ISO 9000 standard for fun on the job

Rohit Khare (
Wed, 24 Apr 96 15:00:47 -0400

Especially: "Failure to have fun will not be tolerated."


Rohit Khare -- 617/253-5884
Technical Staff, World Wide Web Consortium
NE43-354, MIT LCS, Cambridge, MA 02139

Begin forwarded message:

I'm a System Architect working for a large corporation. I've seen TQM, BPR, and lately ISO 9000, all try to change organizations for the better. To contribute to this effort, I've drafted a standard to "increase the likelihood of having fun on the job". It is finally in shape to be released, so I've attached it below for (hopefully) your amusement and enjoyment. If you like it, email me directly and I can send you a word processing document as an attachment that has more formatting than the text version below.

As you can see, I intended the document to have a practical value as well as providing some amusement. Please feel free to distribute it to any friends and colleagues who you think might enjoy it. If you have any feedback I would appreciate hearing from you.

Thanks much,

William Stewart


ISO 9000 Work Instruction

Subject: Fun

Document number: 9062114 Revision 2.5 Date Effective: Yesterday Owner of process: Everyone Approved by: No-one

1. Purpose -----------

ISO 9000 standard work instructions are being mandated in organizations around the world for product manufacture, documentation, software development, and other processes.

However, success and failure in most organizations is more dependent on employee satisfaction with their environment than on any other factor. Employees who describe their jobs as actually being "fun" are typically between two to three times as productive as the employee who, for example, describes his or her job as "unrelieved, living hell without the upside".

This ISO 9000 standard attempts to address this requirement by identification of activities that increase the likelihood of having fun on the job. Addition of the final ingredient, actual "fun" itself, can only be done by you.

2. Scope ---------

This document applies to all organizations, and to all groups within the organization.

3. References --------------

The following references are applicable to this document.

a. Adams, Scott; Build a Better Life.

b. Augustine, Norman R.; Augustine's Laws.

c. Parkinson, C. Northcote; Parkinson's Law.

4. Definitions ---------------

Fun: Consisting of elements of animation, bliss, buoyancy, cavorting, cheer, chuckles, delight, ecstasy, frivolity, frolicking, gags, gaiety, gladness, glee, happiness, jests, jokes, joviality, joy, laughter, light-heartedness, merriment, mirth, play, pleasantries, quips, rapture, sport, tranquillity, and witticism.

5. Entry Criteria ------------------

To achieve consistent levels of fun, an organization requires a predisposition to cooperation, enjoyment, tolerance, and goodwill.

6. Instruction ---------------

The following sections identify activities to maximize the possibility of creation of a fun work environment.

Management will: ----------------

- Define their job description as employees of the rest of the organization.

- Provide all required resources for staff to perform their jobs.

- Mandate attendance by employees at no more than four hours of meetings a week. No meeting will be called without an agenda.

- Ensure that progress reports written by employees require no more than thirty minutes a week to complete.

- Place the highest priority on planning to make overtime unnecessary to the greatest extent possible.

- Practice MBWA (management by walking around) at frequent intervals.

- Have lunch one-on-one with a junior member of the staff at least once a month. Management pays.

- Make it known that promotion to positions of greater responsibility will be based purely on merit, plus proof that at least one of the candidate's subordinates can do their work as well as they can.

- Give credence to estimates developed by employees, and refrain from imposition of unrealistic schedules based on non-real world factors.

- On the nicest day of the year, make a company-wide announcement that a severe storm may be threatening the area and the entire building must be vacated by noon.

- Ensure that marketing realistically represents organizational capabilities.

- Share credit for all successes, and take responsibility for all failures.

- Implement profit-sharing with all levels of the organization.

Employees will: ---------------

- Place first priority on fulfillment of the goals of the overall organization, curtailing the construction of individual empires unrelated to business goals.

- Respect all other personnel independent of area expertise.

- Share their knowledge with all other personnel to increase the overall organizational expertise.

- Never employ technical double-talk to impede understanding. Personnel will say they don't know when they don't know.

- Write documents so they can be understood. Brevity will be prized. Clarity will be attained.

- Relate to their boss the way they would like employees to relate to them if they were the boss.

Support Staff will: -------------------

- Facilitate the smooth functioning of the organization in all aspects for which they have responsibility, eliminating bureaucracy and inter-departmental turf wars.

- Never delay with red tape or other impediments required activity by other elements of the organization. Excessive and unnecessary completion of forms will be eliminated.

Human Resources will: ---------------------

- Ensure that all personnel receive a minimum of three weeks vacation a year. Up to three weeks of unused vacation will be permitted to be carried over from one year to the next.

- Facilitate flexible working hours to accommodate employee's lives outside the office.

- Provide all personnel with adequate medical, dental, and disability insurance. Excessive completion of forms will be eliminated, and repayment of expenses will be provided within five business days.

- Ensure that jerks, meanies, and evil spawn of Satan are subjected to corrective action, followed by psychological counseling at company expense if required. Refusal to respond will result in allocation to a peripheral group, 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 personnel at every level of the organization receive at least two weeks of training a year.

Facilities will: ----------------

- Ensure that all personnel are able to see at least one window and three live plants from their working area.

- Ensure that bathroom stalls are a minimum of three feet wide. Toilet paper must have a roughness level less than plywood. Water taps must stay open a minimum of fifteen seconds after being turned on.

- Make printable whiteboards and an abundant supply of markers in at least three colours available to all staff.

- Provide a computer to all personnel with a processor no more than two generations old, a colour screen at least 15 inches in diagonal, 12 megabytes of memory, 200 megabytes of disk, a wordprocessor, spreadsheet, and graphics program, and email and world wide web access to the internet.

- Use only incandescent or full-spectrum fluorescent lights throughout the office area.

All personnel will: -------------------

- Strive for excellence and continuous quality improvement in all aspects of their job.

- Maintain a sense of humor at all times. Voices will never be raised -- occasional laughter excepted.

- Never promise results that cannot be produced. If circumstances prevent the fulfillment of a commitment, notification will be provided as far in advance as possible.

- Desist from spreading harmful gossip about other personnel, and maximize discussion of their co-workers positive aspects.

- Respect all co-workers as human beings of equal value. No personnel will attempt to increase their sense of self esteem by decreasing that of others. All personnel will be gender, disability, religion, and colour blind.

- Refrain from interrupting other members of the organization, allowing all personnel to express their thoughts fully. Personnel will actually listen to the opinions of others. Personnel will change their minds without hesitation when improved ideas are advanced by others.

- Refrain from complaining, substituting constructive suggestions for improvement instead.

- Congratulate others on their work at every possible opportunity. Mention of specifics is mandatory. Thanks will be given for appreciation.

- Never come to work with a contagious or infectious illness.

- Erase whiteboards at the end of each meeting.

- Take coffee from the second pot. Personnel will make a new pot of coffee when the second pot is empty.

- Smile at least twice an hour, for at least five seconds each time.

7. Exit Criteria -----------------

This ISO 9000 process reaches an end-state when all members of the organization look forward to coming to work at the beginning of each day, and leave at the end of each day with a genuine sense of joy, self-worth, and achievement.

Failure to have fun will not be tolerated.

This standard supersedes all previous issues, and takes precedence over the constitution. ========================================================== Please send additions, comments, and requests for the latest version to William Stewart at ==========================================================

John Francini,
| "I have come to the conclusion that one useless man is called a disgrace;    |
|  that two or more are called a law firm; and that three or more become       |
|  a Congress.  And by God I have had _this_ Congress!"                        |
|                                                        -- John Adams         |