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QUALITY MANAGEMENT SYSTEM

QUALITY MANAGEMENT SYSTEM
July 19
12:55 2016

New requirements and its implication for software industries

Quality Management System has been in practice since the beginning of the 20th century when skilled industrial workers evaluated the work done by apprentices. Though this was done in a crude way, over time certain guidelines were drafted to standardize the process of evaluating and ensuring quality in every field.

Quality Management System or QMS as it is commonly termed is a set of guidelines drafted to enhance the business processes of organizations across varied fields. These published set of guidelines are generic and can be applied by any organization large or small, irrespective of industry. For this very purpose, ISO or International Organization for Standardization has drafted and published a series of standards called the ISO 9000 series. This organization consists of 160+ member countries responsible for reviewing and finalising the underlying set of guidelines.

This series of a set of four standards:

  • ISO 9001:2015 – QMS Requirements document
  • ISO 9000:2015 – covers basic vocabulary and terms for the QMS requirements
  • ISO 9004:2009 – explains how the QMS can be made more effective
  • ISO 19011:2011 – explains the requirements for auditing, criteria for auditors

QMS is also identified as ISO 9001:2015 and only this standard from the above list is used for auditing/certification purposes. The standard name consists of the term ISO and two sets of numbers. “9001” is a unique number provided by ISO and “2015” is the year in which the standard was revised. This ISO 9001 standard was initially published in the year 1987, which got revised subsequently in the year 1994, 2000, 2008 and 2015. It must be noted that it is not mandatory for organizations to implement and certify themselves on this standard. Organizations establish and implement the requirements of this standard based on the strategic decisions of their top management personnel or based on their customer requirements.

The ISO 9001:2015 standard consists of ten sections or clauses defining the different set of guidelines for assisting organizations in enhancing the quality of their business processes. All the sections are structured by following the below approach (PLAN-DO-CHECK-ACT) that was coined by Dr. Edwards Deming. This is also known as “Deming’s Wheel” or “Shewart Cycle”.

Plan_Do_Check_Act

The above diagram is self-explanatory. “Plan” indicates planning of resources – HR, financial, infrastructure, requirements, etc. “Do” describes the operational processes involved in each business. “Check” defines the method and process of review/inspection to ensure that processes are being performed as per standard or defined guidelines. “Act” is the step for improvement i.e. to act on issues if any and ensure that there is continuous improvement in the way a process is carried out.

Now let’s review how software industries can gain from the above mentioned ISO standard. ISO has in fact published standards that are specific to software industries like ISO IEC 90003:2004, ISO IEC 27001:2013 and few other standards like ISO/IEC 25000 series that measure software product quality. But none have gained as importance as ISO 9001:2015 (or currently ISO 9001:2008); the reason being it’s generic nature that helps organization’s to merge the standard requirements with their business processes.

 

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GIRISH WARRIER

GIRISH WARRIER

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