Am I organized? Are you organized?

Do you feel cluttered; shall we first analyze the reasons behind the same.


No time..?

Poor memory..?

Fear of Failure..?


To start organizing our life, we need to acknowledge the cause and make a decision to overcome it. Organization takes time, but when we get into the habit of it, life becomes so much easier!

Configuration Management is not a mere CMMI PA or an ISO requirement. Don’t assume it to be limited to an organization, seeking for appraisal. Configuration management is an inevitable part of one’s daily life.

Let me connect it to an organized lifestyle. Organization starts from the moment we wake up. Even before that, it should start as planning for a day begins much before that.

1. Making lists

There are many things which we often forget in our day to day life. Say like list of grocery items, names of people who we met recently, birthdays, anniversaries etc. Why do we need to stress our brain by handling all these stuffs while the brain has got many other important jobs? And that too in a world with many technical advancements to keep reminders. More over once we start writing, it becomes a habit. And writing a thing or a name makes us to remember the same even without looking at it at a later point. I always prefer to have a pen and paper, which is a permanent reminder. You can have your laptop or smart phones or even a pen-paper to write down the reminders or your appointments or anything else. I have a small whiteboard on my bedroom wall (which is not easily noticeable by outsiders). Upon which I made two columns, one for ‘to do’ list and another for ‘today’ list. “Todo” is a list of general things I have to do. Then “today” is what I need to do, obviously, today! I also keep two things unchanged on the “today” part, which are surya namaskar and exercise. This seems to help. I do wish to include one more item permanently, i.e meditation. But somehow it’s getting skipped. I need to be more cautious. Make a To do list for your day, week month and the year..

2. Making planner

Observe your day. How long you are taking for each activity. Are you wasting your time? Make schedules for your day or week or month. Plan your activities accordingly. Make deadlines and set goals. And do ensure to check your bucket list on a periodic basis. Review your milestones. Write down the thigs you want to achieve this year in your life and break down the yearly goals to monthly goal and write down what you need to achieve them. Get a calendar and place it so that you can see it every morning. Your calendar can remind you to do things on time. Touch today’s date on the calendar and see what’s marked for today and for the upcoming week.

3. Don’t set aside small things for tomorrow

As far as possible just ensure to complete the things by today itself. Don’t leave it to tomorrow as it may make it further delayed or even make it incomplete. Today you will be much clearer on what to be done. You may not have that much clarity tomorrow. Ignoring stuffs, thinking to be a silly thing, often we set it aside and ultimately it gets never completed. Don’t think or ask yourself repeatedly “Should I do it now “. Even that question itself is sufficient enough to get it postponed. Don’t think more, just do it. Also try to remove your distractions when focused on work which have a deadline, whatever they are. Often it is the internet, your phone, sleep, or even a good book.

4. Have a fresh start.

When we wake up on a holiday, just try to forget it to be a holiday. Do our regular works as if we have to go to office. Get refreshed as early as possible. This will change our mental perspective. Now, we have more confidence as we are presentable to the world.

5. Dependency Planning

Don’t make yourself in a que. A que is the place which steals a lot of our time. I’m not mentioning about a physical que, which may or may not be avoidable depending upon your timings. Let me take the extracts from one of my posts, I’m more productive when I’m Busy Suppose there are two urgent mails to be replied. Our normal tendency is to just start writing the letter taking one by one. And in the middle way only, it will be realized that there is missing information and the person who knows about it, is out of reachable now. So either we fail in the task or happens a lot of que time. So think parallel. Will there be a que time..? How can I avoid the que time..? First of all just analyze both cases and ensure whether you have all the information to be drafted in the mails. If not, find and clear out the dependency factors immediately. Then go ahead… no que time.. 🙂

6. Have a room for all of your items

It is equally important to keep things in their proper physical places. Don’t get things around here and there. Keep documents filed. Have separate files for different kind of documents. Store things in their storage area under proper label. Never have a miscellaneous storage place as items may get dumped over there. It must be ensured that you are keeping things that you want only. The more the things, the more the clutter. Go and check your cabinets, boxes, drawers etc. Whatever you find as ‘dust’, keep it aside. Then find way to kick them out of your sweet home. Organized doesn’t just mean tidy and beautiful in appearance. The purpose of organization is to be able to find, exchange, and evaluate items quickly. You can arrange your books in the shelf in the increasing height of your books. But it will confuse you to pick a specific book as it is not an arrangement based on category. So make it categorized and thus organized.

