ISO 9001:2015 Clause 6.3 Planning of changes

ISO 9001:2015 Requirements

When the organization determines the need for changes to the quality management system, the changes shall be carried out in a planned manner.

The organization shall consider:
a) the purpose of the changes and their potential consequences;
b) the integrity of the quality management system;
c) the availability of resources;
d) the allocation or reallocation of responsibilities and authorities.

1) When the organization determines the need for changes to the quality management system, the changes shall be carried out in a planned manner.

Absolutely, when an organization identifies the need for changes to its quality management system (QMS), it’s crucial to carry out those changes in a planned and systematic manner. This approach ensures that the integrity and effectiveness of the QMS are maintained throughout the change process. Identify the reasons for the change, whether they stem from internal improvements, external requirements, customer feedback, or other sources. Evaluate the potential impacts of the proposed changes on various aspects of the QMS, such as processes, procedures, documentation, resources, and compliance with standards. Develop a comprehensive plan that outlines the scope of the changes, the resources required, the timeline, and the responsible individuals or teams. Ensure that all relevant stakeholders, both internal (employees) and external (customers, suppliers, regulatory bodies), are informed about the upcoming changes and the reasons behind them. Identify potential risks associated with the changes and develop mitigation strategies to minimize negative impacts. Update any relevant documents, such as procedures, work instructions, and policies, to reflect the new processes accurately. Provide training to employees who will be affected by the changes, ensuring they understand their roles and responsibilities in the updated QMS. If feasible, conduct pilot tests or simulations to validate the effectiveness of the changes before implementing them organization-wide. Roll out the changes across the organization according to the planned timeline. Monitor the process closely to ensure that it’s proceeding as intended. Continuously assess the performance of the updated QMS to verify that it’s achieving the desired outcomes and meeting quality objectives. Conduct regular reviews of the updated QMS to identify areas for further improvement. This could involve collecting feedback from employees, customers, and other stakeholders. If any issues or deviations from the expected outcomes arise, take corrective actions to address them promptly and prevent recurrence. Present the changes and their impacts to top management during management review meetings. This ensures that leadership is aware of the changes and their effects on the organization’s overall objectives. By following a planned approach, an organization can minimize disruptions, maintain quality standards, and facilitate a smooth transition to an improved quality management system. It’s also essential to maintain documentation of the change process to demonstrate compliance with relevant quality standards and regulations.

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1.The organization shall consider the purpose of the changes and their potential consequences

Considering the purpose of changes and their potential consequences is a fundamental aspect of effective change management within an organization. This process involves thoughtful planning, assessment, and communication to ensure that changes are implemented smoothly and with minimal disruption. It’s essential to clearly define and communicate the reasons behind the proposed changes. This helps employees and stakeholders understand the need for change and align their efforts towards the desired outcomes. Whether the changes are driven by technological advancements, market shifts, regulatory requirements, or other factors, a well-articulated purpose fosters better understanding and acceptance. Thoroughly assessing the potential consequences of changes is crucial. This includes considering both positive and negative impacts on various aspects of the organization, such as processes, people, technology, and culture. Anticipating these consequences allows the organization to prepare for challenges, minimize risks, and take advantage of opportunities. Identifying and analyzing potential risks associated with the changes is a vital step. This involves evaluating factors like financial implications, operational disruptions, employee resistance, and customer impact. By understanding these risks, organizations can develop mitigation strategies and contingency plans to address challenges that may arise during the implementation of changes. Involving key stakeholders throughout the change management process is essential. This includes employees, managers, customers, suppliers, and any other parties who may be affected by the changes. Engaging stakeholders helps in gathering valuable insights, addressing concerns, and gaining support for the proposed changes. Clear and effective communication is central to successful change management. Communicate the purpose of the changes, their potential consequences, and the anticipated benefits to all relevant parties. Regular updates and opportunities for feedback create transparency and build trust among stakeholders. If the changes involve new processes, technologies, or skills, providing adequate training and support is crucial. This ensures that employees are equipped to handle the changes and minimizes the risk of disruptions due to a lack of knowledge. Establishing key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure the impact of changes is important. Regularly monitor progress against these indicators to assess the effectiveness of the changes and identify any adjustments needed. Recognize that change is an ongoing process, and the organization should be adaptable to unforeseen circumstances. Being open to making adjustments based on feedback and new information ensures that the organization remains responsive to evolving needs. In summary, considering the purpose of changes and their potential consequences is a strategic approach that helps organizations navigate the complexities of change management. By thoughtfully planning, assessing risks, and engaging stakeholders, organizations can increase the likelihood of successful change implementation and achieve their desired outcomes.

