QMS Interested parties - Needs and expectations


In this entry we will analyse clause 4.2 of the standard ISO 9001: 2015, entitled: Understanding the needs and expectations of interested parties.

The standard establish in this requirement that due to its effect or potential effect on the organization's ability to regularly provide products and services that meet customer requirements, as well as applicable legal and statutory requirements, the organization shall  determine the interested parties that are relevant to the quality management system.

We should consider that every organization has interested parties, that is, individuals or legal entities that have a legitimate interest in relation to their performance, each of them with particular needs and expectations. Those interested parties of the organizations include the following:

Likewise, the standard establishes that the organization shall determine the pertinent requirements of these interested parties for the quality management system.

We can say that the success of an organization depends on understanding and meeting the current and future needs and expectations of current and potential customers and end users, as well as understanding and considering those of other interested parties.

To meet the needs and expectations of all interested parties, the organization should:
  • identify your interested parties and maintain a balanced response to their needs and expectations;
  • translate identified needs and expectations into requirements; 
  • communicate requirements throughout the organization;
  • focus on improving processes to ensure value creation for identified interested parties; 
  • understand the needs and expectations of your customers, including those of potential customers;
  • determine key product characteristics for customers and end users;
  • identify and evaluate competitors in your market; and
  • identify market opportunities, weaknesses and competitive advantages.

As examples of needs and expectations of customers and users, in relation to the organization's products, we can mention the following:

The organization should be able to demonstrate that it has identified its interested parties, as well as the needs and expectations of each of them.

Thereafter, in accordance with the standard's requirement, the organization shall monitor the information about these interested parties and their relevant requirements.

This means that the organization should establish a monitoring program, to confirm that the interested parties remain identified, as well as the needs and expectations of each of them, that communication is maintained with each one of them, and if the organization's performance is aligned to each of its needs and expectations.

As a last requirement of this clause, the standard tells us that the organization shall revise the information about these interested parties and their pertinent requirements.

To do this, the organization should carry out a formal review of its information on a scheduled basis, to confirm if it continues to be valid regarding the interested parties, as well as for their needs and expectations, or if necessary, what adjustments should be made by the organization in this regard.


Ernesto Palomares Hilton