7. Put it back

Putting things back into their cases is equally important. As soon as you are finished using it, don’t leave it here and there. Ensure to keep in their allocated room.

  • Always put your phone in the same place. Have a cell phone charging place set up.
  • Always keep your keys together in the same place.
  • Put your pens in the pen stand after use.
  • Keep your bills in the file after payments.

8. Delegate your tasks and work hard

As far as possible, delegate your tasks. No wonder, you can delegate small tasks even to your kids. In fact delegating is not only beneficial for the giver but also for the receiver. Once you have delegated your responsibilities and made a schedule, you can organize yourself in the best possible way. Don’t give up when you feel exhausted. There is no limit to human skills. It gets molded in the way you tune it. If you make it to work hard, it will adopt to the situation.

9. Set a Vision

Have you thought about your vision and found the same? Many of you might have. I also thought a lot about the purpose of my life, but reached nowhere. I think something is there in my mind, but it’s not coming out. I can’t express it in words. And working behind many other goals, but I know it’s not my life vision. So I’m still trying.. Anyway I’m quite sure that we need to find our vision and work for it.

10. Reorganize

Finally, but the most importantly we need to ensure the practice of reorganization. Things are not alive people. They need to be manually reorganized. Do it on a weekly basis.

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) technical committee has recently released a guidance document- “Guidance on the Requirements for Documented Information of ISO 9001:2015”. The purpose this guidance document is to help the implementers of ISO 900- 2015 with specific regards to documented information.

ISO 9001-2015 allows flexibility for an organization in the way it chooses to document its Quality Management System (QMS). ISO 9001-2008 demanded a set of mandatory procedures. In ISO 9001-2015 there is no demand for record or procedures, instead it is stated as documented information. Based on the new version, organization can choose the type and formats for documenting the QMS. It could be of any media / any type of file (e.g. checklists, flowchart etc)

This doesn’t mean that documentation is going away from ISO 9001-2015. Documentation is required and it should be kept under control too.  It is not required to rewrite the existing QMS in an organization already compliant to ISO 9001-2008 to meet the requirements of IS 9001-2015. Organizations can use terms which suit their operations, e.g., records, documentation, protocols, etc. rather than documented information.

What is Annex SL in ISO 9001-2015?

Annex SL is a platform upon which all the ISO management system standards rest. Yea, many more are there yet to reach the platform.  Some already took their places, including ISO 9001. With the September 2015 release, ISO 9001 also became a member in this Annex family.

Through this post I’m trying to analyze the change in perspectives/added advantages introduced in the ISO family with the introduction of Annex SL.

Annex SL- An Integrated Management System Approach

It was pretty difficult to manage the parallel show inside an organization with multiple management system standards. And difficult for the auditors too. Even though the standards like ISO 9001, ISO 14001, ISO 27001 have many common elements, there were described and organized differently. Thus it was a cumbersome task for organizations to implement them together. Now the similarities across the standards are framed under a common umbrella and removed the conflicts across the standards. Thus Annex- SL makes the creation of an integrated management system much easier.

Annex SL – A new template for ISO management system standards

Annex SL is written primarily as a guide to who creates new standards. The core of Annex SL consists of 8 clauses and 4 appendices. (Illustrated in the below figure)

It is said that every ISO standards should adhere to the clause structure defined in Annex SL. Hence in fact, with this framework ISO itself got a template to build new standards. To address industry specific needs, additional requirements for discipline specific sectors will be added to this generic framework.

