In January, TeraThink began a quest to achieve ISO 9001:2015 compliance. The ISO (International Organization for Standardization) is a multinational standardizing organization that has published over 21,000 international business standards. The ISO 9001 standard (last updated in 2015, hence the 9001:2015 designation) covers the requirements of developing and implementing a Quality Management System (QMS) within a business.
Organizations that are ISO 9001 compliant can show tangible proof that their products and services are high quality. It also shows that the organization actively monitors those products and services to assure their quality remains high. I served as TeraThink’s Quality Manager through this quest. I’m pleased to report that this past week we achieved ISO 9001:2015 compliance certification.
As a high-growth company that recently made the jump from a small business to large, we’ve understood the need to standardize our operations to facilitate future growth. For obvious reasons, it is easier to perform a quality “eye-ball” test on a company with 25 employees and five ongoing projects than it is on a company four times that size.
Our goal is to actively monitor the provision of project management, solutions development, technical training, and management consulting services for our customers. Therefore, we choose to standardize the following seven functional areas within TeraThink: Business Development, Contract Management, Finance, Human Resources, IT, Recruiting, and Project Management.
With our ISO 9001 certification, all TeraThink employees are expected to adhere to the TeraThink Quality Policy:
TeraThink provides information technology and related professional services to end-customers throughout the United States. It is the policy of TeraThink to provide the customers with the services requested in accordance with the related contractual documentation. The policy, organization, and procedures necessary to achieve the required quality standards are described in our Quality Management System (QMS). The quality objectives identified are to support the continual improvement of the TeraThink quality management approach and system.
All personnel working for, or on behalf of, TeraThink are responsible for the quality of their work. Every relevant quality standard is provided to such personnel through training and education of our QMS and included standards. The QMS is continually monitored and improved, as needed, through quarterly meetings of the Quality Management Board, and all applicable changes are communicated to TeraThink personnel.
The benefits for achieving ISO 9001 compliance are vast. Not only can we sell ourselves as providing certified reliable and good quality services to our customers, we are providing reliable and good quality services to our customers. Through our QMS, management is now able to monitor back office performance and its effect on delivery.
To be certified ISO 9001:2015 compliant, we went through an internal-audit and a two-stage audit with an external, independent party. We documented all functional processes within the QMS, creating performance metrics for each process for measurement. Additionally, we examined and observed all relevant functional processes, ensuring they are being performed as intended.
As anyone who is experienced in Project Management knows, Quality Assurance and Quality Control are not separate activities. Our Quality Management Review Board will meet quarterly from here on out to monitor the performance of our QMS. Our teams will monitor their performance of their areas to ensure that the quality of services remains high. The external auditor will continue the surveillance audits. And from a delivery standpoint, our clients can be confident that we will continue to provide quality services.
Are you interested in learning more about our certification and what it took to become compliant? Contact us or leave a comment below and I’ll be happy to share some best practices and lessons learned.
[Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on the blog of Dominion Consulting. On November 1, 2017, Dominion Consulting merged with TeraThink and are now operating jointly as TeraThink. All blog posts migrated from the Dominion Consulting website have been updated to refer to ourselves as TeraThink.]