TL 9000 Implementation Project Planning (2): Intervals Between Key Project Plan Dates

In last week’s post, we addressed how to develop a basic project plan for TL 9000 Implementation and we reviewed key techniques and tasks for the project planner.  We outlined a technique called “backward planning” starting with the end date and planning backward sequencing key milestones until the basic plan takes shape.  Here are the major milestones for a TL 9000 project plan once again, in order from the end to the beginning:

•    Completion and certification
•    Registrar audit
•    Management review
•    Internal audit of your QMS
•    Measurements reporting (TL 9000)
•    Documents complete and released
•    Conduct initial project plan meeting

This week our post is about intervals, or the time between major plan milestones.  From the registrar audit to completion and receipt of your certificate, you should allow approximately 30 days.  However, this interval will vary based on factors including registrar processing interval and your time to close any nonconformances from the audit.  Therefore, you need to plan for those additional milestones and adjust accordingly.

Management review needs to consider your fully implemented quality system using the required inputs and outputs from the standard and a review of your measurements and internal audit results.  It needs to happen between the internal audit and your certification audit.  I usually plan the management review around thirty to 45 days prior to the certification audit.  Do you see the pattern developing?  One milestone leads to another because things need to be done in a certain order.  You need to complete your internal audit cycle at a minimum of 30-45 days prior to management review.  The plan interval for the internal audit activity will vary depending on the size of the organization and how you choose to conduct your audits.  It can be a few days for a small organization.  For very large organizations, it can be weeks or months.  You will need to plan the interval based on size and number of key processes or organizations being audited.  Completing the internal audit in plenty of time will allow you to correct any nonconformances so they can be examined during management review.

Other milestones like data reporting and completion of documents are like the interval for internal audits.  They depend on size and complexity.  I would plan completion of the required documents based on complexity, number of people that will need to be trained on the process documents and the number of locations where the processes reside.  For a small to medium size company you could allow between 5 and 6 months from the kickoff meeting to complete all of the processes, procedures and data collection activities.   Next week, we’ll cover risk assessment and how to make sure that you have planned for “things that go bump in the night” in order to keep your project on track.  For more information, contact