Norms, technical rules and standards should, as far as possible, always reflect the current state of the art, science and other relevant disciplines.

If, for example, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) publishes a new management system standard, it will be reviewed for the first time after about five to six years whether an adaptation of the content and/or language is necessary. The same procedure is followed with standards that have been on the market for decades.

If it is determined that the respective standard is no longer up to date, it must be revised. Depending on the scope and complexity, another one to two years pass between the start of the revision and the publication of the new version. If the revision has a fundamental character, one also speaks of a "major revision".

If we look at the individual generations of the probably best-known management system standard for quality (ISO 9001), we come to the following history:

  • First publication in 1987
  • First revision 1994
  • Second revision 2000
  • Third revision 2008
  • Fourth revision 2015

ISO 9001 is therefore now in its 5th generation. The 2000 and 2015 revisions were more comprehensive and more fundamental than the others, with the 2015 generation being referred to as the "major revision" - and rightly so: the "major revision" not only brought with it far-reaching innovations in terms of content, but also a completely new structure and a number of new terms.

In 2021, ISO 9001 was once again put to the test. However, the responsible Technical Committee ISO/TC 176 confirmed the current version ISO 9001:2015 without any changes. This means that there will be no revision of the most important certification standard for management systems in the next few years.

Ute Droege

DQS expert for quality management systems, long-time auditor and experienced trainer for ISO 9001.