I. Reconsidering standards system and comprehensive standardization
Standards system is known as an organic integrity of interrelated standards in a certain range, while a standards system chart is designed to illustrate such interrelations between standards, used to describe the conception and overall planning of the standards system as a model presenting the standards system concept.
For a relatively mature industry with higher cost for change, the top-level design should not be put into implementation unless the planning of such a design touches the ground. For example, it is not possible to start the production of an airplane or automobile until each of all necessary parts are designed, and the prototype during the designing process is rarely delivered as the final product. Infrastructures require higher cost for any change generally, and such cost will increase after the construction starts and proceeds, because this industry is uniquely known for just one single product that will be finally delivered. Therefore, for such industries, it may be a best practice of standardization to develop enterprise standards system and list the details by following GB/T 15496-2003 Enterprise standards system – requirements, GB/T 15497-2003 Enterprise standards system – technical standards system and GB/T 15498-2003 Enterprise standards system – management standards and working standards system.
Service industry is in the meanwhile characterized by the support of information technological means and its urgent need for innovation. Information technological means, for larger enterprises, commonly refer to industrial software that supports their business. Yet in most cases, the designed prototypes of enterprise applications (which cannot be used by or are useless for others) are directly delivered as the final products; also domestic large service providers are already equipped with strong software developing competence, either by employing developers or outsourcing, making change happen simply and easily. Urgency for innovation here means although with objectives relatively clearly set, practical measures or approaches will only be clearer during the designing or commissioning phase, which have to respond quickly to the market situation and supervision requirements even during the production phase. It is rather difficult to identify all details and make the specifications applicable in real operation and accepted by the market in the early stage planning. In this case, it is challenging to plan from top down to details for standards to be developed and revised in the following three to five years.
Comprehensive standardization, committed to providing solutions for major issues and playing its role practically, has come with innovations in both mindset and methodology, mainly featuring: systematic engineering thinking and methodology, clear objectives, complete sets of standards for development and revision, coordinated requirements and suggestions, effectual practice for continuous improvement, vigorous and effective organization for implementation.
The practical approach for comprehensive standardization is “to utilize systematic analysis methods, build up and carry out the standards complex so as to achieve the given objective.” Standards complex as the result of comprehensive standardization refers to a complete set of standards which are coordinated, optimized and mutually matched according to indicators specified for the maximal overall benefits based on internal linkage or function requirements of the objects and relevant elements of comprehensive standardization. The relevant elements are factors that impact the functional requirements of the object or special objectives of comprehensive standardization.
Not mysterious at all, comprehensive standardization has specifically required to taken into account three key factors when constructing the standards complex. First, objectives should be established according to the maturity of standardization in certain fields, stakeholders’ viewpoint about benefit and fit of standardization, capability of standards development and revision as well as implementation. The objectives will neither be too large nor too minute, since large objectives requiring longer cycle may seriously shatter stakeholders’ confidence, while minute objectives will focus on detailed methods and steps which may vary from time to time. Second, standards complex shall be constructed in accordance with the Deming cycle (PDCA). In constructing a standards complex supported by information technology it is appropriate to adopt developer’s document management strategy in agile development projects, because a software development process generally has some agile characteristics no matter how the lifecycle is claimed. Third, the format of documents in standards complexes is up to the understanding of stakeholders, with regulations and non-normative technical documents to be included into the complex where appropriate. In many enterprises, a more acceptable method for differentiation is “rules for human’s matters, standards for objective things”, where “human’s matters” refer to interpersonal relation and relation between people and objective surroundings while “objective things” refer to objective things themselves and their interrelations.
II. Construction of standards system based comprehensive standardization
Comprehensive standardization is not contradictory to construction of standards system, and in fact they as two independent models may bring out the best in each other when properly integrated. In the construction of standards system, from the national standards for standards system and comprehensive standardization, the relation of the two is like that of the top-level planning and the careful look before the leap, while the two may be harmonized into an integrity with the concept and requirements of the latter being reflected in the construction of the former. So let’s call it the Fundamental System, just to differ from the complete system.
i. Identify its position within enterprise standards system
With the structure of enterprise standards system specified in GB/T 15496-2003 Enterprise standards system – requirements, enterprises have to identify the position of the fundamental system within their standards system in compliance with the requirements of the national standard. Various departments in an enterprise may vary largely one from another in the understanding about standards and standardization, so it is not necessary to include all into the fundamental system, otherwise it would easily lead to “swiping wave of constructing useless standards systems and immediately neglecting them”. Comparatively, the information technology filed is more proper for the construction of such fundamental systems, mainly because existing standards are relatively mature, the staff overall recognition of standards is higher and also there is a stronger technical foundation for standardization. In the enterprise standards system, the fundamental system for information technology standards is positioned as in Chart 1.
