Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Views of Quality

Industry accepted definitions of quality are “conformance to requirements” (from Philip Crosby) and “fit for use” (from Dr. Joseph Juran and Dr. W. Edwards Deming). These two definitions are not contradictory.

Meeting requirements is a producer’s view of quality. This is the view of the organization responsible for the project and processes, and the products and services acquired, developed, or maintained by those processes. Meeting requirements means that the person building the product does so in accordance with the requirements.

Requirements can be very complete or they can be simple, but they must be defined in a measurable format, so it can be determined whether they have been met. The producer’s view of quality has these four characteristics:

Doing the right thing, Doing it the right way, Doing it right the first time, Doing it on time without exceeding cost

Being “fit for use” is the customer’s definition. The customer is the end user of the products or services. Fit for use means that the product or service meets the customer’s needs regardless of the product requirements. Of the two definitions of quality, “fit for use” is the most important.

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