Everyone is responsible for quality, but senior management must emphasize and initiate quality improvement, and then move it down through the organization to the individual employees. The following three quality principles must be in place for quality to happen:
- Management is responsible for quality.
Quality cannot be delegated effectively. Management must accept the responsibility for the quality of the products produced in their organization; otherwise, quality will not happen. A quality function is only a catalyst in making quality happen. The quality function assists management in building quality information systems by monitoring quality and making recommendations to management about areas where quality can be improved. As the quality function is a staff function, not management, it cannot dictate quality for the organization. Only management can make quality happen.
- Producers must use effective quality control.
All of the parties and activities involved in producing a product must be involved in controlling the quality of those products. This means that the workers will be actively involved in the establishment of their own standards and procedures.
- Quality is a journey, not a destination.
The objective of the quality program must be continuous improvement. The end objective of the quality process must be satisfied customers.
The action that must be taken by management to make quality happen is as simple as 1-2-3:
- Define quality
- Control quality
- Assure quality
After management becomes committed to the quality principles, the most effective method for making these three actions happen is to establish a quality function. While a quality function is not necessary to make quality happen, quality rarely happens without adequate attention devoted to the quality objectives. As stated in the first key principle above, the quality function should be that catalytic group which initiates quality improvement programs in order to make quality happen.
A practice is a specific implementation of a work process. For example, a practice would be one organization’s process for estimating the amount of resources required for building a system. A Best Practice is one of the most effective practices for performing a specific process. Best Practices are normally identified by benchmarking.