- The Lighter Side of Work
- ISO 9000 - Fun Standard (update version 1997.1)
- The Lighter Side of Work - Reminders for practicing the Fun
ISO 9000 - Fun Standard
Permission granted to copy, distribute, modify and reuse in any form. Send additions
and requests for the latest version to the author. Hope you enjoy!
Use the force,
William Stewart (seven [at] fox.nstn.ca)
ISO 9000 "Fun" Standard
Document number: 37IWS
Date Effective: Today
Approved by: No One
Standards are being written in organizations around the world for manufacturing,
documentation, software development and other processes.
However, success and failure in most organizations is most dependent on employee
satisfaction. Employees who describe their work as actually being "fun" are
several times as productive as those who, for example, describe their jobs as
"unrelieved, living hell without the upside".
This document identifies activities to increase the chances of having fun in the
workplace. Addition of the final ingredient, the actual "fun" itself, can only
be done by you.
The organization shall be predisposed to cooperation, tolerance and goodwill.
3.1. Managers will:
- Define their job as an employee of the rest of their organization.
- Provide all resources required by staff to do their jobs.
- Mandate attendance at no more than four hours of meetings a week. Call regular meetings
in the late afternoon. Always provide an agenda.
- Ensure that progress reports require less than thirty minutes a week to complete.
- Place the highest priority on planning to make overtime as unnecessary as possible.
- Assign responsibility, authority and accountability as a single package.
- Make a regular practice of MBWA (management by walking around).
- Have lunch one-on-one with a junior member of the staff at least once a month.
- Make it known that promotions will be based purely on merit, plus proof that at least
one subordinate can do the candidate's job as well as they can.
- Give credence to bottom-up estimates, refraining from imposition of unsupported
- Provide a feedback mechanism for employees to communicate to the top levels.
- Take action on constructive suggestions.
- Ensure that marketing positively and realistically represents organizational
- Share credit for all successes. Take responsibility for all failures.
- Implement profit-sharing with all levels of the organization.
3.2. Employees will:
- Place first priority on fulfillment of the goals of the whole organization, refraining
from construction of individual empires unrelated to business goals.
- Respect all personnel independent of their area of expertise.
- Share their knowledge with other personnel.
- Never employ technical double-talk.
- Say they don't know when they don't know.
- Write documents so they can be understood. Prize brevity. Attain clarity.
- Relate to their boss the way they would like employees to relate to them if they were
3.3. Human Resources will:
- Ensure that all personnel receive at least three weeks of vacation a year.
- Enable at least three weeks of unused vacation to be carried over from one year to the
- Facilitate flexible working hours. Allow overtime hours to be taken in time off.
- Provide all personnel with adequate medical, dental and disability insurance.
- Repay expenses within three business days.
- Ensure that jerks, meanies and evil spawn of slime receive corrective action, followed
by psychological counseling if required. Unresponsive cases will be allocated to
peripheral groups, where they are unable to do damage to the rest of the organization and
have to work exclusively with each other until reformed.
- Ensure that all personnel receive at least two weeks of training annually.
3.4. Facilities will:
- Ensure that all personnel can see at least three live plants and one outside window from
their working area.
- Ensure that bathroom stalls are at least three feet wide, toilet paper has a roughness
level less than plywood and water taps stay open at least ten seconds after being turned
- Make printable white-boards and markers in at least three colors available to all staff.
- Provide all personnel with a computer no more than two generations old, a word
processing, spreadsheet and graphics package, email, news group and world wide web access
to the Internet.
- Use only incandescent or full-spectrum fluorescent lights throughout the office area.
3.5 Support Staff will:
- Eliminate bureaucracy and interdepartmental turf wars.
- Facilitate smooth functioning of the organization in all aspects for which they have
- Shorten cycle times and decrease the complexity of processes.
3.6. All personnel will:
- Strive for excellence and continuous quality improvement in all aspects of their jobs.
- Maintain a sense of humor.
- Voices will never be raised - occasional laughter excepted.
- Never promise results that cannot be delivered.
- Provide notification as far in advance as possible when circumstances prevent
fulfillment of a commitment.
- Never spread harmful gossip about other personnel.
- Maximize discussion of co-workers positive aspects.
- Respect all co-workers as human beings of equal value.
- Be gender, disability, religion and color blind.
- Never try to increase their sense of self esteem by decreasing that of others.
- Refrain from interrupting other members of the organization.
- Actually listen to the opinions of others.
- Change their minds without hesitation when improved ideas are advanced by others.
- Refrain from complaining, making constructive suggestions for improvement instead.
