Agile quality management is an approach within the business and organizational world that aims to place flexibility, adaptability and continuous improvement at the heart of quality management. It is a response to the increasingly volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA) conditions as well as the brittle, uncertain, non-linear and incomprehensible (BANI) conditions under which modern organizations operate. "Agile Quality Management at a Glance" explains the core concepts, meanings and applications of agile quality management in an agile world.

Definition and basics

Agility in the business context

Agility refers to the ability of organizations to respond quickly and efficiently to change, establish continuous learning and adaptation as part of their culture while maintaining a stable standard of quality. In the context of the business world, agility means that companies respond proactively to market changes, drive innovation and increase customer satisfaction by flexibly adapting processes to customer needs and expectations.

Combining agility and quality management

Integrating agility into quality management does not mean turning away from proven quality management practices. Instead, it seeks a synthesis where the two complement each other to enable organizations to succeed in an uncertain and dynamic environment. Contrary to the myth that agility and quality are mutually exclusive, practice shows that an agile approach can actually improve quality management by promoting continuous improvement and adaptability.


Video: Online discussion on the topic of risk

The concept of risk in ISO 9001

Experts from the ISO committee TC 176 TG 4 "Risk" from the USA, Germany, Israel and Mexico discuss the concept of risk in ISO 9001. Also present: Prof. Dr. Patricia Adam, DQS auditor and member of Task Group 4 "Risk". 

Application in quality management

Integration of agility into the quality management system

A key element of agile quality management is the adaptation of the quality management system (QMS) to agile practices. This includes making the QMS flexible to support different degrees of agility and ensuring that agile methods comply with established quality standards. Organizations should take specific measures to adapt their QMS models, apply appropriate quality assurance techniques and promote a culture of continuous improvement.

Challenges and solutions

Agile quality management faces the challenge of reconciling standardization and agility. Resistance can come from both proponents of traditional methods and proponents of agility. However, the international standard ISO 9001:2015 emphasizes that the continuous improvement of a company's overall performance in line with customer requirements is also a central element of agile principles.

Agile QM requires rules, procedures and standards that can be applied flexibly and in line with agile ways of working.

cover sheet for white paper IROM, integrated risk and opportunity management, with pdf

Winning in the VUCA world - but how?

DQS White Paper

The risk-based approach runs like a red thread through the ISO 9001 standard, as one of the core tasks of a quality management system is to have a preventative effect. In addition to looking at risk, however, the treatment of opportunities in the VUCA world must not be neglected. After all, for companies that think sustainably, the goal is not just to become resilient, but antifragile.

Find out what is important in our free White Paper on the "Risk 2.0" research project at Hanover University of Applied Sciences and Arts.

Future prospects

The quality management system of the future will require an integration of standardization and agility. An agile QMS should go beyond compliance and promote a flexible, quality-oriented culture. Digital technologies will play a key role in this by enabling transparent functions and streamlined processes.

Independent auditors will continue to play an important role in assessing compliance with quality standards in agile organizations. Successful agile quality management requires continuous perseverance and commitment to overcome obstacles and achieve higher customer satisfaction and sustainable success in the long term.

Agile quality management - Conclusion

Agile quality management offers a flexible and efficient response to the challenges of the modern business world. This promising approach focuses on flexibility, adaptability and continuous improvement, enabling companies to react quickly to changes and remain competitive.

Agile principles are by no means in conflict with the purpose of a quality management system according to ISO 9001. On the contrary: the integration of agility into quality management combines best practices with the need to succeed in dynamic environments. Adapting the quality management system to agile practices ensures that quality does not come at the expense of flexibility. In the future, agile quality management that integrates standardization and agility will be crucial for long-term success and customer satisfaction.

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Trust and expertise

Our texts and brochures are written exclusively by our standards experts or long-standing auditors. If you have any questions about the text content or our services to our author, please contact us. 

Dr. Wilhelm Griga

Dr. Griga has extensive expertise in the field of quality management and digital transformation. His profound knowledge in the areas of organizational development, agile management systems, sustainable non-conformance management and modern audit management make him a highly qualified source of valuable insights into the topic of agile quality management.