things i used to believe in and no longer do-ISO9001


God, what was i thinking? I was a qualifed lead auditor, and i loved it. I know, really.

Sadly, here are the reasons I loved ISO9001

  • The manuals. There are so many manuals. You have your Quality Manual, the ISO9001 standard itself, work instructions, the QMS, the documented audit results with the suggested actions, the Quality Policy…All in clicky binders, neatly lined up behindd me on the filing cabinets. All ready for inspection SAH!
  • Clauses! Sub-clauses! Everything you needed to deliver a quality service, neatly numbered down to the third level. 5.2.1!  If you wanted to know what to do with calibration of measuring instruments, there’s a clause.  What about the comitment of top management? There’s a clause! Ahh, relax. You’re in safe hands.
  • Audits! As with clauses, there are layers of audit. There are external, and to get your own back, internal ones too! So everyone gets a go at filling in forms.
  • I had nothing else.

I didn’t have anything else. I thought that would do it. Not JUST that obviously, but it was A Recipe For Success to follow, and if you did what was needed you’d get what you deserved. A certificate to put on the wall saying you had ISO9001.

A man sat opposite me asked me “how do you know that any of this improves what we do?” Jealous he was. Couldn’t he see my certificate? Someone comes along at regular intervals to check my manuals and forms! There is external validation!

Turns out he was right. Thankfully my training (week long cramming on the contents of a dry legalese document) mentioned Deming, and in between form filling I was curious and googled “quality deming iso9001” and in those days, that combination of words would bring up John Seddons case against ISO.  And that was that.

I ignored it, thought he was an idiot and forgot all about it. Until I came crawling back to read some more. And after a time, or a few times, hatefully came to the conclusion that he could be right. And another blog was born.

There is a whole blog devoted to the myth of ISO9001, ISOwatch! Good for him I say. I am slightly surprised that it’s still around.  Like seeing Ceefax (or is it Teletext?) on a telly. Surely everything is  SKY+ these days?

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3 Responses to things i used to believe in and no longer do-ISO9001

  1. Pingback: “How do you know that any of this improves what we do?” Em… | ISOwatch

  2. Pingback: Syndrome E, Syndrome Q | ISOwatch

  3. Pingback: Lean, ISO and 6 Sigma all walk into a bar. Hilarity ensues. | thinkpurpose

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