (or the team) is gathering information from many sources, and their input is a part of it. The team (or you) have to consider all of the input and make the decision that is most appropriate.
If you follow this three part dialogue - most people will not come back with any ideas, but they will greatly appreciate the conversation. For the ones who do have feedback - thank them for their input and learn what you can from the new information.
People are far more engaged in changes when they are informed and are able to have a voice (ever hear someone say "no one ever asked me!"). Don't make changes to them, make changes with them.
We live in an era where data is becoming more and more accessible. Elaborate business intelligence systems with numerous canned or customizable reports that can tell us almost everything - it seems. Are they telling us the right things? How is your business really doing? Do you know? Does everyone in your business know?
How many metrics should you have that circulate through company meetings, emails, bulletin boards, newsletters, etc? Having 30, 40, 50 or more metrics is as bad as having zero. No data and too much data cause the same response - confusion – one of not knowing what is happening, the other of not knowing what is important. A "balanced scorecard" with 60 metrics and all different shades of red, yellow, and green doesn't help people drive improvement.
People cannot act on things they are confused about
When accountants talk about metrics they typically talk in a language only finance professionals understand (I see all of you non-accountants smiling). It's not just accountants. Quality professionals do the same thing. So does sales and marketing. And engineering. You get the idea. Businesses need a limited set of metrics in a language that everyone understands to tell them if their actions are adding up to success (or -gulp- not adding up to success). It does not matter how sophisticated your data systems are at providing reports, you should always (read: always, always, always!) have a limited number of high level metrics that gives everyone a sense of how the organization is doing. How limited? About five or six.
Only five or six metrics??
Ok, so what about the rest of the metrics? Aren't those important too? They are. But not right now. Think about this - you walk into a doctor's office for an annual physical. The clinical staff could run hundreds of different tests to see how healthy you are. But they don't. They always start by checking your vitals. These limited number of metrics provide the caregivers broad perspective of your overall health. Only after understanding your vitals will they perform more tests to diagnose potential health problems.
Your business is no different.
In order to assess the ongoing health of your business, there needs to be a clear separation of "vitals" metrics - measures people use all the time to get that broad perspective - and diagnostic type measures used to zero in on specific problems. Here is a quick process to identify your business "vitals" (use this free tool to make this process really easy):
Step 1 - List all the metrics you currently use within your organization - all of them. Think about performance goals, committee meetings, department meetings, etc. For some organizations, this list can get quite large.
Step 2 - Place them into the appropriate categories. It is important to have a balanced set of metrics (i.e. - not all financial measures, not all sales measures, etc. Use these categories to group the metrics: quality, safety, cost, growth, customer experience, delivery, employee development).
Step 3 - Identify the broadest measure within each category. Ask this question - is there something broader? Is there some measure that would more widely describe business performance for each category?
Step 4 - Obtain and organize the data to create a standardized report for each of the "vital" metrics.
Remember: The purpose of these high level measures are to answer one question - is the business getting better or getting worse? If the old adage of "what gets measured, gets improved" is true, then let's make sure we are measuring the right things!
Imagine this – your business has a critical issue to resolve (if you have a burning issue right now – think about that). If you are like a typical organization, a meeting will be called with a half dozen or more people to “discuss” the issue and course of action. What’s too bad is these “discussions” typically involve one or two people sharing their opinion (sometimes rather loudly) and the rest of the people listening passively and agreeing. Raise your hand if you have ever been in this meeting before. Ok, now put your hand down.
My Opinion is Louder Than Yours!
Opinions are great. They are an essential part of an improvement effort. But, when decisions are solely based on opinions and especially when they are based on a limited number of opinions, it can lead a team astray. Teams that operate this way fall into the trap of confusing activity with improvement. Sort of like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. It doesn’t matter – this ships going down!
Sure, finding the right data can slow things down a bit, but...
There is a difference between obvious decisions and ones that need more data to point in the right direction. I don’t think anyone would need to collect data before replacing a roll of toilet paper on the hanger. You can see the bare cardboard tube; you know it is gone. That’s all the data you need. Hang the new paper.
But when someone is making claims like, “this happens all the time” or “it’s gotten really bad” – that’s your indicator. Does it happen all the time? Like, every single time? Most of the time? A lot this week?
Translation: If the problem is obvious and the solution is simple - just fix it. But, if the problem is vague and you’re not really sure - go grab some data.
Wouldn't it be nice to know before we start trying to fix it?
When I hear these indicator words (always, never, a lot, quite a bit, etc.) I like to use what I call the 12-15 guideline. This method provides a measurement baseline that is quick, simple, and effective at providing a general idea of past performance.
Performing these simple steps will make it easy to see any trends or outliers, and understand the magnitude of the problem. (Check out the helpful links at the bottom for assistance on steps 2 and 3.)
But what if there is "no way" to measure your problem? Think about it. There is a way that data can describe the problem you are experiencing. Besides, you don't want to pour a lot of effort into something you "think" is a problem only to "not really know" if things are better once all of the action is complete.
