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Making Sense of ISO Standards For Managers

        posted by , September 14, 2012

The International Standards Organization (ISO) publishes close to 20,000 standards.

These standards cover a broad range of topics — basically anything that's of interest to governments, organizations and businesses. Many of these standards are fairly obscure. For example, ISO has standards for how to connect undersea cables or how to represent Japanese language with the roman alphabet.

The following families of standards are commonly of interest to managers.

ISO FamilyStandards
Quality Management
(ISO 9000 Family)
A family of standards for quality management systems.

Quality management is the discipline of ensuring the consistency of products and processes. For example, ensuring that a process meets requirements or that a product is consistent with a standard.

ISO 9001
The requirements for a quality management system. A quality management system includes procedures, processes and resources for quality management. Organizations can be certified against ISO 9001 requirements. More than 1 million organizations are currently ISO 9001 certified. It's the most widely adopted ISO standard.

ISO 9000
Supporting standards such as a vocabulary for quality management.

ISO 9004
Performance improvements for a quality management system. This includes guidance for sustaining quality improvements.

ISO 10002
Guidelines for handling customer service complaints.

ISO 10006
Guidelines for project quality management.

ISO 19011
A standard for auditing ISO 9001 & ISO 14000 organizations.

Risk management
(ISO 31000 Family)
A set of guideline standards for risk management that are not intended for certification.

Risk management is the identification, assessment, prioritization, planning and control of risks.

ISO 31000
Principles and guidelines for implementing risk management.

ISO 31010
Risk assessment techniques.

ISO Guide 73
A vocabulary for risk management.

Environmental Management
(ISO 14000 Family)
Standards for good environmental business practices and a framework for environmental management systems.

ISO 14001
Requirements and guidance for an environmental management system. Organizations can be certified against the ISO 14001 standard.

ISO 14004
Guidelines for environmental management systems including principles and support techniques.

ISO 14006
Guidelines for ecodesign. How to manage and continually improve ecodesign as part of an environmental management system.

ISO 14015
Guidance for conducting an Environmental Assessment of Sites and Organizations (EASO). Provides a systematic process for identifying environmental issues and determining their business consequences.

ISO 14020, 14021, 14022, 14023, 14024, 14025
Principles and standards for accurate, verifiable and relevant environmental labels and claims (e.g. environmentally friendly claims on product labels).

ISO 14064
Specifications for measuring and reporting greenhouse gas emissions and removals.

Social Responsibility
(ISO 26000 Family)
Guidelines for organizational social responsibility (more commonly known as corporate social responsibility).

ISO 26000 (or ISO SR)
High level guidelines and best practices for social responsibility. Not intended for certification.

Energy Management
(ISO 50001 Family)
A specification for energy management including a system for energy efficiency, energy security, energy use and consumption. Specifically aimed at improving energy performance.

ISO 50001
Specifies requirements for an energy management system. This includes practices such as implementing an energy policy and energy action plan. In order to be certified organizations must improve energy performance and meet requirements.

ISO 50001 is compatible with ISO 9001 and ISO 14000. These three standards are commonly implemented together to improve quality, environmental practices and energy efficiency.

Other Useful ISO StandardsA few ISO standards that are commonly adopted by organizations.

Language Codes (ISO 639)
A list of standard language codes such as "en" for English.

Country Codes (ISO 3166)
A list of standard country codes such as "jp" for Japan.

Currency Codes (ISO 4217)
A list of currency codes such as "JPY" for Japanese yen.

Technology Standards

A few standards of interest to IT managers.

ISO FamilyStandards
Information Security Management Systems
(ISO 27000)
A growing family of standards for information security.

ISO 27001
Requirements for information security management systems. Organizations can be ISO 27001 certified.

ISO 27000
Overview and vocabulary for information security management systems.

ISO 27002
Best practice recommendations for information security management.

ISO 27003
Measuring and reporting guidance for information security management.

ISO 27005
Information security risk management guidelines.

ISO 27006
Requirements for accredited organizations to perform ISO 27001 certification.

ISO 27007
Requirements for audits of information security management systems.

ISO 27010
Information security techniques.

ISO 27030 ~ 27037
Guidelines for a variety of information security techniques and best practices.

IT Service Management
(ISO/IEC 20000)
A standard for managing IT services. This includes the design, transition, delivery and improvement of IT services.

ISO 20000
A standard for managing IT services that aligns with the popular ITIL framework for ITSM. Organizations can be ISO 20000 certified and individuals can be ISO 20000 qualified.

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