English Process Management Definitions

Praxiom's Plain English Process Management Definitions

Audit - Audit Criteria - Audit Evidence - Audit Findings - Audit Program
Characteristic - Competence - Conformity - Context - Correction  - Corrective Action
Customer Satisfaction  -  Defect  -  Design and Development  -  Documented Information
Effectiveness - Feedback - Infrastructure - Interested Party - Management - Management
- Measurement - Measuring Equipment - Monitoring - Nonconformity - Objective
Objective Audit EvidenceObjective Evidence - Output - Outsource - Performance
  Process  -  Process Approach  -  Product   -  Requirement  -  Review  -  Risk
Risk-based Thinking  -  Service  -  Special Requirement  -  Supplier
System  -  Traceability  -  Validation  -  Verification

Service Management - Auditing - Information Security - Risk Management
Business Continuity Quality Management Software Quality Management


An audit is a systematic evidence gathering process. Audits must be
independent and evidence must be evaluated objectively to determine
how well audit criteria are being met. There are three types of audits:
first-party, second-party, and third-party. First-party audits are internal
audits while second and third party audits are external audits.

Organizations use first party audits to audit themselves. First party
audits are used to provide input for management review and for other
internal purposes. They're also used to declare that an organization
meets specified requirements (this is called a self-declaration).

Second party audits are external audits. They’re usually done by
customers or by others on their behalf. However, they can also be
done by regulators or any other external party that has an interest
in an organization. Third party audits are external audits as well.
However, they’re performed by independent organizations such
as registrars (certification bodies) or regulators.

Audit criteria

Audit criteria are used as a reference point and include policies,
requirements, and other forms of documented information. They are
compared against audit evidence to determine how well they are being
met. Audit evidence is used to determine how well policies are being
implemented and how well requirements are being followed

Audit evidence

Audit evidence includes records, factual statements, and other verifiable
information that is related to the audit criteria being used. Audit criteria
include policies, requirements, and other documented information

Audit findings

Audit findings result from a process that evaluates audit evidence
and compares it against audit criteria. Audit findings can show that
audit criteria are being met (conformity) or that they are not being
met (nonconformity). They can also identify best practices or
improvement opportunities.

Audit program (programme)

An audit program (or programme) refers to a set of one or more
audits that are planned and carried out within a specific time
frame and are intended to achieve a specific audit purpose


A characteristic is a distinctive feature or property of something.
Characteristics can be inherent or assigned and can be qualitative
or quantitative. An inherent characteristic exists in something or is
a permanent feature of something while an assigned characteristic
is a feature that is attributed or attached to something


Competence means being able to apply knowledge and skill to
achieve intended results. Being competent means having the
knowledge and skill that you need and knowing how to apply
it. Being competent means that you’re qualified to do the job


Conformity is the "fulfillment of a requirement". To conform means
to meet or comply with requirements and a requirement is a need,
expectation, or obligation. There are many types of requirements
including customer requirements, quality requirements, quality
management requirements, management requirements, product
requirements, service requirements, contractual requirements,
statutory requirements, and regulatory requirements


An organization’s context is its business environment. It includes
all of the internal and external factors and conditions that affect its
products and services, have an influence on its processes, and are
relevant to its purpose and strategic direction.

An organization’s external context includes all of the needs and
expectations of interested parties, as well as its social, cultural,
legal, technological, regulatory, and competitive environment.
An organization’s
internal context includes its values, culture,
knowledge, and performance.


A correction is any action that is taken to eliminate a nonconformity.
However, corrections do not address root causes. When applied to
products, corrections can include reworking products, reprocessing
them, regrading them, assigning them to a different use, or simply
destroying them.

Corrective action

Corrective actions are steps that are taken to eliminate
the causes of existing nonconformities in order to prevent
recurrence. The corrective action process tries to make
sure that existing nonconformities and potentially
undesirable situations don’t happen again.

Customer satisfaction

Customer satisfaction is a perception. It's also a question of degree.
It can vary from high satisfaction to low satisfaction. If customers
believe that you've met their requirements, they experience high
satisfaction. If they believe that you've not met their requirements,
they experience low satisfaction.

Since satisfaction is a perception, customers may not be satisfied
even though you’ve met all contractual requirements. Just because
you haven’t received any complaints doesn’t mean that customers
are satisfied.

There are many ways to monitor and measure customer satisfaction.
You can use customer satisfaction and opinion surveys; you can
collect product quality data (post delivery), track warranty claims,
examine dealer reports, study customer compliments and
criticisms, and analyze lost business opportunities.


A defect is a type of nonconformity. It occurs when a product
or service fails to meet specified or intended use requirements

Design and development

Design and development is a process (or a set of processes) that uses
resources to transform general input requirements for an object into
specific output requirements.

