It was truly the start of something new as the Institute for Solidarity in Asia (ISA) conducted its first ever online Skills Lab course via Zoom last June 18 to 19, 2020. This new course, “Harmonization of the PGS with the ISO”, was a topic heavily requested by ISA partners who are practitioners of the Performance Governance System (PGS) in their own institutions. 

Intended to give participants an overview of the requirements of the ISO 9001:2015 and how it can be integrated with the PGS, this Skills Lab was facilitated by Ms. Darlene Page-Elnar, a management systems consultant specializing in quality and operations management. 

Here are 5 things you missed from their two-day discussion:

1. With the PGS, everyone in the organization is involved.

The PGS, ISA’s main vehicle for governance reform, has nine elements. From the designing stage to the executing and the sustaining, the PGS involves the participation of every individual within the institution. 

“In order for the project to be successful it has to be cascaded to everybody—to all participants, and process owners—because they are the ones who are in charge of the process; it is not only a project or campaign of the top management. That’s the beauty of the PGS program – everyone is enticed to participate.” — Ms. Page-Elnar

2. The ISO actually stands for the International Organization for Standardization.

An independent non-governmental international organization, ISO has 164 National Standards Bodies which manage quality standards of industry practices across the globe. Currently, it has over 20,000 International Standards covering almost every industry from technology to food safety, to agriculture, and healthcare.

“It is not a case of good, better, or best. It does not depend on who has the highest ISO number. It is not [that] the higher the number, the better.” — Ms. Page-Elnar

3. In doing the ISO, you design your own Quality Management System.

According to Ms. Page-Elnar, an institution that seeks to measure the quality of their operations must fall into the habit and discipline of proper documentation, not simply for its own sake, but for measuring the efficiency of processes. The key point of documentation is understanding the gaps and areas for improvement for each department or unit’s processes, as well as the risks that can affect their delivery of service.

4. The nine PGS Elements also fall under the clauses of the ISO 9001:2015.

Integration of the two need not become ‘added work’ as elements of the PGS can be harmonized with the clauses of the ISO 9001:2015. A matrix showing the requirements of both sides can serve as a helpful guide for the institution as well as its auditors.

5. Scoreboard metrics should be unit-specific, influenceable, and relevant. 

Delegates are advised to avoid placing targets that are easily exceeded yet do not necessarily reflect the ideal efficiency. It is also recommended that each department and unit have their own scorecards and targets to ensure that everyone can monitor their unit’s performance and can contribute to the shared objective.

“Target what is essential and what is important in that particular area. Measure what matters most. [Ask yourself,] ‘Where is the bottleneck?’. We [also] need to determine who in the discipline [can] ensure that these get monitored. We need to come up with strategic contributions of the units.” — Ms. Page-Elnar

To cap off the session, Ms. Page-Elnar reminded the delegates that the integration of the PGS and the ISO is doable. In her words, “From this day, you know that these two campaigns can be combined. The challenge now is to streamline the process, to ensure that these are in-sync, and at the same time, those who [are tasked to] check are [properly] equipped.” 

With that, the online Skills Lab course came to an end. This new program design is sure to be the first of future online Skills Labs that seek to reach PGS practitioners wherever they are – so they can stay the course of our governance journeys even while facing unique challenges from their sectors.


Catch the second run of this Skills Lab this 2020. Contact Micah Abon via mabon@isacenter.org for inquiries.

It was truly the start of something new as the Institute for Solidarity in Asia (ISA) conducted its first ever online Skills Lab course via Zoom last June 18 to 19, 2020. This new course, “Harmonization of the PGS with the ISO”, was a topic heavily requested by ISA partners who are practitioners of the Performance Governance System (PGS) in their own institutions. 

Intended to give participants an overview of the requirements of the ISO 9001:2015 and how it can be integrated with the PGS, this Skills Lab was facilitated by Ms. Darlene Page-Elnar, a management systems consultant specializing in quality and operations management. 

Here are 5 things you missed from their two-day discussion:

1. With the PGS, everyone in the organization is involved.

The PGS, ISA’s main vehicle for governance reform, has nine elements. From the designing stage to the executing and the sustaining, the PGS involves the participation of every individual within the institution. 

“In order for the project to be successful it has to be cascaded to everybody—to all participants, and process owners—because they are the ones who are in charge of the process; it is not only a project or campaign of the top management. That’s the beauty of the PGS program – everyone is enticed to participate.” — Ms. Page-Elnar

2. The ISO actually stands for the International Organization for Standardization.

An independent non-governmental international organization, ISO has 164 National Standards Bodies which manage quality standards of industry practices across the globe. Currently, it has over 20,000 International Standards covering almost every industry from technology to food safety, to agriculture, and healthcare.

“It is not a case of good, better, or best. It does not depend on who has the highest ISO number. It is not [that the higher the number, the better.” — Ms. Page-Elnar

3. In doing the ISO, you design your own Quality Management System.

According to Ms. Page-Elnar, an institution that seeks to measure the quality of their operations must fall into the habit and discipline of proper documentation, not simply for its own sake, but for measuring the efficiency of processes. The key point of documentation is understanding the gaps and areas for improvement for each department or unit’s processes, as well as the risks that can affect their delivery of service.

4. The nine PGS Elements also fall under the clauses of the ISO 9001:2015.

Integration of the two need not become ‘added work’ as elements of the PGS can be harmonized with the clauses of the ISO 9001:2015. A matrix showing the requirements of both sides can serve as a helpful guide for the institution as well as its auditors.

5. Scoreboard metrics should be unit-specific, influenceable, and relevant. 

Delegates are advised to avoid placing targets that are easily exceeded yet do not necessarily reflect the ideal efficiency. It is also recommended that each department and unit have their own scorecards and targets to ensure that everyone can monitor their unit’s performance and can contribute to the shared objective.

“Target what is essential and what is important in that particular area. Measure what matters most. [Ask yourself,] ‘Where is the bottleneck?’. We [also] need to determine who in the discipline [can] ensure that these get monitored. We need to come up with strategic contributions of the units.” — Ms. Page-Elnar

To cap off the session, Ms. Page-Elnar reminded the delegates that the integration of the PGS and the ISO is doable. In her words, “From this day, you know that these two campaigns can be combined. The challenge now is to streamline the process, to ensure that these are in-sync, and at the same time, those who [are tasked to] check are [properly] equipped.” 

With that, the online Skills Lab course came to an end. This new program design is sure to be the first of future online Skills Labs that seek to reach PGS practitioners wherever they are – so that they can stay the course of our governance journeys even while facing unique challenges from their sectors.


Catch the second run of this Skills Lab coming soon this 2020. Contact Micah Abon via mabon@isacenter.org for inquiries.