3) The organization shall consider the the integrity of the quality management system

Considering the integrity of the quality management system (QMS) is a crucial aspect of the change management process within an organization, especially if the changes being implemented have the potential to impact the QMS. The QMS outlines the processes, procedures, and standards that an organization follows to ensure the quality of its products or services. When changes are proposed, it’s important to assess how they might impact the QMS. This involves evaluating whether the changes will alter existing processes, procedures, or controls that are part of the QMS. Assessing the potential impact helps in identifying areas where the QMS might be affected and allows for appropriate adjustments. If the organization operates in a regulated industry or adheres to certain quality standards (e.g., ISO 9001), any changes made must align with these requirements. It’s crucial to ensure that the proposed changes do not compromise the organization’s ability to meet quality and regulatory standards. The QMS relies on accurate and up-to-date documentation of processes, procedures, and guidelines. When changes are implemented, the related documentation must be updated accordingly. This ensures that employees have the correct information and instructions to follow within the new context. If changes affect how employees perform their tasks or interact with the QMS, proper training should be provided. Ensuring that employees are trained on the updated processes helps maintain consistency and quality. Changes can introduce new risks or modify existing ones within the organization’s processes. It’s important to assess these risks and integrate them into the QMS’s risk management framework. Organizations with a strong QMS often emphasize continuous improvement. Changes can present opportunities to enhance the QMS by incorporating best practices or innovative approaches. Organizations should consider how the changes align with their continuous improvement goals. Depending on the nature of the changes, testing and validation may be necessary to ensure that the QMS functions as intended. This could involve conducting tests to verify that processes and controls within the QMS are effective in the new context. Internal and external audits are part of maintaining the integrity of the QMS. When changes are introduced, audits should take into account the updated processes and controls to ensure they meet quality standards. Leadership plays a pivotal role in ensuring that changes align with the organization’s quality goals. Leadership should support and drive change initiatives that maintain or enhance the integrity of the QMS. Clear communication with employees and stakeholders about changes that impact the QMS is essential. This helps everyone understand the changes, their implications, and any adjustments required in their roles or processes. Incorporating the QMS into the change management process ensures that changes are aligned with the organization’s quality objectives and regulatory requirements. By taking a systematic and integrated approach, organizations can implement changes while upholding the integrity of their QMS and maintaining the overall quality of their products or services.

4) The organization shall consider the the availability of resources

Considering the availability of resources is a critical aspect of the change management process within an organization. Implementing changes often requires allocating resources such as finances, personnel, technology, time, and infrastructure. Failing to adequately address resource availability can lead to project delays, inefficiencies, and even project failure. At the outset of the change management process, it’s important to assess the resources required to implement the proposed changes. This includes identifying the types and quantities of resources needed, along with their associated costs. Changes can involve significant costs, ranging from technology upgrades to training programs. Organizations should create a budget that accounts for these expenses and ensures that the necessary resources are available to fund the change initiatives. Adequate staffing is crucial for successful change implementation. Organizations should assess whether they have the right people with the necessary skills to manage and execute the changes. If additional skills or personnel are needed, plans should be developed for recruitment, training, or allocation of existing staff. Many changes involve technology upgrades or modifications to existing systems. Organizations must assess whether their current technology infrastructure is capable of supporting the changes. If not, decisions need to be made regarding technology procurement, implementation, and integration. Time is a valuable resource, and change initiatives often have timelines that need to be adhered to. Organizations should consider whether the proposed changes are feasible within the allotted time-frame and whether resource availability aligns with the project schedule. Resource shortages or misallocations can lead to increased project risks. Organizations should identify potential resource-related risks and develop contingency plans to address these challenges if they arise. In situations where resources are limited, it’s essential to prioritize changes based on their strategic importance, potential benefits, and resource requirements. This helps ensure that resources are allocated to changes that align with the organization’s goals and provide the most value. Communication with stakeholders is crucial when resource availability is a concern. Managing expectations and explaining the resource requirements and limitations can help in gaining support and understanding from stakeholders. Organizations should establish a clear strategy for resource allocation during the change management process. This strategy could involve decision-making frameworks, approval processes, and guidelines for reallocating resources if necessary. Throughout the change process, it’s important to monitor resource utilization and adjust plans if resource availability changes. This flexibility allows the organization to adapt to unforeseen circumstances. Considering resource availability ensures that change initiatives are realistic and achievable. By accurately assessing, planning for, and managing resources, organizations can increase the likelihood of successful change implementation and minimize disruptions caused by resource shortages.

