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Incoming TAG 176 Chair Lays Out Progressive New Strategy
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Christopher Paris
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21 April, 2019 - 11:02 AM
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As mentioned earlier, Paul Palmes stepped down as Chair of the US TAG to ISO TC 176 — the group that represents the US for the ISO 9000 family of standards — and was replaced by Alan Daniels from Boeing.

The three prior TAG Chairs — Jack West, Alka Jarvis and Paul Palmes — all refused to provide any vision or mission statement for the TAG. Daniels appears to be breaking the tradition of shady dealings and consultant-led shenanigans, and perhaps smashing the TAG’s pervasive sense that they are answerable to no one. Instead, Daniels has released a comprehensive Mission Statement that lays out a pretty interesting path for the TAG. I’m warm to it, but feel it doesn’t go far enough, as you will see. Already I’m told some older TAG members are pissed, and frankly that’s a good thing.

The Daniels memo starts with a generic overall vision statement:

Vision – Working together as one team to provide premier world-wide leadership in Quality

Mission – To lead the world in innovation and expertise in the development of quality assurance standards and supporting guidance documents

Already that’s a heavy lift. The current TAG membership is hardly made of world-class quality gurus, but instead a crop of self-interested privateers. In fact, the TAG does no vetting of candidates to check their credentials anyway, but maybe that will change under Daniels. One long-time senior TAG rep has already written to say he was kicked off of the group for failing to meet some unspecified “new requirements,” but the story sounds bogus to me. But maybe something is underway?

It’s also not a “team.” It’s a collection of two small packs of consultant-leaders who fight amongst themselves for dominance, and then a horde of vapid sycophants filling the ranks below them. As the physicist Dr. Bruce Banner once said, they’re not a team, they’re a time bomb.

Daniels then follows up with three separate strategies, each with associated goals. Let’s take these one by one.

Strategy: Create a working together atmosphere that is inclusive and positive.


  • Establish the scope of work, bearing in mind issues and interested parties
  • Provide resources to ensure expectations are clearly understood
  • Define what integrity and ethical behavior mean to the TAG
  • Update and clearly communicate the code of conduct, rules and procedures
  • Ensure methods are established and implemented to monitor results of projects and actions taken

This one is interesting in that it acknowledges that the TAG must engage with “interested parties,” first of all. That’s new; the TAG has refused input from anyone outside its ranks, going so far as to order members not to speak to anyone outside of the group, and then cutting off communication between members themselves around election time (to prevent write-in candidates from threatening pre-selected winners.) If Daniels is serious, the TAG will have to come to a very new mindset, engaging with the unwashed masses who why their end products.

By invoking a code of conduct (which ostensibly they already have, but ignore), Daniels also tacitly acknowledges that the TAG has suffered under considerable ethical lapses. Palmes was made famous for having padded his resume to get the Chair position. Jarvis rigged the election of Palmes, and was secretly writing a book with him, a fact they kept secret until after his election. Key members like Jack West and Charles Cianfrani have intentionally falsified their membership “interest category” refusing to list themselves as “consultants,” despite the fact that they may be the most famous ISO 9001 consultants on the planet. Denise Robitaille helped the TAG engage in some questionable fundraising, collecting money for an event that never happened, and then never answering questions on where the money went.

So… ethics? Mmmkay….

Also, having ASQ continue in its role as manager of the group is highly conflicted, but unlikely something Daniels could do anything about. ASQ is tasked with enforcing the ethics rules, but can’t get around to it since the administrator Jennifer Admussen is too busy violating them herself. With ASQ’s new focus on “globalization” rather than representing American interests, there’s also a valid argument to make that ASQ shouldn’t be trusted with this role anymore, anyway. And remember, ASQ is the organization that refuses to enforce its own Code of Ethics, so one can hardly expect it to enforce someone else’s.

Daniels’ next goal is interesting:

Strategy: Manage the TAG like an ISO 9001 organization. “Utilize the standards we are charged with developing.”


  • Identify and map the processes
  • Identify process owners
  • Align documents and systems
  • Identify risks and opportunities to improve
  • Create KPI’s for the processes and a review process

Here Daniels is trying to ensure that the TAG eats its own dog food, forcing it to adopt a process approach based on ISO 9001. That’s interesting, but ISO’s TC 176 mothership in Geneva has already pulled this stunt, and they have turned ignoring customers into high art. Also, only adopting the process approach and not the collection of customer satisfaction data may not result in much change. They can set internal KPIs all day long that contradict what consumers want. Also, the idea of assigning process owners could lead to some members becoming more embedded in the TAG and harder to oust later.

But in general, this is a good idea. The fact is that most of the so-called leaders haven’t actually ever worked in an ISO 9001 system, despite going around the world telling everyone else how to do it. Maybe it is time they chowed their own kibble.

Finally, Daniels adds an odd duck into the mix:

Strategy: Develop the next generation of quality professionals and management systems experts


  • Ensure an engaged leadership and membership
  • Identify and provide equal and ample opportunities for all TAG members to contribute to the TAG’s objectives and success
  • Provide membership mentoring
  • Develop leadership succession plans

I’m not sure about this one. The TAG is tasked with developing US input on the ISO 9000 family of standards. To try and make it an “incubator” for more quality professionals is way, way out of scope. It also can lead to the Old Boys Club just creating more Old Boys and reinforcing the club mentality. There’s nothing in any TAG 176 charter or mandate that suggests it has any skills in “mentoring” anyone. Furthermore, way back when I joined the TAG some ten years ago, they had a mentor program in place, but never assigned one to me, nor to anyone else. They ignored that, too. So I’m hesitant about this new move.

