Favourite Questions to ask in an Audit?

I'm interested in hearing everyone's favourite questions to ask while conducting an audit. When I audit Top Management about the Context of the Organization/Strategic Direction of the company, I like to ask "What keeps you up at night?". This always gets a good discussion going. What questions do YOU like to ask in an audit?

3 Replies

It isn't necessarily asking a question, but during floor audits, I love asking someone to “show me” a task and to have them actually walk me through the task physically and explain why they are doing what they are doing. Even if they are not working directly with the product in question, physically moving through the tasks tends to ensure they do not forget something that would spark an unnecessary audit trail for me…or it reveals something that should be an audit trail. The amount of times I have been told, “Well, the WI says I need to do it like this, but I prefer to do it like this because…” has lead to a lot of interesting discussions back in the audit room.

Also, when I am auditing top management I like to ask, "What are the lions, tigers, and bears that are impacting the company now?". This gets some good informal discussions going and really helps the auditor understand the external and internal issues. Hey, if we can make it fun and casual and still get the responses we need, let's do it.

Top management is just that. The top. They should have a rearview line of sight to their organization. First, I always ask for the org chart. It's an easy ice breaker. It opens up the conversation quickly, so we can move toward the audit objective. I also ask for the Quality Policy because they either have it posted somewhere, or for sure on the company website. It's a way to earn their trust that we are staying on topic and we're partnering for a valuable audit result.