This post may be a bit off the wall, but worth consideration (well, I think so, anyway – and it’s my blog)!  Many years ago, when a relatively new engineer in a large multinational services company, there was a manager of one of the operational sites who instilled fear in the members of the projects team I worked with.  One day somebody suggested, probably in jest, that he was shy.  That got me thinking – perhaps he really was shy and his attitude (which would have been deemed bullying today) was his way of coping.  I had that in mind on my next visit to his site and, changing my approach to that of dealing with a shy person, we got on brilliantly.  Continue reading

Putting Practice into Theory

If you ever stop learning you should probably scan for your name in the obituary column of you local paper.  It’s never too late to start a programme of formal study.  I had entered the quality management discipline from engineering, not because I saw it as a field I was interested in but because I was offered a job that offered a better salary and a move to a new area.  Continue reading


As a fan of the late Terry Pratchett’s Discworld books, I recall one of the passing jokes in a televised story: one of the technical the wizards had developed a computer run by ants and the sign on the front (viewed briefly as the camera panned across a shot) read “Anthill Inside”.  At the time, a well-known brand of CPUs for personal computers had a similar sounding advertisement. Continue reading

A New Approach to Auditing

I’d like to return to an idea I wrote about several years ago – something I’ll call the 5AQ approach (five audit questions)!

Last time, I suggested this (which was originally proposed by David Hoyle) for internal audits, but I now believe it has a far wider application as it requires a process-oriented approach rather than one based on the formal documentation. Continue reading