Some helpful links:
Using the Average Function In Excel: https://support.office.com/en-us/article/Calculate-the-average-of-a-group-of-numbers-e158ef61-421c-4839-8290-34d7b1e68283
Creating a Time Series Plot In Excel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SAgldvOtrhI
If you have ever hit your head really hard, you may be familiar with the bright flash of light followed by a little disorientation, confusion, and dizziness. For those that don't know what I am talking about, consider yourself lucky - it's not a fun experience. Just like it is not a fun experience working with a team where everything is moving along smoothly and then someone starts “can’t-standing” (like grandstanding, but with excessive use of the word can't). When that happens I get all the head injury type symptoms. Followed by a massive headache. I hate that word. Can’t. Just looking at it makes me angry.
Can't, Can't, Can't...
That word has derailed more projects than any other word in the English language. I’m not sure which word is currently in second place, but I can guarantee its not a close second. Seriously, the human race has successfully placed a human being on the moon and returned them safely to Earth! I'm pretty sure we can do this.
As a young facilitator, I used to think some people were put on this planet to make sure nothing progresses. Ever. People who habitually use the word can't are not evil people. They're really not.
They can be a huge asset to an improvement team
“Wait, what? You mean my co-worker who invents reasons we can't ever change anything at all is an asset to an improvement team?!? Chris, have you lost your mind?”
People with this tendency are ultra talented at finding barriers. These are often barriers your team is going to have to overcome anyway. The key is in drawing out those barriers while preventing the language from stalling all of the team’s momentum. Here is a process to make that happen.
How to harness the good energy and block out the bad
Preparing for the meeting that you anticipate will turn into a “full-on can’t festival”...
During the Meeting...
After the Meeting...
Consolidate the ideas into an action plan format, and then congratulate yourself and smile (like an "I just did that" cocky kind of smile). Because you, like Christopher Columbus are a crusader - you just navigated some pretty choppy waters and successfully charted the course for you and your crew to discover the new world. Good work.
For most, snakes are pretty scary, or creepy, or gross, or [insert other non endearing adjective here]. I admit to screaming and running from a snake or two in my lifetime (I won't reveal my age at the time, but I can assure you - that was the fastest I have EVER ran). What is interesting to me about snakes is their ability to swallow large prey whole, and as it digests, you can actually watch the lump of food move through it's body. (you are probably thinking - where the heck is he going with this? Stick with me here...)
I'll spare you the images here, but for those interested, there are plenty of videos on YouTube of snakes eating wolves, deer, and other large animals. The larger the animal, the longer the digestion. If a snake tried to eat something the size of a Volkswagen, could you imagine how that would go? Completely stretched thin, and surely a long, painful digestion. Yikes. So you know what snakes don't do? They don't eat things that are too big to digest.
Are snakes smarter than most businesses? Apparently.
Businesses try to bite off more than they can digest all the time. Think about it. Does your company have a master list of all the projects that have been started and/or are actively being worked on? I've seen companies have lists with hundreds of active projects. Yes, hundreds - with an 's'. Do you know what happens when you have that many projects being worked on at once? Resources stretched thin, and VERY. SLOW. DIGESTION. It takes FOR-EV-ER to get any of them done.
Stop doing that. Find your high impact projects and let the rest sit idle. Here's how to tell the difference.
I'll quickly walk through the steps to fill it out a Prioritization Matrix and use it to prioritize your potential projects. I have a free template to make this set up really easy, just click here to get it.
A Prioritization Matrix is made up of four components:
Here is a sample layout:
Using a Prioritization Matrix in a Few Easy Steps
Step 1 - List all the projects you could be working on (If you use the four quadrant method explained here, you’ll be able to pull all your number 2’s into this list.) Helpful hint: if some of these “project candidates” feel like something that can be done in a half an hour or so, there’s no reason to include it on the spreadsheet. Projects that are bigger and are difficult to estimate how long they’re going to take to complete are the ones that really belong in this matrix.
Step 2 - Identify the important criteria to be used to "rate" each project and put them in the spreadsheet. Then for determine the weight for each criteria and plug them into the spreadsheet as well. (If all the criteria are relatively equal - just put a "1" in for the weight).
Step 3 - Now continue through rating every project for every criteria. The “total” column will automatically tabulate the results by multiplying a project's score for each Criteria times the Criteria Weight that you assigned and calculate a total score for each project. If you are an organization that has a lot of projects, this could be a lengthy process, but you will be glad you did it.
Step 4 - All you have left to do is sort the spreadsheet by your total score from largest total score to smallest and it will sequence them in the order to work through them.
So, back to the original question - can a snake eat something the size of a Volkswagen?
Honestly, I'm not really sure. The better question may be, "why would he want to?"
Something I am sure about: don't spread yourself too thin by biting off too much and make sure the limited projects you are focused on actually deserve your attention.
Thinking of Outsourcing your Internal Audits?
Christopher M. Spranger, MBA, ASQ MBB
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