Regulation for enterprise information technology standards
- Bank-Level Development Strategy
- Applicable laws & regulations; administrative and supervisory requirements; internal regulations
Bank enterprise standards system
- Information technology standards fundamental system
1.Technical standards system
2. Management standards system
3.Working standards system
ii. Identify major essential concepts of standardization
Given key terms and definitions of standardization described in multiple national standards, it is essential to concentrate and categorize the description of major standardization concepts, including standardization, subject of standardization, state of the art acknowledged rule of technology, consensus, normative documents, standard, technical specification, comprehensive standardization, standards system, international standards, etc. The content of normative documents such as provision, statement, instruction, recommendation and requirement should be described too. It would probably cause misunderstanding about the fundamental system if such concepts and definition are directly used without description.
iii. Propose recommendation for use of normative documents
It is easily acceptable to categorize normative documents into three types, namely, rules and regulations, enterprise standards and non-standardized technical specifications, and provide guidance for use according to the “rules for human’s matters, standards for objective things” strategy. The biggest difference between the mentioned strategy and the idea of “system for people, standards for business” is that there is much less to be managed regarding people in enterprises, despite dressing code, work attendance and other requirements which are not directly related to others but the relation between people and objective surroundings, or “human’s matter” as we call it. So the “human’s matter” here refers to the relation between people and others, while the “objective thing” here means objective surroundings and their interrelations. Besides, the standards are rigorously formatted in the forms of statement, requirements and recommendations, very convenient for management of “objective things”. When universally recognized, standards will be strategically oriented towards management of “human’s matters” through unique approaches of categorization with classification, deemed-to-satisfy provisions and notes, samples and so forth, which will be gradually accepted by stakeholders.
iv. Propose strategy for fundamental system construction
First, combination of short-term and long-term planning: Long-term planning refer to the working plan for development of key standards in the future 1-3 years covering all relevant national standards, industrial standards, Unionpay enterprise standards and ISO/IEC and IEEE international standards in the entire information technological standards system; short-term planning refer to the implementation of guidelines according to enterprises standards under the standards system framework by referring to all relevant standards at various levels based on current situation when incapable of developing the long-term plan.
Second, collocated implementation of “hard” and “soft” standardization measures: To implement the information technological standards system, hard measures refer to comprehensive standardization while soft measures mainly include informatization approaches such as full text search for and publicity of certain standards.
Third, reviewing effect through practice: The application scope, implementation mode and standards framework of normative documents involved in the information technology standards system will be reviewed through practice, and those suitable to the informatization should be reserved and improved while ineffective ones should be cut and replenished.
Fourth, timely handling and improvement: The information technological standards system should be kept relatively stable and handled at a proper time based on the practical effects (Act, A of the PDCA cycle). Any change thereby should be processed upon consensus and integrated into the short-term planning so as to effectively plan such work in the long run.
v. Identify characteristics of standards implementation
Information technological standards may be divided into three kinds accordingly: standards for involuntary, passive and active implementation.
For involuntary implementation of standards, standard users will involuntarily implement relevant standards without having to know about the content or even the existence of related standards of which failed or mistaken implementation will be warned or even fail the users’ expectation. For example, the users of compilers in conformity with certain standards only need to read the user’s guidebook instead of relevant normative documents that is crucial for right or logical compilation of codes.
For passive implementation of standards, users will naturally need to know and follow certain standards as long as they are using certain hardware or software or frameworks, while lack of conformity with standards will generally disrupt the work or fail the work expectation. For example, joining Unionpay means conformity with the networking requirement by Unionpay, otherwise the transaction fails. Users need to read and understand relevant standards.
For active implementation of standards, such standards for information technology generally lead to the optimal order and a foundation for sustainable development. Implementing such standards often causes increase of cost and unapparent benefits in the short term. For example, the implementation of software testing document specifications in the long term will turn the wisdom of individuals into assets of the enterprise, and provide data for continuous improvement. However, implementation of specifications will increase the workload but may not see improvement of quality or progress in the absence of assessment for certain testing.
vi. Propose two-dimension fundamental system of information technological standards
One dimension of the system is based on the objects for standardization while the other is based on the requirements of comprehensive standardization, see Chart 2.
vii. List standards details as informative annex
Standards system framework commonly requires to list all standards details as the guideline for standardization work. However, for rapidly developing industries supported by information technology, it is fine to determine the name and content of standards in advance, but not easy for detailed planning mainly because: there is no data source that instantly tracks the updating of global standards and relations between such standards due to dynamical updates of current national, industrial, Unionpay, international foreign standards; enterprise standards are constantly developed and revised according to market situation; standards that are to be developed or revised may not properly harmonize existing needs over time due to difficulty in establishing acknowledged rules of technology. Therefore, such a fundamental system could list the standards catalog of standards for both active and passive implementation as the informative annex. Standards for involuntary implementation are not taken into account since we don''''t know what they are and also we don''''t have to do anything. Yet we must add such standards into the catalog in a timely manner when they become necessary for passive or even active implementation.
viii. Explain how to implement comprehensive standardization based on the fundamental system
Comprehensive standardization is an approach for feeling the way over stones before crossing the river, and it is feasible for all potential objects for such standardization. As a matter of fact, such an approach is almost practical for all standardization work, by this we mean that the following procedures may be adopted: Specifying the objects of comprehensive standardization, we should first from the standards list pick all standards suitable for direct implementation, propose relevant standards to be tailored based on existing standards and provide supporting non-standard technical specifications; by referring standards and non-standard technical specifications in the rules and regulations, we should develop practical enterprise standards based on non-standard technical specifications that have become acknowledged rule of technology. The implementation of comprehensive standardization, it is recommended to consult SCRUM--a popular methodology in software development and adopt the PDCA strategy for continuous improvement so as to consistently play the guiding role of the standards complex for optimal benefits.