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Anjalika Singh

Risk Management

Love and Success Using ISO 9001 and PDCA

Plan-do-check-act is my secret weapon for finding the (almost) perfect gift

Published: Tuesday, March 31, 2020 - 12:02

The toughest part of being in a relationship is finding a perfect gift for your loved one. Gifting is an essential part of any relationship. You gift your better half for every reason and every season. Gift as a form of bribery in love is a time-tried tool.

Being a system believer, I use the process-based management system approach in ISO 9001 and plan-do-check-act (PDCA) methodology every time I need to find a perfect gift for my boyfriend. From dating to being in a relationship, from finding the right place for the perfect date to ordering the perfect food, ISO 9001 and PDCA have been very useful tools. In this light, PDCA has become my secret strategy for planning my perfect moment with my perfect guy, and to make it the most memorable one. ISO 9001’s PDCA has been my guiding light, just like the green light from F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby.

Plan: I use ISO 9001 to assess my risks in this context by considering my budget and then plan accordingly. To plan as per ISO 9001, I think of all that interests my boyfriend—what he likes and what he doesn’t. Say, for example, he loves extreme adventure sports, and this doesn’t include a simple trek, which is my idea of an extreme adventure sport because I don’t want to step out the house. Anyhow, I can’t be selfish because this is a plan to buy a gift for my boyfriend and not a treat for myself (although that would be a blessing).

Do: Once the plan is set, I make the reservations, the “do” part of the cycle in ISO 9001. This also involves the big part of the surprise and will affect whether my boyfriend likes his gift or not. So the design stage must be strong, and the inputs and requirements well-defined before executing the strategic plan.

Next the “do” sets in. My boyfriend is very surprised and thankful to me, and impressed by how I made such a master plan for what we are going to do. Let’s hope that this works out all the way through. I am certainly dependent on this ISO 9001 strategy.

Check: Oops! It rained in the midst of our trekking expedition! I wish I had checked the weather forecast before making my plan. I should have considered everything else and assessed the risk before executing my plan. We take shelter under a shed along with other trekkers who, like me, have botched the plan, but wisely have carried some wine and interesting food to make even a disaster like this a success. Looks like they have assessed their risk, and ISO 9001 worked in their favor. Unfortunately, our plan did not. We packed some fruit and bottled orange juice. Not a complete failure but could have been better. My auditor’s mind is collecting the objective inputs to strengthen my future plan so the next cycle will be even better than this one.

Act: Fortunately, my boyfriend is not a cranky or complaining guy, but I could see he was upset. I am ready to review all inputs. He didn’t say a word, but I realized my plan stage did not go as well as I had expected. No problem. I am still a believer. My feeling miserable and guilty motivates me to better study the input clauses of ISO 9001 and the PDCA cycle, so I’ll have better success next time. We improve in each cycle.  So, I made up for it by planning a simple bourbon trail trip because of our common love and fascination for whiskey. This was a success. We both seemed happier with this, especially toward the end of the trail.

The bottom line is don’t just use ISO 9001 and PDCA as your guidebook or a rule book for making your company run more smoothly. Make it your best friend, talk to it candidly, and use it for any situation, even your love life.


About The Author

Anjalika Singh’s picture

Anjalika Singh

Anjalika Singh is the President and CEO of iCertifications, LLC (iCert). Anjalika oversees the HR, Admin and Finance departments at iCert and manages the Quality Management System.Prior iCert, she has worked at QMII for 6 years. She has successfully transitioned the system to ISO 9001:2015 pursued certification of the system. A first in QMII’s 30-year history. She has over the years developed a keen intuitive sense that coupled with her management skills, makes her a great asset to the QMII Team. Anjalika spearheaded the development of a HR Manual and formalized HR policies and procedures.



Interesting application of PDCA Anjalika.  It looks like the Plan stage is just as risky in dating as in business. 

Plan Stage

I agree. Peter with you too. Anjalika has brought out the PDCA cycle very humorously! Very good.

Risk Vs Preventive Action

Thank you Peter for your comment. Yes, it is true, and good thing that ISO 9001 got updated from 2008 to 2015 keeping in mind that Risk Assesmment is important at every stage and not just the Plan stage of the PDCA cycle. No more Preventive Action!!!!!