Monday, June 8, 2015

Magic Question: Does Performance Satisfy Intent?

Evaluating Whether CPA Performance Satisfy Original Intent

After accepting corrective/preventive actions in safety management systems, airline or airport managers simply close the issue and review the issue sometime in the future, such as at a six or twelve month interval. If corrective/preventive actions (CPAs) aggravate the issue, these issues may be reopened and dealt with accordingly. Most airlines and airports are missing out on an opportunity to evaluate whether the CPA continued to prove effective and to document this continued effectiveness.

Documenting CPA effectiveness ensures that other airline and airport managers continue to assign effective CPAs to employees and avoid CPAs that have proven to cause problems or were a complete waste of time. How often have each of us performed a task only to learn later that it was the "wrong thing to do?"

Evaluating Corrective Preventive Actions for Effectiveness

In SMS Pro (a leading aviation safety management software suite), managers either accept or reject the performance of tasks. These tasks may be called "Work Orders," tasks, CPAs, CAPAs, "corrective actions," or something else at your airline or airport. To simplify matters, let's simply call them CPAs for this discussion, for "corrective/preventive actions."

While accepting the performance of a CPA in SMS Pro, managers simply evaluate whether the CPA satisfied the intent of the originator, whose objective was to mitigate or transfer risk, or to recover from an event. The easiest way to achieve this is to use tools we are all familiar with, as in this next image:
Effectiveness of airline airport corrective preventive actions
How much easier can this be? This simple rating communicates to other airline or airport managers whether this CPA should be used in the future, or whether this was NOT a good idea.

Review Effectiveness of Airline/Airport Corrective Preventive Actions

In a simple scenario, let's assume the department head thought that a particular CPA proved very effective in addressing a reported hazard. Upon a future review, the safety committee may decide this particular CPA caused more harm as time went by, or that the CPA quickly lost effectiveness. Safety committees can easily re-evaluate the effectiveness and update CPA effectiveness in SMS Pro's CPA Manager.

Updating the effectiveness of CPAs alerts managers that this particular CPA is GREAT, or is "BAD NEWS" should they wish to try to reuse the same approach on future issues.

Evaluating Effectiveness of Corrective Preventive Actions is GREAT Idea

Best practices in aviation safety management systems or aviation risk management systems dictate that CPAs should be evaluated and reviewed for effectiveness. Evaluating effectiveness is the first step. Communicating effectiveness is the next step. If your airline or airport fails to communicate CPA effectiveness, you are doomed to repeat past mistakes and miss the opportunity to save your organization time and money.

Using Automated Tools to Evaluate & Communicate CPA Effectiveness

Without automated software tools, evaluating and communicating CPA effectiveness is not possible to sustain. Too much effort is required to use either MS Excel or cheaply built aviation SMS software tools. Quality aviation SMS software should be easily configurable and adapt to how your airline or airport operates. If you need quality aviation SMS software, consider SMS Pro. Even SMS Pro's basic aviation SMS tools have these capabilities.

More information about aviation SMS software can be found at:

About NWDS - founded in 2003 by six software engineers, NorthWest Data Solutions (NWDS) provides custom computer programming and systems design services. NWDS creates many types of software, including e-commerce, financial, defense, engineering, logistics, aviation and more. In 2007, NWDS developed SMS Pro™ a web based SMS application that supports an organization's overall SMS through safety reporting, safety documentation, safety risk management and safety assurance. SMS Pro™ is currently used by aviation organizations in the U.S., Canada, Asia, Latin America, Africa and the Middle East to help manage their SMS programs. NWDS continues to support SMS Pro™ and add new functionality. NWDS offers custom contract programming services in the U.S. and Canada and is managed by Chris Howell, one of the founders. Their headquarters is in Anchorage, Alaska. For information on NWDS visit their website at and to learn more about SMS Pro™.