What Are The Steps For ISO Certification? [with Project Plan]

Steps for ISO Certification:

  • Learn
  • Plan
  • Define
  • Build
  • Launch
  • Review
  • Assess
  • Improve

Here we will present an overview of the steps for ISO certification. Our methodical approach can be applied by any type of organization - large or small.

Who Is This For?

  • This is a high-level overview, suitable for top-management

In-House? Or Should We Use A Consultant?

The process is the same. Tasks and responsibilities can be assigned to different people, internal or external, if you follow this plan.

ISO 9001 certification checkmark

How Long Will It Take?

Anywhere from 3 months to 12 months, depending on:

  • The size of your organization
  • Your business type, how many procedures you document, and the records that you keep
  • Management commitment
  • Resources
  • If you use a proven Quality Manual Template to help you plan the project and write your documentation

Overview of Steps to Achieve ISO Certification

  • Find out about ISO standard (for example, 9001:2015)
  • Top Management buy-in & financial commitment
  • Choose a registrar & define scope
  • Conduct a gap analysis
  • Top Management training & Management review
  • Establish an implementation team
  • Develop the implementation plan
  • Identify key processes
  • Involve and communicate with employees
  • Management review
  • Define the quality policy
  • Communicate the quality policy
  • Define the quality objectives
  • Establish roles and responsibilities
  • Management review
  • Develop the quality manual
  • Develop the mandatory procedures
  • Develop the operational procedures
  • Select and train internal auditors
  • Management review
  • Provide employee system training
  • Implement the quality system
  • Audit the quality system
  • Management review
  • Begin process auditing
  • Implement system changes
  • Refine the system
  • Management review
  • Certification body preliminaries
  • Pre-assessment audit
  • Correct non-conformances & corrective actions
  • Management review
  • Certification day - external audit
  • Surveillance audits
  • Maintain and improve the management system

Starting with a good, solid plan is the key to gaining ISO certification quickly and efficiently.

ISO 9001 Implementation


Updated: 21st Jan 2021
Author: Richard Keen

Richard Keen

Richard Keen

Richard is our Compliance Director, responsible for content & product development.
But most importantly he is ISO's biggest fanboy and a true evangelist of the standards.
Learn more about Richard

ISO 9001 Project Plan Sample


Don’t Try to Manage It All Alone!

Our ISO Auditors and Quality Manager Trainers have been in this industry for years, and since 2002 we’ve been providing thousands of small businesses and large corporations with the tools they need to get certified.

Instead of trying to create a project plan and checklist from scratch, use ours.

Before you invest all the hours reinventing the wheel, before you spend countless dollars outsourcing the task — try our templates.

ISO 9001
ISO 14001
ISO 45001

ISO 9001 Project Plan and Implementation Checklists

A complete 18-step project plan for ISO 90001 using MS Excel.


- View sample Project Plan (image)




Implementation checklists for each of the 18 steps, MS Word.


- View sample Implementation Checklist (PDF)

  • Project Plan (MS Excel)
  • 18 Implementation checklists (MS Word)
  1. Assign Resources and Budget
  2. Adopt the Standards
  3. Create QMS Awareness
  4. Gap Analysis and Action Plan
  5. Management Review 1
  6. Begin Closing the Gaps
  7. Strategic Direction & Scope
  8. Policy, Objectives & Indicators
  9. Supporting Processes & Procedures
  10. Train Internal Auditors
  11. Management Review 2
  12. Begin Internal Auditing
  13. Implement Corrective Actions
  14. Management Review 3
  15. Conduct a Readiness Review
  16. Certification Body 1st Stage Audit
  17. Certification Body 2nd Stage Audit
  18. Verification & Certification

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Bought by Small Businesses and Large Corporations our templates have been sold online and CD since 2002.

Used by:

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The Templates are used by first timers following our step-by-step, clause-by-clause guidance documents; and experienced Quality Managers wishing to streamline and improve their existing documentation.

The application of our templates is scalable and generic; regardless of the size and type of organization. The elements that form the quality management system are the same.


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1. Our customizable templates save you time and money by offering a streamlined process to create your quality documentation

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5. Our templates are generalizable for any industry or sector. The application of our templates is scalable and generic; regardless of the size and type of organization.


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