Considering ISO9001

Before continuing with the quality audit process, it’s worth discussing issues related to supporting the emerging ISO9001:2015 standard. Many firms sell software into highly regulated markets so the need to support customer requirements, including ISO, is an important consideration.  The standard can be aligned with the quality audit without an extended amount of extra work. In addition, the ISO documentation can provide for better alignment between the on and offshore teams.

Of course, there needs to be some level setting as to the usefulness of ISO in an Agile environment.  After all, the Agile Manifesto declares “working software over comprehensive documentation” and “people and interactions over process and tools”.  Given this, many Agile thought leaders would not consider ISO a priority.

One way to address this internally is by discussing with and focusing the team on common core objectives. These are likely to align with the firm’s mission to deliver the highest possible quality software. If ISO support or compliance is necessary, use the opportunity to create meaningful artifacts. Most often, creating a limited amount of additional documentation allows a team to safely declare, “We are aligned with the ISO standard” as well as provide enough documentation to back this up.

An important side benefit of the assembled information is that it becomes a great resource for helping new employees ramp up with things like testing tools and procedures, configuration management, source code management, continuous integration facilities and more. The emerging artifacts may also prove to be a highly leveraged resource when ramping up and on-boarding off-shore teams.  

Being able to point individuals to relevant data will help orient the offshore team and make them productive more quickly.  It also eases communications since everyone will become familiar with the practices, metrics and terminology in use. In other words, the necessary documentation describes a company’s Agile methods across development domains.