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Sunday, January 31, 2010

Quality Revisited (again)

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:

The definition of quality is conformance to requirements

The system of quality is prevention

The performance standard is zero defects

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 composed of:

Quality Improvement

Quality Planning

Quality Control

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

Build awareness of the need and opportunity for improvement

Set goals for improvement

Organize to reach the goals

Provide training throughout the organization

Carry out the projects to solve problems

Report progress

Give recognition

Communicate results

Keep score

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:

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

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

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

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

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”.  

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