As a quality manager in a project based engineering business, I have yet to come across a single project where it is possible to apply our standard management system with no deviations.
Every project has client specific requirements, or local regulations, or other specifics that mean we have to work differently. For my team, a large part of what we do is establishing and supporting pragmatic working processes that maintain compliance, but give the customer and the project team what they need.
These project specific governance frameworks can be difficult to design, and even more difficult to ensure they meet the needs of all the stakeholders. Inevitably they meet resistance from those who understand that they are non-compliant with our corporate QMS.
We find ourselves working hard to explain that these are authorised deviations and that it’s alright to follow them. Of course, we try to use as much of the QMS as we can.
For me, it all comes down to a very basic principle that applies equally to management systems as it does to project frameworks. I came across this a long time ago and have lost its origin over time, but continue to use and appreciate it.
Remember that people don’t go out of their way to avoid following a procedure. If they are not following it, there is usually a good reason.
If your process or procedure doesn’t work – write one that does!