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Monday, November 14, 2005

Quality Revisited

Quality Revisited

Most of you know that this blog deals with the basics of Project Management.  For this week’s blog we will talk a little about Quality in Project Management.  Quality is a heavily tested knowledge area on the PMP exam and as such we should all be familiar with the subject.

According to Philip B. Crosby, Quality is “conformance to requirements”.  He goes on to state the Four Absolutes of Quality as:

  1. The definition of quality is conformance to requirements

  2. The system of quality is prevention

  3. The performance standard is zero defects

  4. The measurement of quality is the price of nonconformance.

Another Quality Guru is Joseph Juran.  He states that “Quality is fitness for use”.  He also defines something called the Quality Trilogy.  It is:

  1. Quality Improvement

  2. Quality Planning

  3. Quality Control

Juran also goes on to define the “Ten Steps in the Quality Improvement Process”.  They are:

  1. Build awareness of the need and opportunity for improvement

  2. Set goals for improvement

  3. Organize to reach the goals

  4. Provide training throughout the organization

  5. Carry out the projects to solve problems

  6. Report progress

  7. Give recognition

  8. Communicate results

  9. Keep score

  10. Maintain momentum by making annual improvement part of the regular systems and processes of the company.

Lastly, we look at what Dr. W. Edwards Deming says about Quality.  According to Dr. Deming, Quality is “continuous improvement through reduced variation”.  His five principles are:

  1. The central problem in lack of quality is the failure of management to understand variation.  

  2. It is management’s responsibility to know whether the problems are in the system or behavior of people.

  3. Teamwork should be based upon knowledge, design, and redesign.  Constant improvement is management’s responsibility.  Most causes of low quality and productivity belong to the system.

  4. Train people until they are achieving as much as they can (within the limits of the system).

  5. It is management’s responsibility to give detailed specifications.

Do the above statements reflect the situation in your work environment?  Is your management engaged in Quality?  Are they hands-on, hands-off, or asleep at the switch?

Quality is everyone’s job; however Quality cannot be managed with out the participation of management.  I would even be so bold to say that “poor quality equals poor management”.  


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the Quality summary - The points you have listed from the various "Guru's" of our time has been a big help with my quality celebrity summary! I've also been interested in Six Sigma related processes and the role of TQM in the history of Quality Management in the US which I found through your links. Thanks!

Keep up the great blog!
Shane Chagpar

A common Indian said...

Good work on Project Management.

More information on Quality Gurus can be found at