In the formative book Quality Is Free: The Art of Making Quality Certain: How to Manage Quality - So That It Becomes A Source of Profit for Your Business, Philip B. Crosby presents ten true-or-false statements, to test the reader’s understanding of quality. As Crosby wittingly remarks, as is part of the concept of quality, any score with defects or less than perfect indicates the reader’s need to improve. Here are the ten statements below. Answer true or false to each of the ten statements, and then follow my blog each week for the answers and related commentary.
|1. Quality is a measure of goodness of the product that can be defined as fair, good, excellent.|
|2. The economics of quality require that management establish acceptable quality levels as performance standards.|
|3. The cost of quality is the expense of doing things wrong.|
|4. Inspection and test should report to manufacturing so manufacturing can have the proper tools to do the job.|
|5. Quality is the responsibility of the quality department.|
|6. Worker attitudes are the primary cause of defects.|
|7. I have trend charts that show me the rejection level at every key operation.|
|8. I have a list of the ten biggest quality problems.|
|9. Zero defects is a worker motivation program.|
|10. The biggest problem today is that customers don't understand.|
Here is the answer to the first statement:
1. “Quality is a measure of goodness of the product that can be defined as fair, good, excellent.”
To cite Crosby, “Quality means conformance to the requirements, and that is all that it means.” Again, quality means conformance, plain and simple. Quality cannot be confused with goodness, elegance, or any other seemingly admirable concepts, which only serve to generate unique and sometimes divergent ideas ambiguously ensnared within each of the minds of the project personnel. Quality is definite, and accordingly is defined in the array of project documents such as the owner’s project requirements (OPR), contract requirements, performance specifications, proprietary specifications, contract or construction drawings (CDs) and the like.
Quality cannot be referred to as “poor quality” or “high quality,” “good quality” or “bad quality,” as this incorrect terminology immediately signals a lack of understanding of the fundamental, structural underpinnings of quality. Using the correct language, quality must be discussed in terms of “conformance” and “nonconformance.” Recognize that understanding the difference between “good quality” and “conformant work” is not a question of semantics, but of understanding the meaning of quality itself and how it applies to the day to day output, in this case of the physical work put in place out in field and at the point of construction.
As a call to action, remove poor quality, high quality, good quality and bad quality from your lexicon today, and begin using the proper language and vocabulary about quality. The answer and related commentary to the second statement, “The economics of quality require that management establish acceptable quality levels as performance standards,” will be posted next week!
For more information on quality and Enterprise Quality Management programs for construction and capital projects, please read my blog entry each week.