AGILE-ISO9001

A Non-Entropic, Non-Time Consuming and Paperless ISO9001 Certification — an Agile Approach Overview

By Giuseppe Nieddu

At the end of 2017, while discussing the following year’s strategy for our company, we decided to get ISO9001 certified. When I was assigned the task, two things immediately jumped into my mind:
Well, I’ll do it, but I’ll do it my way. I don’t want to set up an inefficient system full of endless documentation just to get the ISO9001 logo!

And then:
How can I bind a fast-growing company with the rules of a certified production system without instigating riots outside our gates by our beloved PMs?

So, I thought to myself, let’s start from the processes we have already running and find the minimum distance towards certification while trying to improve the processes themselves. In our company, the Design and Development process represents 80% of our ongoing work and involves most of our people. According to the “sacred” Pareto principle, aka “80/20 rule”, I should start with this process to be most effective in the global change to achieve the certification.

The methodology we adopted (ante litteram!) to manage the Design and Development process was (and still is!) based on the SCRUM framework. Therefore, the question now is: “What do the SCRUM methodology and ISO9001 have in common?” Naturally, the Deming “Plan Do Check Act” (PDCA) Cycle!

One of the most important requirements the ISO9001 certification asks us to address is to log and document changes. So, if we properly map the four PDCA phases of ISO9001 and SCRUM, all we need to do is to log and document the Sprint lifecycle. Using this process, we have to document the status changes of the Deming Cycles (ie, versioning each sprint phase of the SCRUM process) and the job is (quite) done! And in this way, not only did I prevent riots by our PMs, but our ISO9001 system is also still up and running in a good standing after four years.

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