Week in Review – Planning of Changes

This week, I wanted to mention a requirement of ISO 9001: 2015 that seems to be either completely missed by some organisations, or brushed over by others.

I have discussed this requirement with an organisation this week who had not considered the need for it, but now see the value when it is met effectively.

When the processes in your management system need to change, they should be done so in a planned and considered way. When this doesn’t happen, you may see (and recognise) any of the following:

  • internal firefighting
  • people affected by the change saying things like, ‘we weren’t aware this was happening’.
  • performing change only to find it hasn’t delivered what was required

I see ‘change’ as a process, and it is happening more often that you are probably aware of. Changes are just ‘major’, they can be ‘minor’ but still have an effect, for example, changing a supplier or changing authorisation controls.

The requirement in ISO 9001: 2015 is there to help organisations ‘frame’ change and implement it in a structured way. The key to this is to ensure certain considerations are made so that there are no surprises later on. You might want to think of it as a form of feasibility study. Planning change should be documented make a number of considerations, including:

  • the purpose/why
  • potential consequences
  • impact
  • responsibilities
  • technical skill requirements
  • considerations to interested parties
  • resource requirements
  • timescales
  • risks and mitigation
  • integration into the management system

Seeing change as a process will help to demonstrate that sufficient planning and due diligence has been performed before the change has been implemented. The aim is for it to go smoothly, not create firefighting, and ensure the integrity of the management system remains.

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