ISO9000 is about system or process oriented quality systems and is used around the world in all sorts of industries and often in project environments, but is it the right model? ISO has it’s shortcomings. Some are listed on the ISO9000 entry on wikipedia.
Hammering Hammer is an article challenges the process orientation of modern business with the proposition that while processes are reliable, repeatable things, the real world is full of unique and individual situations, many of them unexpected and unable to be planned for.
Where does this leave quality assurance on projects? Projects address unique situations with unique approaches, however the PMBOK and general PM theory takes a very process oriented view of managing projects. Are projects able to be quality assured the same way as daily operations?
The Hammer article also challenges the Theory X management paradigm that Hammer (and other process gurus) tends to lean towards in a search for certainty and simplicity in the people management function. Again that raises an interesting challenge: how to quality assure people management in an unstructured or undefined environment (for example in defining software specification.)