An object is any entity that is either conceivable or perceivable. Objects
can be real or imaginary and could be material or immaterial. Examples
include products, services, systems, organizations, people, practices,
procedures, processes, plans, ideas, documents, records, methods,
tools, machines, technologies, techniques, and resources.

Documented information

The term documented information refers to information that
must be controlled and maintained and its supporting medium.
Documented information can be in any format and on any medium
and can come from any source.

Documented information includes information about the management
system and related processes. It also includes all the information that
organizations need to operate and all the information that they use
to document the results that they achieve (aka records).


Effectiveness refers to the degree to which a planned effect is achieved.
Planned activities are effective if these activities are actually carried out
and planned results are effective if these results are actually achieved


The term feedback is used to refer to a comment or an opinion
expressed about a product or service or an interest expressed
in a product or a service. It may also be used to refer to the
customer complaints-handling process itself.


The term infrastructure refers to the entire system of facilities,
equipment, and support services that organizations need in
order to function.

Interested party

An interested party is anyone who can affect, be affected by, or
believe that they are affected by a decision or activity. An interested
is a person, group, or organization that has an interest or a
stake in a decision or activity


The term management refers to all the activities that are used to
coordinate, direct, and control organizations. These activities include
developing policies, setting objectives, and establishing processes
to achieve these objectives. In this context, the term management
does not refer to people. It refers to what managers do

Management system

A management system is a set of interrelated or interacting elements
that organizations use to formulate policies and objectives and to
establish the processes that are needed to ensure that policies are
followed and objectives are achieved. These elements include
structures, programs, procedures, practices, plans, rules, roles,
responsibilities, relationships, contracts, agreements, documents,
records, methods, tools, techniques, technologies, and resources.

There are many types of management systems. Some of these include
quality management systems, environmental management systems,
financial management systems, information security management
systems, business continuity management systems, emergency
management systems, disaster management systems, food safety
management systems, risk management systems, and occupational
health and safety management systems.

The scope or focus of a management system could be restricted to
a specific function or section of an organization or it could include
the entire organization. It could even include a function that cuts
across several organizations.


Measurement is a process that is used to determine
a value. In most cases this value will be a quantity.

Measuring equipment

Measuring equipment includes all the things needed to carry
out a measurement process. Accordingly, measuring equipment
includes instruments and apparatuses as well as all the associated
software, standards, and reference materials.


To monitor means to determine the status of an activity, process,
or system at different stages or at different times. In order to determine
status, you need to supervise and to continually check and critically
observe the activity, process, or system that is being monitored


Nonconformity is a nonfulfillment or failure to meet a requirement.
A requirement is a need, expectation, or obligation. It can be stated
or implied by an organization or interested parties.


An objective is a result you intend to achieve. Objectives can be
strategic, tactical, or operational and can apply to an organization
as a whole or to a system, process, project, product, or service.
Objectives may also be referred to as targets, aims, goals,
or intended outcomes.

Objective audit evidence

Objective audit evidence is information that is verifiable and
generally consists of records and other statements of fact
that are relevant to the audit criteria being used

Objective evidence

Objective evidence is data that shows or proves that something
exists or is true. Objective evidence can be collected by performing
observations, measurements, tests, or using other suitable methods


An output is the result of a process. Outputs can be either tangible
or intangible. The output from one process is often the input for
another process.


When an organization makes an arrangement with an outside
organization to perform part of a function or process, it is referred
to as outsourcing. To outsource means to ask an external organization
to perform part of a function or process normally done inhouse. 


According to ISO, the term performance refers to a measurable result.
It refers to the measurable results that activities, processes, products,
services, systems and organizations are able to achieve. Whenever they
perform well it means that acceptable results are being achieved and
whenever they perform poorly, unacceptable results are achieved.


A process is a set of activities that are interrelated or that interact
with one another. Processes use resources to transform inputs
into outputs. Processes are interconnected because the output
from one process often becomes the input for another process.

While processes usually transform inputs into outputs, this
is not always the case. Sometimes inputs become outputs
without transformation.

Organizational processes should be planned and carried
out under controlled conditions. An effective process is one
that realizes planned activities and achieves planned results.

Process approach

The process approach is a management strategy. When managers
use a process approach, it means that they manage and control the
processes that make up their organization, the interaction between
these processes, and the inputs and outputs that tie these
processes together.


A product is a tangible or intangible output that is the result of a
process that does not include activities that are performed at the
interface between the supplier (provider) and the customer.

Products can be tangible or intangible. According to a note to
this definition, there are three generic product categories: hardware,
processed materials, and software. Many products combine several
of these categories. For example, an automobile (a product) combines
hardware (e.g. tires), software (e.g. engine control algorithms), and
processed materials (e.g. lubricants).


