5 ways ISO 9001:2015 Can Improve Your Project Management

The International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) is a standard-setting body composed of representatives from various national standards organisations and experts from across the globe. The ISO 9000 family of standards addresses various aspects of quality management within a business.

The standards provide guidance and tools for companies and organisations wishing to ensure that their products and services consistently meet customers’ requirements. They also enable the consistent improvement of quality while ensuring statutory and regulatory requirements are met.

ISO 9001 sets out the criteria for a quality management system. The standard is based on a number of quality management principles. From a strong customer focus to ensuring the motivation and implication of top management, the Standard can be used by any organisation, irrespective of its size or industry sector. The Standard introduces and implements key processes and uses measures to determine the operational effectiveness and continual improvement of those processes.

An integral element of most organisations’ corporate activity is project work. From problem solving to capitalising on opportunities, there are a number of reasons why businesses undertake projects. Project management may seem relatively straightforward. However, the fundamentals of managing a project from start to finish requires a team of individuals with different talents and skills. Unless a project is responsibly planned and its objectives executed appropriately, bad decisions can be made and the project may fail.

Project management is the discipline of initiating, planning, executing, controlling and closing the work of a team to achieve specific goals in a specified time. ISO 9001 provides high-level concepts and processes that are considered to form good practice in project management. Employing the principles of ISO 9001 enables project managers to improve project success and achieve business results.

Create a service culture

ISO 9001 certification requires an organisation to adopt more than just a project methodology. Customer feedback and satisfaction must be constantly solicited and measured. In addition to the project management culture, it’s essential to embrace this service culture. If the emphasis of the project is to deliver products and services to external customers or to bid for prestigious contracts, where quality is an essential prerequisite, then ISO 9001 can enhance an organisation’s chance of success.

Many organisations implement a formal quality management system after finding that their customers want assurance that the products and services they are looking to purchase or obtain will consistently meet their requirements for quality. Those customers are looking for the confidence that can be provided by an organisation offering products and services produced under an effective quality management system, such as one conforming to ISO 9001.

Encourage employee engagement

If projects have a history of being plagued by low staff morale, ISO 9001 can help to instil confidence in employees and increase motivation. ISO 9001 certification provides senior management with an efficient management process, allowing areas of responsibility to be ascertained across the organisation. An efficient management process supports staff and with proper processes in place, staff feel more at ease within their roles. Improving overall operational processes will harmonise the way an organisation undertakes project management and this in turn, will boost employee buy-in. Replacing poor or perhaps even non-existent methods with functional processes invariably leads to a more confident and driven workforce. If staff are made aware of how quality and overall project success depend on them, they will enjoy greater job satisfaction and motivation.

From estimated times to overall expectations, every project team member should know some factors related to a project being undertaken. It is essential to explain the project to the team. In this way, the project goal and the importance of achieving it can be explained. This encourages employee engagement and ensures team members are working together to accomplish the project successfully.

Improve project management processes

ISO 9001 encourages organisations to focus on operational processes and management areas. As such, it is useful for companies wishing to standardise and improve their project management. If an organisation’s projects are prone to unproductive processes or suffer from escalated costs, ISO 9001 certification can enhance performance. By applying and putting the Standard into practice, all project-related work undertaken by an organisation can be significantly improved.

The time and money an organisation spends implementing a quality management system should be looked at in the same way as any other investment. For it to be viable, an organisation must achieve a return for time and effort, in terms of operational process improvements and increased marketability of products and services. Introducing and developing a quality management system will have a major influence in these areas and harmonise quality in all areas of activity, including project management.

Enjoy a strategic advantage

With over one million companies and organisations in over 170 countries certified to ISO 9001, the Standard encourages globally agreed processes and procedures. As such, organisations that implement and run projects are able to use the same concepts and structures in their contractual and working relationships with clients, partners, suppliers and other stakeholders. This facilitates the expansion of project-based businesses worldwide and provides ISO 9001 certified companies with a strategic advantage.

Enhance project management efficiency

Project management teams do not always exclusively comprise of employees. Many can be created or assembled under a contract and include the involvement of professionals from numerous geographic and specialist areas. Pulling together project management teams in this way requires swift and temporary collaborations between groups. The ISO Standard incorporates globally agreed management processes. As such, if team members know and apply those processes, the flexibility, effectiveness and efficiency of project management groups will be greatly enhanced. In this way, ISO-based project management is not only advantageous to organisations and companies, but also offers an executive advantage to those professionals looking to manage projects.

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Rebecca D'Souza

Rebecca D'Souza is a freelance writer.