How Many Shalls?

Have you ever been asked how many requirements are in ISO 9001:2008? Well, one answer might be that there are 136 “shall” statements in the standard, spread across the five major clauses as shown below:

Clause 4: Quality Management System = 13
Clause 5: Management Responsibility = 15
Clause 6: Resource Management = 5
Clause 7: Product Realization = 67
Clause 8: Measurement, Analysis, and Improvement = 36

But, how do you count a “shall” with multiple sub-clauses? Should each sub-clause be viewed as a separate requirement? For example, look at clause 4.1, General Requirements. It has a total of five “shall” statements. However, one of the “shall” statements has six sub-clauses, identified as “a” through “f”, each of which could be viewed as a unique requirement.

And, take a look at clause 6.3, Infrastructure. It has one “shall” statement, then in the next sentence, continues with a sub-clause list of items that could be considered as infrastructure examples, as applicable. So, how many requirements would you count for clause 6.3? One or four?

As you can see, coming up with a total requirement count for the standard is not an easy task, or a necessary one. What is important is that we are aware of the requirements, and conform to them, and not worry about the best way to count them.