5) The organization shall consider the allocation or reallocation of responsibilities and authorities

Considering the allocation or reallocation of responsibilities and authorities is a crucial aspect of the change management process within an organization. Changes often bring about shifts in roles, responsibilities, and decision-making authority. Ensuring that these changes are carefully managed and communicated helps maintain clarity, accountability, and effective organizational functioning. When changes are introduced, roles and responsibilities may need to be redefined or adjusted. Clear communication is essential to avoid confusion and ensure that employees understand their new roles and how they contribute to the overall goals of the organization. Changes can impact decision-making authority within the organization. This might involve elevating certain individuals or teams to make critical decisions related to the changes. Conversely, existing decision-making structures might need to be adjusted to accommodate new processes or procedures. Changes can lead to shifts in the organizational structure. This could involve creating new departments, teams, or reporting lines. Organizations should assess whether the existing structure supports the changes or if adjustments are necessary for smoother implementation. Effective communication is key when reallocating responsibilities and authorities. All relevant parties should be informed about changes in roles and decision-making authority to ensure that everyone is on the same page. If employees are taking on new responsibilities or roles, providing training and development opportunities can help them acquire the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in their new capacities. Clearly defined responsibilities and authorities enhance accountability. When roles and decision-making authority are reallocated, individuals should understand their areas of accountability and the expectations that come with their roles. Designating change champions or leaders who are responsible for guiding and supporting the implementation of changes can facilitate a smoother transition. These individuals can help bridge the gap between the old and new responsibilities. When reallocating responsibilities and authorities, ensure that these changes align with the organization’s strategic goals. Changes should support the overall direction of the organization and contribute to its success. When making decisions about role allocation, involving key stakeholders, including employees and managers, can help gather insights and ensure that changes are well-received. Develop transition plans that outline how responsibilities and authorities will shift over time. This can help minimize disruptions and provide a clear road map for employees to follow. Conduct an impact analysis to understand how changes in responsibilities and authorities might affect different parts of the organization. This analysis can guide decision-making and help address potential challenges. Regularly gather feedback from employees and stakeholders about the effectiveness of the reallocation of responsibilities and authorities. Use this feedback to make necessary adjustments and improvements. Incorporating responsibility and authority considerations into the change management process ensures that changes are aligned with the organization’s structure, goals, and operational needs. By managing these aspects thoughtfully, organizations can navigate transitions more smoothly and maintain a productive and accountable workforce.

Document Information Required

ISO 9001:2015 Clause 6.3 focuses on the planning of changes within the Quality Management System (QMS). This clause emphasizes the importance of carefully planning and controlling changes to ensure that they are implemented effectively and do not negatively impact product or service quality. While the specific documents and records required may vary based on the organization’s context, here are the typical documents and records associated with ISO 9001:2015 Clause 6.3:

  1. Change Management Procedure: A documented procedure outlining the organization’s approach to planning and implementing changes within the QMS. This procedure should define the steps for evaluating, approving, communicating, and implementing changes.
  2. Change Request Form: A standardized form used to initiate a request for a change within the QMS. This form should capture information such as the reason for the change, the proposed changes, potential impacts, and the individuals involved in the change process.
  3. Change Impact Assessment: A document that assesses the potential impact of the proposed change on various aspects of the organization, such as processes, products, services, resources, and stakeholders. It helps in understanding the scope of the change and its implications.
  4. Risk Assessment and Mitigation Plan: A document that identifies potential risks associated with the change and outlines strategies to mitigate these risks. This can help in planning for and managing potential negative consequences of the change.
  5. Resource Allocation Plan: A plan that outlines the resources required to implement the change successfully. This includes human resources, financial resources, technology, and any other necessary assets.
  6. Communication Plan: A plan that outlines how information about the change will be communicated to relevant stakeholders, both internal and external. It should specify the timing, channels, and content of communication.
  7. Approval Documentation: Records of approvals obtained from relevant authorities for implementing the change. This could include signatures, dates, and any additional comments or considerations.
  8. Training Plan: If the change requires employees to acquire new skills or knowledge, a plan should be documented detailing the training needs, methods, and schedules.
  9. Updated Documentation: Any existing documentation affected by the change should be updated accordingly. This includes process documents, work instructions, forms, and manuals.
  10. Test and Validation Records: If the change involves new processes, systems, or equipment, records of testing, validation, and verification activities should be documented to ensure that the change meets quality and performance requirements.
  11. Monitoring and Review Records: Records of how the change is being monitored and reviewed post-implementation. This can include performance metrics, feedback from stakeholders, and any adjustments made based on reviews.
  12. Lessons Learned Report: After the change has been implemented, a lessons learned report can provide insights into the effectiveness of the change process, including what went well and areas for improvement.

