Category: Standards

Why ISO9001 standards fail

Systems and standards with good intentions are naught without proper execution. Unfortunately this is where most people get let down. People adopting agile fall into the same traps, but at least the Agile Manifesto guides people in terms of values.

Here’s how I’ve seen ISO9001 being communicated at various clients:

  • ISO9001 is a quality management system
  • A core part of ISO9001 is about control and documenting processes
  • ISO9001 is about continuous improvement

Seems harmless right? Unfortunately the way that people interpret this is as the following. ISO9001 is a quality management system. Quality management system = control and documenting processes. Control and documenting processes = continuous improvement.

Unfortunately most people never escape out of the control and documentation requirements, and the fear of failing and audit that leads to a micro-optimisation. This is why the manifesto talks about “uncovering better ways of developing software by doing it and helping others do it” and prioritising “individuals and interactions over processes and tools“.