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Quality Management8 QM Principles
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8 Principles of Quality Management

A principle is a fundamental truth or law and therefore quality management principles are the fundamental truth or laws that form the basis of quality management.

These principles have been identified to facilitate the achievement of quality objectives and form the foundation for effective quality management. The table below describes each of the principles as they are currently defined in ISO 9000:2005. Use this as a more effective means of conducting a Gap Analysis than simply looking at the requirements. For a condensed version use our unique Self Assessment Tool. Both tools will enable you to establish the gap between where your QMS is today and where it needs to be to meet the intent of ISO 9000:2008. Also among the resources opposite is a detail list of what you would expect to find happening in an organization that had adopted the 8 QM principles. This is key to understanding.

Any revision of existing quality management systems should be carried out using the 8 QM principles otherwise the resultant system will not satisfy the intent of ISO 9000:2008.

More resources

Self Assessment Tool using the 8 QM Principles

Fact Sheet on the 8 QMPs

QMP Fishbone diagram

QMP Fishbone in Visio

E-book on the QMPs

8 QM Principles


Customer focused organisation

Organisations depend on their customers and therefore should understand current and future customer needs, should meet customer requirements and strive to exceed customer expectations



Leaders establish unity of purpose and direction. They should create and maintain the internal environment in which people can become fully involved in achieving the organization's objectives


Involvement of people

People at all levels are the essence of an organization and their full involvement enables their abilities to be used for the organization's benefit.


Process approach

A desired result is achieved more efficiently when activities and related resources are managed as a process.


System approach to management

Identifying, understanding and managing a system of interrelated processes as a system contributes to the organisation's effectiveness and efficiency in achieving its objectives. 


Continual improvement

Continual improvement of the organization's overall performance should be a permanent objective of the organization.


Factual approach to decision making

Effective decisions are based on the analysis of data and information. 


Mutually beneficial supplier relationships

An organization and its suppliers are interdependent and a mutually beneficial relationship enhances the ability of both to create value. 

Using the 8 QM principles

  • The principles can be used in validating the design of processes, in validating decisions, in auditing system and processes. You look at a process and ask:

  • Where is the customer focus in this process?

  • Where in this process is there leadership, guiding policies, measurable objectives and the environment that motivates the workforce to achieve these objectives?

  • Where in this process is the involvement of people in the design of the process, the making of decisions, the monitoring and measurement of performance and the improvement of performance?

  • Where in this process has the process approach been applied to the accomplishment of these objectives?

  • Where in this process is the systems approach to the management of the interfacing processes, the optimization of performance, the elimination of bottlenecks?

  • Where in this process are the facts collected and transmitted to the decision makers?

  • Where in this process is there continual improvement in performance, efficiency and effectiveness?

  • Where in this process is there a mutually beneficial relationship with suppliers?

These principles are currently under review by ISO/TC176 with a view to their revision, addition or indeed their reduction.


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Last amended 24/08/2013
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