ISO has struggled with process management for decades. Prior to the 2000 release of ISO 9001, critics chastised the standard for not adopting the process approach put forward by quality experts like Deming, Shewhart and Ishikawa, decades earlier. In 2000, ISO 9001 tried its take on the process approach, to mixed results: while it was an improvement over the inspection-based versions of ISO 9001 that preceded it, it was clear that ISO’s take on process management was built in a conference room, without any actual process engineers present. In ISO 9001, for example, processes simply appear out of thin air, and then need to be managed; the standard never addressed the design of the processes themselves, which any process engineer will tell you is 90% of the work.

The latest ISO 9001:2015 doesn’t fix this error, and largely keeps in intact, and even worsens things slightly by garbling the language to make it more confusing than the earlier version. But ISO still hasn’t addressed process management; it’s more interested in managing by objectives (a Deming no-no) and then rebranding that as process management, hoping no one will notice.

So Praxiom Research, the publisher of the ISO Translated Into Plain English series, just took the bull by the horns and made their own “Process Management Standard.” It’s free, and you can download a heavy dose of sample sections by clicking here.

It’s a dense work, based on multiple actual ISO standards, including 9001, which reference or detail process activities. It includes associated risk management considerations per ISO 31000, for example.  But by building such an all-encompassing approach, users can “tailor” their own implementation and utilize only the portions they feel are useful or relevant. Treat it like a dim sum menu.

Praxiom also offers a process audit tool, based on the standard, available here. This also appears to go far beyond the simplistic requirements of ISO 9001, so it’s only for companies really dedicated to true process management. And, yes, both the standard and the audit tool address process design and development, and don’t assume your processes simply pop up out of nowhere, ready to be managed.

The standard is priced at $250, and the audit tool is $240. No word if there’s a package deal for both, but you can always ask.


    About Christopher Paris

    Christopher Paris is the founder and VP Operations of Oxebridge. He has over 25 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 9001:2015. He reviews wines for the irreverent wine blog, Winepisser.