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Step 3: Develop an Implementation Plan

Determine the project goals

In order to start planning, you will need to determine what your goals are for the project. Answer these questions:

  • When will you start your project?
    • Consider the Gap Analysis as the start of your project
  • When do you want to complete it?
  • Schedule the Gap Analysis, and communicate to all employees what is being done, and why. You will want to be able to make the employees comfortable with answering your auditors questions.

The auditor is the person conducting the gap analysis. It may be an audit team or one individual.

This Free planning template will help you state your goals.

When do you want to become ISO 9001 certified?

  • The answer to this question will determine your timeline. Use this ISO 9001 Gantt Chart as a reference.
  • How long will ISO 9000 implementation take?
  • The shorter time frame allowed for the project, the more resources the project will demand during implementation.
  • It is important to know what your goal is because other dates will be determined by this information.
  • Find out if there are company goals, are there clients that are requesting certification or other circumstances that will determine the date?
  • Your date may be revised later. You will use this as a target date, and as we move along to the gap analysis and creating the task list you will be able to determine if the date is realistic. It will depend on what you currently have in place for your quality system, and how many resources you have available for the project.
  • How much will ISO 9001 implementation cost?

Identify Project Responsibilities

It is important to determine who will be leading this project. Are you the person leading the charge? If so, you would be the project manager. You do not need to identify the management representative at this point. You will need to clarify who makes up "Top Management". The standard has requirements to be fulfilled by Top Management, and the sooner they are involved in this project the better.

If you are not doing this solo, you'll want to take a Team Approach

Begin to fill in the Project Timeline

  • When will you conduct your Gap Analysis and how long will it take to complete? If you skipped this step, please learn about Gap Analysis
  • A Gap Analysis can typically take anywhere from 2 days to 5 days to perform. It will depend on the size of your organization, the number of auditors, the state of your current quality system and the experience of your auditors.
  • Hold Planning Meetings to assign Task Teams.

This will take one or two meetings. Tips for Planning your Planning Meeting. The project manager and top management should be involved.

Select a Registrar

One of the first things to do to start your project is to talk to some Registrars. They will come to your location and discuss the registration process. When you choose a Registrar you are starting a relationship that will last at least 3 years, most likely longer. You will want to make a careful decision to lay the groundwork for a smooth and lasting relationship.

We have a list of recommended Registrars on our site. Here is a list of suggested interview questions to ask the candidates. Talk to at least 3 different Registrars.

Some may have auditors in your area, and some may have to fly auditors in. It will help keep your costs down if you can find a registrar with a local auditor.

Target a date for Introductory training for all employees.

  • You will want your employees to be aware of the project, what will need to be done, who will be involved, and why you are implementing ISO 9001.
  • Use ISO 9001 Employee Training to meet the ISO 9001 requirements
  • Choose a date that is after the planning meeting discussed above. That way you can decide if some people that will be involved in the project need more detailed training, and you can let employees know who will be working on the project.
  • More detailed training for the project team is recommended.
  • Plan training before the Task Team meetings so individuals involved in the task groups understand ISO 9001 before their first meeting.

Planning your ISO 9001 Planning Meetings

A. The Key In An Efficient And Effective Meeting Is In The Preparation

And the most important aspect is deciding who is needed in the meeting. Always try to have a top management representative when key decisions or information must be made or discussed. Here's your test to determine who should be included:

  1. Roles and responsibility at the employee level must be decided, so who can make those kinds of decisions?
  2. If these new tasks will make heavier burdens on certain employees, will those in attendance be aware of this and how to get the proper resources to execute the tasks?

Always put together some type of meeting guide or agenda to keep things on track. Here are some suggested items to include:

  1. If an in progress meeting, take time to review what has been assigned and accomplished to date.
  2. If there are a large number of tasks, consider grouping them by area (i.e. function, responsibility, critical path, etc.) If you can, segmenting duties by the department or other organizational group will allow easier assignment of tasks, since those "teams" who have the most relevance to the task can take responsibility for the larger block of tasks.
  3. Make those assignments at the person or at the team level.
    • Balance roles and responsibilities to ensure they can be accomplished and that no one is unduly burdened
  4. Make sure that appropriate support (tools, labor, training, etc.) is provided to those who must complete the tasks. (For instance, normal responsibilities may need to be reassigned so those who are providing support for ISO 9001:2000 registration may complete their certification-related tasks in a timely manner?
  5. Identify added external resources and/or supporting aid or tools such as:
    • An ISO-expert from outside the company (i.e. consultants, trainers, etc.)
    • Those who are on the company's payroll who may have or be trained to be a resource
    • Management assistance, authorization and permission
    • Materials such as quality manual templates or other elements of the quality management system
    • Added training such as internal auditing or use of planning and document tracking software
  6. Deadlines must be provided in order to keep the project on task.
    • Create the project plan so that it doesn't put undue burdens on critical resources such as by starting phases at different times rather than in parallel.
    • Follow the "critical path" method of project planning by understanding which phases must be completed before others can start. (One example of this is where the Quality Policy and Quality Objectives must be completed early on).
    • Be realistic in your estimates of the amount of time and resources needed to make sure the project proceeds at the proper rate.

B. Conducting the actual meeting

  1. Keep to the meeting plan, and in particular note who is assigned a particular phase and when they agree to have it completed.
  2. Always publish meeting notes afterward, and be sure to include top management and any other "must know" types of employees on the meeting notes distribution lists.