How to Structure Documentation for ISO 20000 Certification

Many entrepreneurs are unwilling to adopt ISO certifications because they believe all ISO certifications needs is a bunch of documents. This is a real concern. If you study the ISO 20000 requirements, you may find the need for producing documents, however, there is so much more to the Standard requirements.

When you start ISO 20000 implementation, you will be required to define your business approach towards the documentation, and this documentation should be created in the scope of your Service Management System or SMS. This scope should clearly define which requirements you must have and which requirements are not mandatory but good for your system. Following this systematic approach will help you a lot. This article will help you decide which documents you should consider, and how you should structure the SMS documentation to obtain ISO 20000 Certification.

What will you need?

ISO 20000 does not let you write documents as per your own choice; even you are not allowed to omit any documents if it is not mentioned in the guidelines. Then, which documents do you need? The answer is hidden in the standard itself. The standard has made it clear that the policies, plans, processes, and records should be documented. While going through the Standard, you will find the word “documented” a number of times. It implies that you need to record the information for that particular requirement either in the form of a document or in the form of a tool.

How many documents needed for ISO 20000 implementation depends on your use of the tool. If you have a tool, meeting the need for recorded information will be easier. If you don’t have a tool, you may need loads of documents to meet the requirements. For instance, if you have a tool, you can record your incidents and service requests there. But if you don’t have a tool, then you should come up with another way for recording the relevant information. If the number of incidents and service requests is smaller, then a spreadsheet can be useful. In some cases, companies hire quality assurance services to find and employ effective ways to record the relevant information/incident/service requests.

How to Structure the Document Set

First, you should understand why documentation is important. Documentation is important because:

  • It is used to specify clear rules as to who, what, how, when, etc.,
  • It supports the decision your management has taken,
  • It offers grounds for improvement.

ISO 20000 never asks for a particular approach to structure the SMS documentation set. However, it needs documents and records for all processes mentioned in the scope. Listed below are a few elements, which are important:

  • Documentation Structure

You should make your policies, process, and descriptions from the same template. This way, you will be able to make navigation throughout the documentation set easier.

  • Sequence

ISO 20000 comprises of two major parts: SMS requirements and processes. While preparing the documentation, you should maintain this sequence. For instance, try to draft the SMS setup related copies first (such as policies, scope, etc.). Then you should deal with process documents. Lastly, your documents need to reviewed.

  • Content

ISO 20000 has included some mandatory requirements for policies and procedures. For instance, the change management procedure should clearly state how the emergency changes would be dealt with. The standard has explicitly specified certain requirements. However, you may need to include some non-mandatory elements as well.

Sometimes, a number of required documents depends on the size of the company. Small companies may try to keep the number of documents minimal. In such cases, they may also try to combine policies and procedures. Larger companies are more complex in structure and processes. Therefore, large companies will need documents that are more detailed. Sometimes large companies face situations in which policies may be stand-alone documents apart from the procedure description.

A Final Takeaway

While gaining ISO 20000 certification, you should not forget that listing the documents is a mandatory requirement of ISO 20000. You need to set your SMS in a well-organized and controlled way and the entire process should be documented clearly.