Annex SL – Easier for Users

Annex SL provides an identical structure, terms and common concepts for all ISO management system standards. This will ensure consistency among revised and future management system standards. Hence users will find it easier to read and understand the standards.

Annex SL- Easier for Auditors

Auditors will have a generic set of requirements as a guideline to follow irrespective of the discipline. This will make their job much easier.

 Annex SL – Is it not a cost saver..?

Definitely Yes, It saves pretty much time as well as cost.  It helps to have an integrated management system eliminating the duplication efforts and conflicts within the multiple standards.  Conflicts always call for additional resources. If the conflicts are reduced, rework and in turn resources are reduced. Also it is pretty much clear that the maintenance of an integrated management system is always economical compared to the maintenance of multiple separate management systems.

Annex SL – The business focus

When different management streams are integrated, it becomes easier for the senior management to set their vision mission, goals etc. Also the integration helps the management to streamline the entire business operation.

annex SL

In short, Annex SL is a lot more than just a common framework for Management System Standards. It streamlines the creation of new ISO standard as well as provides an option for integrating multiple management system requirements.

Why did ISO 9001-2008 standard changed to ISO 9001-2015 version? What will be your answer in short if such a question is asked by your senior management or corporate people? You can have a detail PowerPoint presentation to explain the so called changes. But in fifteen minutes, how will you make them understand upon the major changes?

Point 1: Integrate with other management system standardsPicture2

When there are many ISO management system standards in an organization, wouldn’t be easier if they are explained and organized under a common umbrella? Wouldn’t be easier if the redundancies among the standards are removed? There have been many complaints heard while an organization is managing its system with a number of ISO standards like ISO 9001, ISO 14001, ISO 27001 etc. Even though these standards had many common features, they were organized differently and thus created a great problem for organizations which are trying to implement multiple standards.

The solution introduced is to have a common format across these standards – “Annex- SL“. All ISO standards are updated/being updated based on this high level structure. This helps to have a common language across all ISO standards, thereby increasing the consistency. ISO 9001-2015 will not be the first ISO management standard to employ Annex SL, nor will it is the last.

Annex- SL streamlines the creation of new ISO standard as well as provides the option for integrating multiple management system requirements.

Point 2: Risk based thinking

Picture3Risk management was implicitly addressed in the earlier versions of ISO 9001. The new ISO 9001-2015 standard explicitly addresses the same. Even though preventive and corrective actions were a part of ISO 9001:2008, it got limited to the quality management process. The new ISO 9001-2015 revision focuses on risk management at the global level.

In addition to identification of risks at the organizational level, the new ISO standard expects organizations to address opportunities for improvement based on the risk analysis.

Now when you are going into a detailed presentation you can have a number of slides detailing the below changes

  • Increased involvement of the leadership team
  • Integration of the QMS into organization’s business processes
  • Alignment with strategic direction
  • Documented information instead of ‘documents and records’
  • 10-clause structure
  • Clearer understanding of the organization’s context
  • Etc etc.

NB: All ISO standards are reviewed every five years to check the necessity of a revision, to keep it current and relevant for the marketplace. ISO 9001:2015 will replace ISO 9001:2008. The revised ISO 9001 was published on Wednesday 23rd September 2015. There is a period of 3 years transition period. Certifications to ISO 9001:2008 will no longer be valid after September 2018.

ISO 9001 standard specifies the requirements for a Quality Management System, irrespective of the industry. For a product development organization/unit, we need to have proper planning, requirement analysis, design and implementation, followed by verification and validation activities. It means that for a product development organization/unit, majority of the ISO 9001 clauses would be applicable. Now what happens in case of a non-product development organization/unit? This article summarises the critical requirements/points to be ensured in such a case.

  1. Quality policy and Manual
  2. Organizational Structure
  3. Roles, responsibilities and authorities of the personnel defined and communicated