This quote is also from my first report to the FAA local MIDO office, when I was naive and chose not to believe all those press reports about the FAA being the "handmaiden of the aviation industry" and a "tombstone agency."
I was assigned a desk in the Liaison Engineering office with (name), (name), (name), (name), and another Liaison Engineer. I diligently did my work, rarely leaving the office because I had a task to do. I researched every process monitoring procedure in the Boeing Company. I wrote the new procedure for PSD, along with designing new forms to support the procedure. I believe I had it finished in a couple months. I then had a meeting with (my QA supervisor) and (my QA Lead) to go over it. We discussed the procedure, and I told (my QA supervisor) what I thought he needed to do next to implement it. I told (my QA supervisor) I was ready to go back out on the floor to my inspection job, as I was done with the project. A startled look came across his face. He told me that no, he had another project for me to work on, auditing our...QA Manual.
(My QA Lead) set me up with all of the stuff I needed. Auditing the manual was required per our QOI, and (name) and (name) had done it before I started it. I saw that they had only did a cursory job to make it look like we were complying with the manual auditing requirements, but we really weren‘t. There was no official schedule. I went through the QOI on the subject and made up updated Microsoft Word based audit schedule forms, whereas the old forms you had to fill out by hand. I found that we were not only required per the QOI to audit the manual to make sure the QOIs were up to date, but we were required to audit our actual organizational compliance to the QOIs, which the prior auditors had conveniently omitted from their process. I made up new forms to accomplish this. I put this all in a book and presented it to (my QA Lead) to look over and have (my QA supervisor) stamp the audit schedule forms I had made up, as that was required per the QOI.
It never got done. It just sat on (my QA supervisor's) desk. I gave up. I just started to audit the QOIs for being up-to-date with all the requirements and to make them as good as the Prime Division’s QOIs, trying to incorporate the best of all of them and making ours common with theirs. I did this of my own volition as I was receiving no direction from (my QA supervisor) and only a small amount from (my QA Lead) (when I started). I guess I knew I was just being warehoused and kept off of the production floor, and the manual auditing was just meaningless "make-work" they had no intention of ever using, but as usual, I denied it, as I didn’t want to believe it--to come to grips with what that would really mean. I still went to crew meetings with the rest of my crew, though I seldom strayed out to the shop to visit with them because my work ethic always "kept my nose to the grindstone".
At one of these crew meetings somehow the subject of what I was doing came up. I don’t remember what the prompt was, but I remember making the comment that I had job security, as our QA manual was so screwed up, that it would take "a billion man-hours to fix it." I was very thorough with my revisions to the QOIs. I only included items I knew were required. I reviewed every Company quality procedure I could find to make sure these QOIs were as good, or better than, all of them. I was proud of my extensive revisions to the QOIs. I thought they were as good as any of the Prime Division’s QOIs. When I completed them I put them on (my QA supervisor's) desk. There they sat and piled up. They were never signed and submitted for inclusion in the manual. I believe I know why. During my auditing of the manual, I became very aware how our manual was the most primitive out there. It seemed only very minimal changes were ever made to the manual, while other Division’s were significantly revised, and often. (Another QA Lead) read one of my revised QOIs. He said I needed to keep them as simple as possible, because if we put something new in them, "then we might have to comply with it."
I believe that was the reason why my QOIs, which resembled very closely the professionally updated QOIs of the Prime Divisions, were never submitted to the FAA for incorporation in the manual. PSD worked to it’s own unwritten Quality System, and any additions to the FAA-approved manual were simply adding to the risks PSD would get a finding from the FAA, and not in PSD’s best cost and schedule interests.
The Last Inspector