We did this experiment with the DIS version of ISO 9001:2015 a while back, and I felt it was worth it to run it again on the final released version. Using only the raw text from clauses 4 through 10 of ISO 9001:2015, I applied color coding based to identify three types of text in the standard:

  • Text that was unchanged in requirements, and only reworded, or which remained identical to ISO 9001:2008
  • Text that was added to comply with the ISO mandate via Annex SL
  • Text that represents entirely new concepts added by TC 176, apart from any mandate of Annex SL

The result is actually pretty surprising. We find that 81% of the text represents concepts which were already included in ISO 9001:2008, and only reworded in some fashion. The bulk of the changes — 13% — were done to comply with Annex SL, and only 6% of the changes represented TC 176’s “experts” actually adding anything new of their own thinking.


If you look at entire document color-coded, and zoom out, it looks like this:


It gives you a sense of how little actually changed in ISO 9001:2015. Even I am surprised by this.

This also highlights two major problems with the new version. First, that while so little was actually changed, nearly all of the green text was re-worded in some way, thus making it more confusing. TC 176 should have probably left the original text in place, as it was, to reduce confusion. Second, that TC 176 is not comprised of “big thinker” experts who take the best from industry and incorporate it into the standard, but instead spent much of their efforts complying with a mandate from the ISO Technical Management Board, through Annex SL, instead. The TMB features no quality experts at all on its known¬†staff, although ISO keeps much of the membership of the TMB secret.

What do you think? Give your opinion in the O-Forum.




About Christopher Paris

Christopher Paris is the founder and VP Operations of Oxebridge. He has over 30 years' experience implementing ISO 9001 and AS9100 systems, and is a vocal advocate for the development and use of standards from the point of view of actual users. He is the author of Surviving ISO 9001 and Surviving AS9100. He reviews wines for the irreverent wine blog, Winepisser.


ISO 45001 Implementation