Remember, the specific documents and records required for Clause 6.3 will depend on the nature of the changes being planned, the organization’s processes, and its QMS structure. It’s important to tailor the documentation to your organization’s context while ensuring that it aligns with the requirements of ISO 9001:2015.

Example Change Management Procedure

1. Purpose: This procedure outlines the process for evaluating, planning, and implementing changes within the organization’s Quality Management System (QMS) to ensure that changes are effectively managed and do not adversely affect product or service quality.

2. Scope: This procedure applies to all changes that impact the QMS, processes, products, services, or other elements within the organization.

3. Responsibilities:

  • The Quality Manager is responsible for overseeing the change management process.
  • Department Managers are responsible for initiating change requests and providing necessary information for evaluation.
  • Cross-functional teams may be established to assess the impact of changes.

4. Procedure:

4.1. Initiation of Change:

  • Any employee can initiate a change by completing the “Change Request Form” (Appendix A).
  • The form should include a description of the change, reasons for the change, potential impacts, and the proposed timeline.

4.2. Impact Assessment:

  • The Quality Manager reviews the change request and forms a cross-functional team to assess the potential impacts of the change.
  • The team evaluates how the change will affect processes, products, services, resources, and stakeholders.
  • The team conducts a risk assessment to identify potential risks associated with the change.

4.3. Change Proposal:

  • The cross-functional team prepares a change proposal that includes the findings from the impact assessment and risk assessment.
  • The proposal outlines recommended actions, resource requirements, and a communication plan.

4.4. Approval and Authorization:

  • The change proposal is submitted to the relevant department manager and other stakeholders for approval.
  • The department manager reviews the proposal and seeks necessary approvals from senior management or designated decision-makers.
  • Approval is documented, and authorized personnel sign the approval section of the change proposal.

4.5. Resource Allocation and Communication:

  • Upon approval, the necessary resources, including human resources, finances, and technology, are allocated as per the resource allocation plan.
  • The communication plan is implemented to ensure that all relevant stakeholders are informed about the change.

4.6. Documentation Update:

  • Any affected documentation, such as process documents, work instructions, and forms, is updated to reflect the approved changes.

4.7. Testing and Validation:

  • If applicable, testing and validation activities are conducted to ensure that the change meets quality and performance requirements.
  • Test results and validation records are documented.

4.8. Implementation:

  • The change is implemented as per the approved plan.
  • Employees are trained on the new processes or procedures, if required.

4.9. Monitoring and Review:

  • The change is monitored and reviewed for effectiveness post-implementation.
  • Performance metrics and feedback from stakeholders are gathered and analyzed.

4.10. Lessons Learned:

  • After the change has been fully implemented, a lessons learned report is prepared, highlighting successes and areas for improvement.

5. Records:

  • Change Request Forms (Appendix A)
  • Change Proposals
  • Approval Documentation
  • Communication Records
  • Documentation Update Records
  • Testing and Validation Records
  • Monitoring and Review Records
  • Lessons Learned Reports

6. Appendices:

  • Appendix A: Change Request Form

Requestor Information:

  • Name: [Requestor’s Name]
  • Department: [Requestor’s Department]
  • Date: [Date of Request]

Change Details:

  • Change ID/Number: [Auto-generated or manually assigned]
  • Description of Change: [Provide a detailed description of the proposed change]
  • Reason for Change: [Explain the reasons or objectives behind the proposed change]
  • Impact Assessment: [Briefly describe the potential impacts of the change on processes, products, services, resources, and stakeholders]

Proposed Timeline:

  • Start Date: [Proposed start date of the change]
  • Completion Date: [Proposed completion date of the change]

Resource Requirements:

  • Human Resources: [Specify the roles and skills required for the change]
  • Financial Resources: [Estimate the budget required for the change]
  • Technology/Equipment: [List any technology or equipment needed]
  • Other Resources: [Specify any other resources needed]

Communication Plan:

  • Stakeholders to Notify: [List the internal and external stakeholders who need to be informed]
  • Communication Channels: [Specify how communication will be carried out, e.g., email, meetings, etc.]
  • Communication Timeline: [Outline when communication will occur at different stages of the change]

Risk Assessment:

  • Identify potential risks associated with the change:
    • Risk #1: [Description of Risk #1]
    • Risk #2: [Description of Risk #2]


  • Department Manager: [Name of Department Manager]
  • Approval Date: [Date of Approval]

Additional Comments: [Provide any additional comments or notes related to the change request]

This is a basic example of a change management procedure. You should tailor it to your organization’s specific needs, processes, and industry requirements. The key is to ensure that the procedure covers all the necessary steps for managing changes effectively within your QMS.

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