- Congratulate others at every opportunity. Mention specifics.
- Erase white-boards at the end of each meeting.
- Never come to work with a contagious or infectious illness.
- Take coffee from the second pot. Make a new pot when the second pot is empty.
- Smile at least twice an hour for at least five seconds each time.
4.0 Exit Criteria
- This process ends when all personnel look forward to coming to work at the start of each
day and leave with a real sense of joy, self-worth and achievement.
5.0 Version Update
- This issue supersedes all previous versions and takes precedence over constitutions.
The following references are applicable to this document.
1. Scott Adams; The Dilbert Principle.
2. Norman Augustine; Augustine's Laws.
3. C. Northcote Parkinson; The Law.
Please send additions, comments and requests for the
latest version to William Stewart at seven [at] fox.nstn.ca.
Thanks, William for promoting and spreading laughter! Truly, laughter is
the medicine of the gods!
Anthony's Law of Force
Don't force it, get a larger hammer.
Adding manpower to a late software project makes it later.
When all else fails, read the instructions.
Clarke's Third Law
Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
The amount of work done varies inversely with the amount to be done.
Cutler Webster's Law
There are two sides to every argument unless a person is personally involved, in which
case there is only one side.
Once a job is fouled up, anything done to improve it makes it worse.
The amount of expertise varies in inverse proportion to the smaller of statements
understood by the general public.
Gilb's Laws of Unreliability
- Computers are unreliable but humans are even more unreliable. Corollary:
At the source of every error that is blamed on the computer you will find at least two
human errors including the error of blaming it on the computer.
- Any system that depends on human reliability is unreliable.
- The only difference between the fool and the criminal who attacks a system is that the
fool attacks unpredictably and on a broader front.
- Undetectable errors are infinite in variety in contrast to detectable
errors, which by definition are limited.
- Investment in reliability will increase until it exceeds the probable cost of errors, or
until someone insists on getting some useful work done.
- The outcome of a given desired probability will be inverse to the degree of
- After a salary raise, you will have less money at the end of the month than you had
- The more a recruit knows about a given subject, the better chance they have to be
assigned to something else.
Under the most rigorously controlled conditions of pressure, temperature, volume,
humidity, and other variables, the organism will do as it damn well pleases.
Heller's Law of Management
The first myth of management is that it exists.
Hoare's Law of Large Programs
Inside every large program is a small program struggling to get out.
Imhoff's Law of Bureaucracy
The organization of any bureaucracy is very much like a septic tank - the REALLY big
chunks always rise to the top.
Law of Computer Programming
- Any given program when running, is obsolete.
- Any given program costs more and takes longer.
- If a program is useful, it will have to be changed.
- If a program is useless, it will have to be documented.
- Any given program will expand to fill all available memory.
- The value of a program is proportional to the weight of its output.
- Program complexity grows until it exceeds the capability of the programmer who must
- Make it possible for programmers to write programs in English and you will find that
programmers cannot write in English.
Meskimen's Law of Quality
There's never time to do it right, but always time to do it over.
Murphy's Law of Thermodynamics
Things get worse under pressure.
Murphy's Third Law
In any field of scientific endeavor, anything that can go wrong will go wrong.
Murphy's Fourth Law
If there is a possibility of several things going wrong, the one that will cause the
most damage will be the one to go wrong.
90% Rule of Project Schedules
The first ninety percent of the task takes ninety percent of the time and the last ten
percent takes the other ninety percent.
Osborn's Law of Consistency
Variables won't, constants aren't.
O'Toole's Commentary on Murphy's Laws
Murphy was an optimist.
Rudin's Law of Crisis Management
In a crisis that forces a choice to be made among alternative courses of action, most
people will choose the worst one possible.
Rule of Accuracy
When working toward the solution of a problem, it always helps you to know the answer.
It works better if you plug it in.
The chief cause of problems is solutions.
Build a system that even a fool can use and only a fool will want to use it.
The Law of Possibility
If it happens, it must be possible.
The Ordering Principle
Those supplies necessary for yesterday's experiment must be ordered by no later that
Truths of Management
- Think before you act; it's not your money.
- All good management is the expression of one great idea.
- No executive devotes effort to proving themselves wrong.
- Cash in must exceed cash out.
- Management capability is always less than the organization actually needs.
- Either an executive can do their job or they can't.
- If sophisticated calculations are needed to justify an action, don't do it.
- If you are doing something wrong, you will do it badly.
- If you are attempting the impossible, you will fail.
- The easiest way of making money is to stop losing it.
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