PDCA & ISO Standards

Management Standards have commonality across specific ISO Standards. ISO 9001, ISO 14001, and ISO 45001 have a typical structure, terms, and text. For example, the elements or areas covered in the standard (i.e., clauses) are:

1. Scope
2. Normative references
3. Terms and definitions
4. Context of the organization
5. Leadership
6. Planning
7. Support
8. Operation
9. Performance evaluation
10. Improvement

Let’s look at the Plan-Do-Check-Act model and how it applies to Clauses 4 through 10 in the ISO 9001 standard. Again, if you implement other standards, it applies.


Change is mandatory. To maintain, succeed, and thrive in your industry; your business must continue to evolve and improve.

A proven model of change management is the Plan-Do-Check-Act model. It is an iterative cycle of continuous improvement. It integrates people, services, products, and business processes. Walter Shewhart (https://www.qualitymag.com/articles/85973-remembering-walter-a-shewharts-contribution-to-the-quality-world) developed the concept, and William Deming (https://deming.org/deming-the-man) constructed the model.
As the name implies, the PDCA model has four phases starting with "Plan." Each step generates valuable management information and conditions to initiate subsequent actions. Let's look at the first diagram.

For further reading go to the Lean Enterprise Institute (https://www.lean.org/lexicon-terms/pdca)

PDCA and the ISO Standard

Below is a very useful diagram showing each phase of the PDCA cycle and the ISO clause it relates to.

Read more on our website where we have created a list of useful resources.
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