A requirement is a need, expectation, or obligation. It can be stated or
implied by an organization, its customers, or other interested parties.
A specified requirement is one that has been stated (in a document for
example), whereas an implied requirement is a need, expectation, or
obligation that is common practice or customary.

There are many types of requirements. Some of these include customer
requirements, quality requirements, quality management requirements,
management requirements, product requirements, service requirements,
contractual requirements, statutory requirements, and regulatory


A review is an activity. Its purpose is to figure out how well the thing
being reviewed is capable of achieving established objectives. Reviews
ask the following question: is the subject (or object) of the review a suitable,
adequate, effective, and efficient way of achieving established objectives?

There are many kinds of reviews. Some of these include management
reviews, design and development reviews, customer requirement
reviews, nonconformity reviews, and peer reviews.


According to ISO 31000, risk is the “effect of uncertainty on objectives”
and an effect is a positive or negative deviation from what is expected.
The following two paragraphs will explain what this means.

This definition recognizes that all of us operate in an uncertain world.
Whenever we try to achieve something, there’s always the chance that
things will not go according to plan. Sometimes we get positive results
and sometimes we get negative results and occasionally we get both.
Because of this, we need to reduce uncertainty as much as possible.

Uncertainty (or lack of certainty) is a state or condition that involves
a deficiency of information and leads to inadequate or incomplete
knowledge or understanding. In the context of risk management,
uncertainty exists whenever the knowledge or understanding of
an event, consequence, or likelihood is inadequate or incomplete.

While this definition argues that risk can be positive as well as
negative, a note acknowledges that "the term risk is sometimes
used when there is only the possibility of negative consequences"

Risk-based thinking

Risk-based thinking refers to a coordinated set of activities and
methods that organizations use to manage and control the many
risks that affect its ability to achieve objectives. Risk-based thinking
replaces what the old standards used to call preventive action.


A service is an intangible output and is the result of a process
that includes at least one activity that is carried out at the interface
between the supplier (provider) and the customer.

Service provision can take many forms. Service can be provided
to support an organization’s own products (e.g. warranty service
or the serving of meals). Conversely, it can be provided for a product
supplied by a customer (e.g. a repair service or a delivery service).
It can also involve the provision of an intangible thing to a customer
(e.g. entertainment, ambience, transportation, or advice).

Special requirement

A special requirement is a requirement that may be especially
difficult to achieve. Special requirements may be difficult to achieve
because they force you to operate at the limit of your technical or
process capability or at the limit of your industry’s capability.

Since there is a risk that your organization may not be able to meet a
special requirement, you’re expected to include it in your operational
risk management process. Either you or your customer may decide
that a requirement is special. In order to figure out whether or not
a requirement is special, consider the complexity and maturity of
your product or process and your past experience.


A supplier is a person or an organization that provides products or
services. Suppliers can be either internal or external to an organization.
Internal suppliers provide products or services to people within their
own organization while external suppliers provide products or
services to other organizations.


A system is defined as a set of interrelated or interacting elements.
A management system is one type of system. It is a set of interrelated
or interacting elements that organizations use to formulate policies
and objectives and to establish the processes that are needed to
ensure that policies are followed and objectives are achieved


Traceability is the ability to identify and trace the history, distribution,
location, and application of products, parts, materials, and services.
A traceability system records and follows the trail as products, parts,
materials, and services come from suppliers and are processed and
ultimately distributed as final products and services


Validation is a process. It uses objective evidence to confirm that the
requirements which define an intended use or application have been
met. Whenever all requirements have been met, a validated status is
established. Validation can be carried out under realistic use
conditions or within a simulated use environment.

There are several ways to confirm that the requirements which define
an intended use or application have been met. For example you could
do tests, you could carry out alternative calculations, or you could
examine documents before you issue them


Verification is a process. It uses objective evidence to confirm
that specified requirements have been met. Whenever specified
requirements have been met, a verified status is achieved.

There are many ways to verify that requirements have been met.
For example you could inspect something, you could do tests,
you could carry out alternative calculations, or you could
examine documents before you issue them.


Introduction to Process Management Framework

Overview of our Process Management Framework

Our Plain English Process Management Framework

Process Management Framework - Product Sample 1

Process Management Framework - Product Sample 2

Process Management Framework - Product Sample 3

Our Plain English Process Management Audit Tool

Process Management Audit Tool - Product Sample 6

Process Management Audit Tool - Product Sample 7

ISO's Approach to Process Management

Process Management InfoGraphics

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 Updated on August 17, 2021. First published on May 2, 2018.

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