Or does it?
Quality focus run amok can reveal itself as the sort of perfectionism that slows individuals and teams down. It causes analysis paralysis, as more and more information is sought before making a 10-cent decision. And it causes management gurus like Seth Godin to yell, "Ship it already!"
Quality is a worthy aspiration, but:
- Regardless of quality you won't make any money on the products or services that have not yet shipped.
- Anything beyond the customer's ability to perceive is not quality - it's cost.
- Quality is also determined by speed and the total experience, not only by the thing that you are shipping.
Are you using quality as an excuse to delay taking a risk by making a decision? Are you requiring a surgical level of precision on a backyard project? Are you driving other people nuts because of your unrelenting process of scouring for errors? And is your company overstaffed because you have checkers checking other checkers just to make sure that no problem slips through?
Here are the simple seven steps you need to take:
- Determine the requirements for the product or service, as determined by the customer.
- Hire and train the people to fulfill the requirements, and give them the power to interrupt the process to catch any problems as early as possible (and before you've invested more in the product).
- Produce the product according to spec, in a time frame that complies with customer requirements.
- Invoice and collect.
- Repeat steps 1-5
- After a reasonable sample size, evaluate the process for improvement opportunities, incorporating customer feedback and input from employees directly involved in making the product.
Are you thinking that this is oversimplifying your situation? Perhaps it is. Perhaps, though, you've been over-complicating it. Quality is a relative thing. It's a matter of the comparison between customer expectations and the delivered product or service. The customer wants what they want, when they want it, through a process that is easy and convenient. They want it at a price that is aligned with the value that they perceive they are buying. Simple, eh?