Process Measures and Objectives


Nancy L. Pasquan, Principal, Eyes On, Inc., Escondido, CA, USA


Organizational Objectives, Process Measures, Key Process Indicators


Aviation/Space, Chemical, Energy



Objectives and Measures are both required for quality management systems under ISO 9001:2015 and related standards. The two requirements are often treated as the same thing or confusion exists about how they differ or are related. This presentation will define the terms and describe how, when used correctly, they can guide an organization to desired achievements while simplifying management decisions. Examples of good and less than good measures and their usage are provided. These lessons learned come from ISO certification audits and supplier assessments over the past 10 years.

Objectives are sometimes thought of as what an organization wants to be ‘when we grow up’, are often overly financial (versus quality) or are focused on the negative.

Measures, on the other hand are frequently confused with objectives when applied to processes, but are also often the things we want to avoid or are temporary.

Used correctly these requirements from the ISO standards can be used to guide an organization to desired achievements and greatly simplifying management decisions. The time to establish objective (aka goals) is now. The time to evaluate performance toward those objectives is daily, weekly, monthly and or annually. The data for goal vs actual performance may come from the process measures (ergo the confusion), or may be tracked via traditional business data collection.

Process measures are admittedly trickier to identify than objectives. Sometimes there are too many metrics and the idea of a KEY performance indicator (KPI) is lost. How the process in question interacts with its fellow processes is sometimes ignored or poorly understood.

Understanding both objectives and measures will allow managers to focus on what matters both to their own processes and the organization overall.

This presentation provides definitions for measures and objectives and through example demonstrates how they can provide focus and improvement to process management.