Also, why do we need “leadership succession plans” if we have, you know, elections? Unless Daniels is hinting that he intends to purge the ranks of the aging, conflicted leaders of yore and replacing them with newer members. I don’t see that as being in Daniels’ personality, though. He’s not a guy likely to be holding a pitchfork and demanding they burn the old mill to destroy the monster.

What’s Missing

What’s missing from the Daniels Manifesto are some key elements that probably should be addressed first. First, TAG meetings are largely kabuki theater performance art pieces, a series of presentations by external parties like ANAB, giving updates on outside views of the TAG. They don’t actually do any work at the meetings. That has to stop. I would cease all third-party presentations — PERIOD — and use the events to actually write draft US text. Every time ANAB or QuEST Forum is standing at the podium speaking, the TAG is wasting valuable time and just engaging in pandering. Let those clowns publish press releases like everyone else.

Next, the ranks must be purged (I know I’m repeating myself) of the conflicted consultants. Let them retire (please, God!) and move on with their lives. But they have to go. Proper enforcement of the member categories must take precedence, and be reflected in the leadership. And CB reps, this may mean you, too.

Next, the TAG has to start standing up against ANSI and ASQ, and become “it’s own man.” The power structure is all whacked out now, and has to be restored. But that’s stuff for another article entirely.

Overdue Nevertheless

But if we look at this as “baby steps first,” then Daniels’ move is welcome and overdue. Until the current crop of conflicted consultants is purged (and, as I said, one is gone already), then they will retain shadow cabinet control and Daniels will be largely impotent. Heck, Daniels may find they start accusing him of treason on YouTube, too!

With the corrupt ASQ managing the day-to-day, this gets even trickier, since they’re in bed with the West/Cianfrani/Hunt/Jarvis/Palmes/Robitaille cabal who must absolutely loathe Daniels. But this is Daniels’ first shot across the bow. Maybe it’s symbolic. Maybe it’s a PR stunt. But maybe not. Maybe Daniels is the leader the TAG needs.

We’ll have to wait to find out. But at least we have some positive movement.


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22 April, 2019 - 10:22 AM
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TC 176 has quite a lot on its plate to digest.  That said there are some things it needs to clear up or its presence as a global standard will continue to falter.

  • The folks of TC176 need to clearly understand that documents in an of themselves, don’t control processes, and in most cases don’t add value.  They are simply unnecessary paper flapping about in the breeze.   Process control is directly related to MTE and well Trained personnel.  The interesting twist is most auditors I deal with, completely ignore robotics which rely specifically upon written instructions during each operation they perform.  Something not adequately addressed in any of the ISO MSS’s
  • ISO also needs to learn that Customers are never interested parties. Without customers there exists no need for stakeholders (interested parties).  Further they should make it very clear that interested parties are those with skin in the game and not Average Joe hanging out at the park bench in stupor from his last booze adventure who is awakened by a truck passing by that might belong to a registered organization.
  • TC176 needs to eliminate the spandex and realize the ISO 9001 is not a one size fits all standard. There needs to be clear versions for Manufacturing, Design, Sales & Marketing, and a Service version. Mixing any of those together or letting them stand alone as many do.  Further, clearly include receiving and distribution in the mix, which is always obscure. Some Manufacturing organizations have all of these things within their operation, some only have one function (aka Assembly).   I don’t think I have ever seen a service organization with a design function.  Since most are moving sector specific with the standards anyway, ISO needs to consider the obvious necessity to support such application.
    1. Terrain Vehicle Manufacturing and or Service
    2. Aerospace Manufacturing and or Service
    3. Medical manufacturing and Medical Service
    4. Water Vehicle Manufacturing and or Service
    5. Inspection & Test Instrument Manufacturing and or Service
    6. Musical Instrument Manufacturing and or Service
    7. Just Service Industries specifically
    8. Non-Specific Manufacturing only

Let the specific industries adopt 9001 language into their own set of requirements, instead of ISO attempting to be the one size fits all “Spandex” it proclaims to be.   Remember one can please some of the people some of the time but not all of the people all of the time.  The ISO MSS for quality has become so general as to not adequately apply to anything.  Let the various sectors decide what quality requirements apply to their realm of business.

  • Not to attack people specifically but there is one of Jack West’s buddies who simply is clueless when it comes to business management, especially related to quality issues. Enough sad on that issue.
Christopher Paris
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23 April, 2019 - 9:17 AM
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You said customers are NEVER interested parties — I figured they were the PRIMARY interested party. I always say the top three are customers, suppliers and employees.

Can you elaborate?

Richard Billings
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24 April, 2019 - 10:41 AM
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Iwith all due respect I would like to comment briefly to each of your ‘bullets’:

1. Your comment that documents are simply “unnecessary paper flapping in the breeze”  in many cases this is true. That being said, no where in ISO9001:2015 does it state that you must have documented procedures for anything you do. It is up to the company to decide what processes will require formal documented procedures.

2. You state that most auditor’s “completely ignore robotics which rely specifically on written instructions”. I can assure you that we (CB Auditor’s) only ignore written instructions  if the auditee tell us that written instructions are not required because the robotics are software controlled, operator enters a code and the robot does its job.

3. You state that “customers are never interested parties”. I can only ask if you have made this comment in jest? 

4. With respect to your comment that ISO9001 is not a one-size-fits-all standard is incorrect. ISO (Greek for equal) can be implemented in any business/industry/service/engineering organization, etc. if it is understood.

5. Stating that someone is clueless is indeed an attack on that person. It is offensive and unprofessional.

Kiss I look forward to, and welcome, your rebuttals.Kiss




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