After 15 years working in web development, we have developed processes that are reliable but flexible enough to guide ourselves and our clients through any project. So last year we put them to the test and applied for the ISO 9001:2015 accreditation. We were successfully acknowledged by ISO in the Autumn of 2017.
To gain ISO accreditation, we put our processes on paper, via the Atlassian suite in a Quality Management System, and rigorously tested them over time. After ironing out a few creases along the way, we were delighted when our tried and tested processes gained recognition. You can read more about this process in our initial blog on the ISO 9001:2015 accreditation.
But the work didn’t stop there. Part of being accredited means continuing to meet the ISO standards, as well as a committing to continual improvement. Therefore, we sustain our ISO 9001:2015 commitment in the following ways:
Continual Development of Processes
Technology is constantly changing; therefore our processes must too. After completing any project, we host a retrospective meeting where Project Managers, Developers, Clients, and any other stakeholders discuss the highs and lows of the project overall. Any areas for discussion are highlighted, documented and improved on for the future. We also work to highlight particular successes within the project’s processes and see if they can be applied anywhere else.
Early on, we highlighted the importance of full company involvement in projects. Therefore, everyone was empowered and encouraged to contribute to the QMS. Each task we conduct is visualised as a ticket: primarily, our Quality Assurance team raise issues against these tickets when they see a fault in a process. Actually, anyone in the company can raise these issues, which are then reviewed monthly by the entire QA team before being escalated to a full-scale audit.
Effective and efficient use of Confluence
To initially document our processes, we adopted the use of the Atlassian Suite and software including Bamboo and Stash. This allowed us to create a bespoke solution to host documentation and our Quality Management System. Containing approximately 250 pages, Confluence is an extensive solution that gives our clients the reassurance they need to know that they are in the right pair of hands.
Following a settling period, we are now making leaps to optimise the system and to ensure that details are available where they can be most useful from every perspective within the company.
We are now reviewing top-level documents to clearly and simply state the appropriate process, replacing historical documents which may have had a confused hierarchy or contained unnecessary amounts of detail. Technical documentation is then available to provide finer detail for those who are interested. This process ensures users can find the most relevant and useful information faster; it also also allows new staff to quickly become acquainted with our processes, without facing an intimidating level of detail.
As mentioned, we continually strive to improve our processes. However, with such a dynamic environment involving multiple departments, it can be easy to let processes fall by the wayside. Therefore our Internal Auditor, Chris, regularly audits process compliance within the company. He does this by assigning each process a Business Risk Factor.
Risk can be set anywhere on a scale of high, medium, and low. High risk items are audited every month, whereas low risk issues are audited once a year. In addition, audit requests can come from the Quality Assurance team who review issues raised by individuals and line managers across all departments. We’ve seen a wide range of issues raised, from preferred contact form usage to more complex procedure streamlining.
In an audit, issue tags are investigated and feedback is received from all stakeholders for the process. The process is then appropriately updated and communicated to all members affected.
As the Quality Management System continues to mature, processes are streamlined and grouped. This allows our Internal Auditor to spend more time focusing on fewer issues, in order to conduct the high quality audits we require to achieve our self-set standards.
We strive to not only improve process, but also our skill set. We commit a flexible budget to the development of our staff each month through conferences, peer training, and industry training sessions. Similar to all projects at CTI, we raise continual improvement projects via a ticket. Each Continual Improvement ticket is tagged to an epic; epics are set out by the operations board and each relate to the achievement of a set business goal.
Since the conception of our QMS, we’ve completed 754 Continual Improvement Tickets, with another 303 currently in progress. Ranging from conference attendance, to getting more plants for the office, improvement tickets improve all areas of the business from the empowerment of staff, to our relationship with clients. We have even built a new system to allow the implementation of historical data to inform strategic project decisions,
Since we have achieved ISO9001:2015 accreditation status, we continually strive to improve and develop our processes.
In light of GDPR and recent data security breaches in the news, we are looking to achieve ISO 27001 status next. This accreditation would see us achieving an extremely high level of commitment and active development towards data security for ourselves and clients.
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