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ISO 9001 Registration for Small & Medium Sized Software Enterprises

Authors: Chris FitzGibbon (with A.J. Bailetti)
McGill-Queen's University Press (1-800-387-0141)
Date:  1995
ISBN: 0-88629-255-7

See below for Book Reviews and Order Information.

Book Reviews

Book Review: ISO 9001 Registration for Small and Medium-Sized Software Enterprises

© Silvan Communications Inc.

By Tony Patterson

Just west of Perth on Highway 7, Steep Rock Resources displays a sign claiming ISO 9002 certification, a standard of excellence next only to God. For mortals, ISO 9000 is as good as it gets.

Or so I thought, until I read Antonio Bailetti and Chris FitzGibbon's primer on how to get ISO registration. Turns out there's an ISO 9004. In fact there's a 10014, with 10015 and 10016 in the works.

But one is not better than another, not the spread between A and A+. More like different strokes for different folks. ISO 9004-3 has to do with processed materials, for instance. ISO 9001 deals with design, development, production, installation and servicing.

The ISO seal of approval is becoming more and more a necessity for suppliers dealing in international markets, and even at home. Buyers are demanding assurance that when manufacturers say 'quality is job 1', it's more than just a slogan. They want independent verification that the company cares for its product or service the way its CEO cares for her children. They get close to this level of confidence when they see ISO 9001 on the letterhead. It's ISO 9001 that Bailetti and FitzGibbon are concerned with, specifically registration for software SMEs.

As you might suspect, this kind of endorsement comes neither cheaply nor easily. Typically it will cost $100,000 in internal effort (mainly commitment of management time) and another $40,000 or so in consulting and registration fees. The mandatory annual audit charge that might reach $7,500. It can take as long as two years to complete the registration process although this time can be shaved to just a few months if the applicant already has a mature quality management system in place.

The beauty of this book (booklet, really, since it runs to fewer than 100 pages) is its clear and concise, plain language exposition of how software companies can get from where they are to where the world's major corporations want their suppliers to be.

It answers FAQs and discusses the principles underlying ISO 9001, how to approach registration, where to find help and get information.

Readers here will find it particularly friendly because many of the practical examples and observations that punctuate the text are drawn from local companies that have experience with the process, including Amita, CompEngServ, DMR Group, DY 4 Systems, Prior Data Sciences and Simware.

ISO 9001 Registration for Small and Medium-Sized Software Enterprises, by Antonio J. Bailetti and Chris FitzGibbon, Carleton University Press, 613-520-3740.

By Norman C. Frank, PE, CQM, CQE, CQA; CER Corporation, Washington, DC.

"ISO 9001 Registration for Small and Medium-Sized Software Enterprises" by Antonio J. Bailetti and Chris FitzGibbon, published by Carleton University Press (160 Paterson Hall, 1125 Colonel By drive, Ottawa K1S 5B6, Canada), 1995, 92 pages, $70.

This book provides an excellent overview for people in small and medium-sized companies who will be seeking ISO registration for design, development, maintenance, and evolution of computer software. It provides the assistance based on ISO 9001 and ISO 9000-3 guidelines. Information on selecting registrars, frequently asked questions, cost of registration, and much more information necessary for use and reference during the registration process.

The Section I (Preface) provides a great deal of information to acquaint the reader with the basics of the ISO 9000 series standards and the general process for achieving registration. The preface also begins interspersing quotations from executives and others who have already achieved ISO registration for software products. These quotes contain real-life examples of the benefits of registration and the methods of registration.

The book consists of five information sections followed by four supporting sections (appendices, glossary, bibliography, index). Section II divides the registration process into eight phases from "the start" to "annual surveillance visits". The authors provide an outline for each phase, giving the primary activities and executive actions of each phase, followed by "Directives for executives, Managers, and Project Leaders". These Directives provide the greatest guidance for people who take an active role in the ISO registration process. Here again, quotations from people who have already achieved registration for software add credibility to the ISO registration process and the resultant benefits. For example, "You must have a champion or ISO registration won't happen." Michael Jaques, Prior Data Sciences Ltd.

The information provided in Section II is further supplemented by Section III, "Answers to Frequently Asked Questions". These questions were contributed by executives from several small and medium-sized companies that were considering ISO registration. These questions answer how much it will cost as well as how long it will take.

Section IV provides guidelines for application of ISO 9001, as further delineated by ISO 9000-3, to software development. It includes actions for management to take as well as an outline of the expected content of the documented quality management system.

In Section V the authors provide Sources of Information concerning registrars, publications, and other sources of ISO-related information. As you go through the ISO registration process the use of these resources will be necessary and useful.

This book is written with the Canadian reader in mind, however the content is just as appropriate for the United States. It provides good information for planning and approaching the ISO registration process.

Mr. Frank has over 25 years experience in the field of quality, in the areas of nuclear quality assurance, research and development, and consulting. He is currently in Washington, D.C., with CER Corporation out of Las Vegas, Nevada, and can be reached at 202-488-5444.

Order Information

ISO 9001 Registration for Small & Medium Sized Software Enterprises

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